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27 Top CEOs & Business Leaders on Social Media (Summaries Included!)

Social Media CEO Business Leader Business Leaders

Social Media. It has made identities become less a question of “who am I” to more a question of “what do you see in me?”, “what do you want in me?” It is a space for everyone to experiment with their identities and gauge the reactions of others.

Over the years, the naysayers of Social Media have slowly realised the importance of it as an effective and strategic marketing tool. Business leaders of all kinds have also begun to create a social presence for themselves or their businesses online, where few will thrive to win the praises of the public. Let’s begin with our top picks for the best and most engaging Social Media Business Leaders.

Check the statistics (Accurate as of July 2018).

NameTwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedinOthers
Gordon Ramsay6,920,0007,910,0004,400,00037,0006,700,000 (YouTube - Main ~9,900,000 combining all channels)
Elon Musk22,100,0008,000,000
Brian Joseph Chesky286,00028,80031,80096,000
Mark Zuckerberg455,000114,400,0004,600,000
Tan Min Liang262,000574,00093,7005,200
Ryan Holmes (Hootsuite)69,30016,50032,1001,600,000
Zhang Dayi (EVE)6,370,000 (Weibo)
Gary Vaynerchuk1,780,0002,880,0003,500,0002,060,0001,400,000 (YouTube)
Tim Cook11,000,000
John Legere5,730,000294,90052,100
Jessica Alba9,650,0005,170,00013,300,0001,060,000
Oscar Munoz (United Airlines)
SHMEE 15053,5002,600,0001,000,0001,300,000 (YouTube)
Paul Polman48,700854,200
Gary Kelly (Southwest Airlines)6,320178,400
Arianna Huffington3,090,0001,370,000335,0007,500,000
Jack Saldzwedel (AmFam)10,3006,500
Mary Barra (General Motors)38,80024,3001,100,000
Jeff Bezos596,000488,000
Sallie Krawcheck (ellevate)56,70021,60016,1002,260,000
Daniel Ek (Spotify)119,000142,000
Bill Gates46,300,00019,700,0001,800,00017,125,000
Richard Branson (Virgin)12,600,0003,100,0002,600,00014,400,000
Satya Nadella (Microsoft)1,720,0004,900,000
Peter Aceto (Tangerine)37,1008,124
Jack Ma23,700,000 (Weibo)
Mark Cuban7,880,0001,400,0001,000,0004,200,000
Kristina Bazan36,0002,000,0002,200,00037,000 (YouTube)

1. Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay is one of the greatest celebrities who are able to master the craft and cook up a storm in the social media realm. Most of us would recognise Gordon Ramsay as a temperamental host at the cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen. But this is obviously just a persona that he had portrayed himself so as to be unique from the other celebrity chefs. People who know him, however, personally would actually describe him as someone entirely opposite.

Gordon Ramsay

Image Source: YouTube

A short career profile about Gordon Ramsay. He’s a restaurant-preneur, owning a large chain of Michelin star restaurants all over the globe. He has also been conducting his own online masterclasses actively.

Underlying Strategy: Gordon Ramsay carries his aggressive persona to his tweets as he roasts amateur cooks on their food. He has been doing this for quite some time now and has been proven to be an extremely effective strategy with his audiences, which consists mostly of young adults.

Hey @reddit are you ready for another #AMA ? Speak to you soon Gx

A post shared by Gordon Ramsay (@gordongram) on

The second strategy that he uses is to leverage on his stronger social accounts to promote his weaker ones. As you can see here, Gordon Ramsay creates a call-to-action post on Instagram in hopes of gaining more reach on his Reddit account.

2. Elon Musk

Announcing latest developments, answering customers’ queries and “whining” about unsupportive Singapore on the matter of electric vehicles; Elon Musk can be seen on Twitter to be constantly providing up-to-date and credible information given his status in Tesla.

It is very important to have a feedback loop, where you are constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.

Elon Musk

Image Source: Wikimedia

Elon Musk uses a sense of casual engagement in his tweets and this reflected positively on Tesla, as it ranks 3rd out of 29 car brands in social media visibility, placing them above their competitors such as Volkswagen, Ford and Toyota. On top of this, Tesla also accounts for 25% of all conversations about electric cars on social media.

3. Brian Joseph Chesky

At 37 years old, Airbnb’s CEO and co-founder, Brian Chesky has a real-time net worth of 3.8 billion dollars and was named of one of Times’ most influential people of 2015. What an accomplishment for such an age, right?

Brian Joseph Chesky

Image Source: Squarespace

On Twitter, he not only posts updates about Airbnb, he actually asks his followers questions to improve his service. On Christmas day in 2016, Chesky proves that he’s ultimate Santa Claus. “If Airbnb could launch anything in 2017, what would it be?” He asked, admittedly expecting maybe ten answers in return. Yet he received a lot more responses than that. Furthermore, he took the took the time to reply to 2000 tweets. He actively engages his customers and replies to them one by one on Twitter, making his customers feel valued.

In the true spirit of growth hacking, he asked all the right questions. This did wonders for building trust for himself and his company, guaranteed.

4. Mark Zuckerberg

Despite the not so recent Cambridge Analytica Scandal which was a major breach of trust, Mark Zuckerberg, currently the 3rd richest person in the World, is also the Father of Social Media and can be said to be the most “sociable” business leader on the Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg

Image Source: Facebook

Facebook shares shot back up after he announced that he will be testifying in front of the Senate.

Other than providing frequent updates on how his platforms will continue to develop and progress, Zuckerberg connects well with his 100+ million of followers as he posts about his own life and family.

5. Tan Min Liang

Tan Min Liang

Image Source: Facebook

Singaporean, and also the CEO of Razer Inc., Tan Min Liang is a social monster. You can often see Tan Min Liang carrying out feats like offering Singapore PM Mr Lee a proposal on a unified e-Payment system where he claimed he could get the system up and running in just 18 months, or replying to Elon Musk’s tweets about bringing Tesla to Singapore’s roads.

Consumers of any product, Razer included, would love to enjoy a “connection” to the brand and to be able to provide their inputs with the potential of it being manifested in the next latest generation of gaming gear. Tan Min Liang understands that and is one of those CEOs who does not leave his popularity points in the hands of his staff. He has always been receptive to any comments and criticism on Social Media, and this has proven to not only win the support of his fans but also brought game-changing improvements, literally.

6. Ryan Holmes (Hootsuite)

Ryan Holmes mainly uses 2 social media platforms, LinkedIn and Facebook, to promote Hootsuite and to connect with his followers. He is an influencer on LinkedIn with more than 1.6 million followers and regularly shares his expertise in social media and online services for his followers. Through the articles he shares, he informs the readers about problems at hand and thus, inducing them to find a solution, which in this case, is HootSuite. On the other hand, he makes use of Facebook’s Live video function to connect with his customers and allows them to provide real-time comments and questions.

Ryan Holmes (Hootsuite)

Image Source: Twitter

Holmes has always been a passionate advocate on the topic of why executives need to be active on social media and is known for being an effective social leader.

7. Zhang Dayi (EVE)

Starting as a fashion blogger, Zhang Dayi transformed from one of the most famous web celebrities in China to a successful businesswoman. Her main strategy involves converting her followers into customers. Her live show has been watched over 9,630,000 times in the past 2 months. Through her live shows, she answers a variety of enquiries from her customers ranging from questions about the prices, fabric and to the style of her clothes.

Zhang Dayi (EVE)

Image Source: China.org.cn

In addition, she is able to share her values with her followers. She always gives words of encouragement and shares the challenges and successes that she faces while operating a lucrative business at a young age.

8. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is the CEO of VaynerMedia, a fast-growing advertising digital agency. He is recognised as one of the most influential business leaders. According to him, he follows these 3 secrets to success on social media – understand how you communicate, produce content for your audience and not yourself and make it contextual to the platform.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Image Source: Facebook

In particular, Instagram is Gary’s favourite social media platform. He uses all the Instagram features providing video, stories, live videos and running competitions.

Here are some examples:

He posts inspirational pictures and quotes.

Simple late late night thought

A post shared by Gary Vay-Ner-Chuk (@garyvee) on

He posts snippets on his videos to show his followers what is it all about.

He includes the ‘swipe up’ option to direct viewers elsewhere on his Insta Stories.

Above all, he takes advantage of all his social media platforms to create a personal brand for himself.

9. Tim Cook

Tim Cook has been appointed the CEO of Apple since August 2011 with a follower base of close to 10m on Twitter.

Tim Cook

Image Source: Twitter

On Twitter, he replies other users with the usage of hashtags, making his content discoverable, to generate exposure and create the right kind of audience engagement. The hashtags have been extended to Instagram and they help set a trend as more and more people will reshare, notice and talk about it.

In addition, Tim Cook using his social media platforms to raise awareness for events such as Human Right Day. Here’s an example: He mentioned how Apple did their part with Malala Fund Expansion through donation and urged his followers to join him in the relief effort as well. By showing compassion, he builds a very positive image of himself and his company, Apple.

10. John Legere

John Legere

Image Source: Twitter

Besides introducing one of the greatest marketing campaign “Un-Carrier” which is still ongoing since 2013, the eccentric CEO of T-Mobile is famous for trolling and poking fun at his competitors both in real life and online.

He is seen dubbing AT&T and Verizon as Dumb & Dumber on multiple occasions such as the clean energy challenge or their slow LTE speeds as compared to T-Mobile.

Another unique thing about playful John Legere is the weekly slow cooker Sunday live shows that he hosts on Facebook. The show usually showcases 10 minutes of him sharing latest updates about T-Mobile and “Dumb & Dumber” before sharing a crock pot recipe (with a Pam shuffle dance) and answering any viewer’s questions.

10. Jessica Alba

Debuted as an actress in 1994 and a breakthrough acting role in 2000 as Max Guevera in Dark Angel, Jessica Alba started her own company, The Honest Company in 2012. The company’s revenue is focused around providing safe and eco-friendly products for babies, bath & body, cleaning, health & wellness and more recently, beauty.

Jessica Alba

Image Source: Twitter

We are born to be real, not to be perfect.

Jessica Alba’s key strategy is to utilise Instagram and her status as a mother/celebrity to connect her brand with her fellow followers. Twitter is also used to constantly promote The Honest Company for key milestones such as attaining the Good Housekeeping Seal and landing huge investments.

11. Oscar Munoz (United Airlines)

Oscar Munoz is the CEO of United Airline, while he has no official social media account, he will sometimes use United Airlines’ social media account to issue a statement. He was awarded Communicator of the Year in 2017, well that’s before the viral incident where a passenger was dragged off a United Airlines plane.

Oscar Munoz

Image Source: Fortune

In response to the incident, Munoz posted 2 apologies on Facebook and Twitter targeted at the stakeholders. He uses Facebook which has 2 billion active users and Twitter has 330 million.  According to a research by Hootsuite, most stakeholders are concentrated at these 2 platforms and thus it is a good way to get in touch with them.

In the first apology post, Munoz does not really display any empathy and he is not really apologetic. He started off by saying that he is sorry that he has to “re-accommodate the customers”. This is clearly not the main issue. He also uses an accusatory tone which suggests that he is just apologising for the sake of it. After this apology was published, United Airline’s reputation deteriorated and their shares experienced a sharp drop.

Munoz then issued a second apology to rectify the PR disaster. This apology was a much better one as he was able to capture the attention of the audience and increase desire by outlying certain solutions. Munoz also addressed his audience by recognising their “outrage, anger and disappointment”  He ended off with a detailed call for action and a positive statement that company can do better. Following this apology, some confidence was restored in United Airlines. This incident highlights how we have to use the correct word in the correct context as it can make or break your company.

12. SHMEE 150

SHMEE 150 Tim Burton

Image Source: YouTube

A personal brand of Tim Burton (Not the director), a supercar vlogger who is extremely knowledgeable in his field. He primarily uses YouTube videos and Instagram posts as a form of promotion. Twitter was left out due to the nature of the platform being “significantly less important because it’s not a visually-orientated media,” Burton explains to The Independent.

In any of Shmee’s videos, Tim adopts a casual video selfie style while comparing technical aspects of a car. You can observe him using words such as “exclusivity” and “finesse” which helps in the branding of the Shmee YouTube Channel and Shmee150 as a whole.

13. Paul Polman

Paul is the current CEO of Unilever since 2009. He mainly uses Twitter and LinkedIn, with a total of over 750,000 followers on LinkedIn, attaining the status of an Influencer. His strategy comprises of these 3 items – the online posting of articles and quotes, the sharing of impactful figures and the social causes of Unilever.

Paul Polman

Image Source: Wikipedia

With regards to the causes of Unilever that he posts, he shares the partnership working to help lift women out of poverty and increase access to education through the power of storytelling.

He also tweets about subjects linked to the environment, for instance, he tweets articles where he talks about Environment References, such as National Geographic, uses the appropriate hashtags and visuals that highlights emotion.

14. Gary Kelly (Southwest Airlines)

Gary Kelly

Image Source: Wbur.org

Gary Kelly serves as the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Airlines. His Twitter account seems to be primarily meant for internal team-building and motivation.

Gary talks about the courage and fighting spirit of his Crew of Five while showing the media that he recognises the effort of his employees when they perform exceptionally. Through these tweets, he shows how compassionate he is as a boss and shows that he constantly motivates his employees, which in turn, result in better service for his customers.

Through this strategy, it can be learnt that heartfelt messages will no longer be separated by time and distances, allowing effective employee engagement to just one click away.

15. Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is the founder of The Huffington Post, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, and the author of fifteen books. Arianna believes that social media are a means, not an end. She uses social media as a tool to champion her cause and values.

Arianna Huffington

Image Source: recode

Her Twitter account biography states that she is a “mother, sister, flat shoe advocate, sleep evangelist, HuffPost founder, and founder and CEO of Thrive Global.”, setting her priorities in order. Through this, she motivates women who have the desire to venture into the startup world. She regularly posts links to articles that are personal and inspiring to her.

To further engage her audience, she also invites her followers of 7 million to ask questions, share tips and experiences with her. She actively uses social media to promote the values of Thrive Global – changing the way we work and live.

16. Jack Salzwedel (AmFam)

Jack Salzwedel (AmFam)

Image Source: Twitter

Jack Salzwedel is the CEO of American Family Insurance or AmFam for short. Salzwedel is the most socially active CEO on the Fortune 500 list. He believes engagement on social media enables him to foster closer ties with both his employees and customer. Not only this but also information aggregator and it is a good channel for feedback. Salzwedel does this by publicly recognising his employees by posting tweets with the hashtag #iwork4amfam.

Also, he also retweets tweets that compliments his employees. This motivates employees and gives them more voice in their job which encourages them to work harder for the company. His employees will also be able to gain more insights into what he is thinking and feeling more friendly.

Jack Salzwedel (AmFam) retweet

However, Salzwedel can interact with his customers and employees more by following up the concerns raised instead of just retweeting it. He also has to be wary that bad information spreads like wildfire over the social media, One wrong move and his reputation will take a deep hit. Since AmFam is an insurance company, he has to always verify his facts to make sure there is no misinformation.

Overall, we can learn from Salzwedel that social media is a good way for low-cost advertising. More importantly, it allows the C-level executive to develop a friendly deposition and be more approachable.

17. Mary Barra (General Motors)

Mary Barra

Image Source: Twitter

Being crowned Fortune’s most powerful woman 3 years in a row and also the CEO of General Motors (GM), Mary Barra uses Twitter & LinkedIn to continue to be an advocate for girls enrolled in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Personal anecdotes are often posted on social media to act as a role model for other STEM women, given the fact that she herself also started as an engineer in GM before rising through ranks to the very top.

Mary also writes frequently on almost a monthly basis on LinkedIn, making her one of the platform’s most committed Influencer with more than a million followers on her articles.

18. Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

Image Source: Forbes

Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon, the online retailer we are all familiar. In 2018, Bezos also overtook Bill Gates and became the richest man on Earth, with a net worth of $149 billion! So what does someone so rich do with his money? Well, like Elon Musk and Richard Branson, Bezos, is also very into the space race. Perhaps Bezos is really far-sighted or maybe its sheer luck, but Twitter gave Bezo’s space company Blue Origin a lot of attention. While we usually don’t bring in politics, Bezo was engaged in a “Twitter War” with US President Trump. President Trump was blasting tweets about how Amazon is a “tax shelter”. However, instead of adding fuel to the fire, Bezos responded with class.

In this tweet, whether Bezos is criticising Trump depends on how you interpret his tweet. He manages to promote the historic landing by not directly offending anyone. More importantly, Bezos showed his class again with this tweet one year later.

19. Sallie Krawcheck (ellevate)

Sallie Krawcheck, the business leader of Ellevate Network, has often been referred to as one of the most successful and influential people in financial services. She was also named “The Last Honest Analyst” by Fortune Magazine.

Sallie Krawcheck

Image Source: ellevatenetwork

She is able to harness the power of social media to spread her cause, even though she just started using social media a few years back. She has more than 500,000 followers as a LinkedIn Influencer and more than 22,000 followers on Twitter.

Here’s an example: She uses her tweets to advertise her articles about her causes.

20. Daniel Ek (Spotify)

Daniel Ek is the founder and CEO of music streaming service, Spotify. At only 35 years of age, the entrepreneur already has a net worth of $2.8 billion. Before Spotify, Ek started making a website selling business at 13 years old. Initially, he charges only $100 for a site but it eventually went up to $5000. At 18 years old, he was making $50k per month.

Daniel Ek

Image Source: Twitter

Ek later started an online advertising company, Advertigo which he later sold. After that, he started uTorrent, which he sold to BitTorrent in December 2006. Daniel Ek then founded Spotify which he slowly works on to the Spotify we all know today. Ek has 119k followers on Twitter and 142k on Facebook. His posts mainly consist of exciting updates to Spotify.

21. Bill Gates

Bill Gates is no the stranger to anyone. He is the founder of Microsoft Corporation, which developed the Windows Operating System and Microsoft Office, both which most of you are probably using. He stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft in 2014 and passed the baton to Satya Nadella.

Bill Gates

Image Source: Twitter

Currently, he is the 2nd richest man on Earth. Bill Gates has 46.3 million, 19.7 million and 1.8 million followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram respectively. Nowadays, Gates has left the day-to-day operation of Microsoft. Instead, Gates regularly uses his social media account to promote his blog, gatesnotes, which mostly share stories about technology and humanitarian issues.

22. Richard Branson (Virgin)

Richard Branson

Image Source: Wikimedia

Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, which holds stakes at Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Mobile, Virgin Rail Group, Hyperloop One and about another 400 more companies. Branson was knighted at Birmingham Palace for his entrepreneurship in 2000. Branson has 12.6 million followers on Twitters, where he regularly promotes and updates some of the things that are happening under the Virgin Group.

23. Satya Nadella (Microsoft)

Satya Nadella

Image Source: Wikimedia

Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft since 2014. Since becoming the CEO of Microsoft, he made several big acquisitions. The more popular company he acquired are Mojang in 2014 and GitHub, LinkedIn in 2016 and GitHub in 2018. Like many other business leaders here, Nadella uses his Twitter to update on what’s happening over at Microsoft.

24. Peter Aceto (Tangerine)

Peter Aceto (Tangerine)

Image Source: Speakers’ Spotlight

Peter Aceto is the former CEO of Tangerine, which aims to transform business through leadership with his unconventional thinking. This is evident from the tweets that he shares on Twitter. His 37.1k followers on Twitter regularly get insights on Aceto’s belief in managing a business.  For aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders out there, we strongly recommend to check out his Twitter to gain some insights on how to be a better leader!

25. Jack Ma

Jack Ma is the executive chairman of the Alibaba Group. For those who don’t know, Alibaba, Aliexpress Taobao and Tmall are all subsidiaries of the Alibaba Group. Jack Ma also received countless awards. He was listed as one of the 100 most powerful people by Times in 2009. In 2017, Jack Ma was ranked 3rd in KPMG’s global tech innovation visionary survey. Also in 2017, Fortune ranked Ma 2nd in the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list.

Jack Ma

Image Source: Wikimedia

Jack Ma do not have Twitter or Facebook since they are blocked in China, however, he has 23.7 million followers on Weibo. What Ma is most famous for is perhaps his inspirational speeches that went viral on social media, such as how he got rejected from over 30 jobs including one at KFC and also by Harvard 10 times.

26. Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

Image Source: Biography

For NBA fans, you will know Mark Cuban as the owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. For others, he is one of the main “shark” investors on Shark Tank. Besides that, Mark Cuban is also the chairman of AXS TV and invested in many companies. Some of the more popular ones are Broadcast.com, Landmark Theatre and Dropbox. Mark also has 7.88 million followers on Twitter, where he regularly promotes his basketball team and some of his investments.

27. Kristina Bazan

Kristina Bazan

At merely 24 years old, Kristina Bazan has amassed 2.2 million followers on Instagram and has an award-winning fashion blog, Kayture. Not only that, she was also featured at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2016. Kristina uses her Instagram to promote her brand, which is likely to be the reason why she is able to secure a multi-million dollar deal with L’Oréal.

Wrapping it up

If all the world’s a stage, then surely social media is another stage where actors can perform. And what do all actors want? Desirable reactions from their audiences. Although authenticity is the most critical part of any social media strategy, it is more crucial to be able to relate to your audiences. Doing this would then truly reinforce the legitimacy of your social profile and business. If there is one thing you can take away from this post, here it is. Know your audience.

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