Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Communication Studies

Title

Tweeting #Leaders: Social media communication and retweetability of fortune 1000 chief executive officers on Twitter

Language

English

Abstract

Purpose

To better understand executive communication on social media, this paper examines the pattern of messages posted by chief executive officers (CEOs) on Twitter and their retweetability (rate of reposting by other users).

Design/methodology/approach

The study data comprises 1068 original tweets randomly selected from all Fortune 1000 CEOs tweets in 2014. The impact of the contextual factors (industry background, activeness, and Twitter age) and content factors (content types, supplementary information, and linguistic features) on retweetability was examined through regression analyses.

Findings

CEOs tweet to share information and insights, to promote their companies or products, to update work or life status, and to interact with the public. Original insights, promotional messages, and seasonal greetings were most likely to be retweeted. CEOs’ backgrounds, usage of hashtags, and certainty of language were also positively associated with retweetability.

Practical implications

CEOs may enhance their online social influence through demonstrating leadership by sharing insights about their organization or industry and posting topical messages (e.g., season’s greetings). Furthermore, CEOs could use hashtags strategically to initiate or participate in discussions and promote their personal visibility.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to evaluate how leaders of the largest companies in the US communicate on Twitter. It contributes to a theoretical understanding of the factors underlying online influence—the influence of the status of the online communicator versus the message content on information forwarding.

Keywords

Social media, Executive communication, Information forwarding, Corporate leaders, Micro-blogging, Twitter

Publication Date

2017

Source Publication Title

Internet Research

Publisher

Emerald

Peer Reviewed

1

ISSN (print)

10662243

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