Twitter is the true social network where you can meet and get to know users from all ages, backgrounds, and experiences. It truly is the most engaging network, allowing instant access to celebrities, great minds, and even CEOs. I remember the first time I chatted with Jeff Pulver or Shaq on Twitter. It was magical and gave me insights into their lives and businesses that I had never seen or thought of before.
For Chief Executives Officers, Twitter – like much of social media – is often a foreign and confusing thing. You are bombarded with messages and anyone (!) can engage with you when previously your executive assistant kept the lid on tight screening calls and reading your electronic mail. But this direct line of communication can build your brand.
Here are ten CEO’s who get Twitter. They engage and join the conversation, while sharing their brands, their products, and their personalities:
10. @Levie. Aaron Levie is the CEO of Box.net, the innovative file sharing service. What I like about Aaron is his sense of humor (his Twitter bio refers to himself as the “Lead Magician”). One of my recent favorite tweets from him is, “It’s all Jack Dorsey’s world, we’re all just living in it.”
9. @LuckyPenny. When it comes to CEOs, the restaurant and hospitality industry is head and shoulders above the rest. Joni Doolin is the CEO of People Report. I consider Joni a close friend and mentor who is actively tweeting and sharing industry and business information to the greater collective.
8. @WildFlowerCEO. One of my favorite Twitter CEOs is Louis Basile, who is the CEO of the Wildflower Bread Company. Wildflower is a very unique and fun restaurant and that shows from the level of engagement and tweets that Louis shares.
7. @MichaelDell. Dell has been one of the most successful companies using Twitter to drive sales. From 2007-2009, Dell links Twitter to $3 million of its sales. It’s not surprising that Dell’s CEO would also be engaged on the microblogging platform.
6. @TomZiglar. Tom is the son of Zig Ziglar. He provides leadership insights, interesting tidbits, and quotes that build upon the values and message that his dad built. Tom was one of the first CEOs I followed on Twitter and have enjoyed getting to know him.
5. @Chad_Hurley. Chad is the CEO and founder of YouTube and Delicious. He’s a techie who gets it that’s also a CEO. While I enjoy following Chad on Twitter, I really love following his Instagram. He photos provides personal insights into his life as a dad and business executive.
4. @SpencerRascoff. Spencer Rascoff is the CEO of Zillow an online real estate company. One of my favorite tweets from his as of recent, “Emailing w/ a candidate who has an offer to join @zillow in our new OC inside sales office. She has other offers too. Make the right choice!”
3. @JeremyS. The CEO and co-founder of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman seems to be ahead of the CEO curve. He’s conversational. As you scroll down through his feed, you’ll see the majority of tweets are messaged at individuals. Plus, you can see what’s on his iPad reading list.
2. @MarthaLaneFox. Martha is businesswoman and charity trustee. She is the CEO of Go On UK.org. Besides providing some fantastic insights into the 2013 London Olympics, top articles in the New Yorker, and book reviews, she engages and shares photos with her community.
1. @RichardBranson. Richard is a great business mind who follows his gut, having founded Virgin Airlines by chance. His Twitter provides insights into his way of business thinking and what has his attention. I was lucky to hear him speak in 2011 at the Annual SHRM Conference. You won’t be disappointed.
Each one of these ten CEOs is effectively growing their business with Twitter. See how they do it. Find that balance between daily musings, work life, serious product offerings, and I-just-feel-like-sharing-this moments to grow your twitter profile. In the age of the social web, sharing your personality and company on Twitter will result in more demand and a stronger employer brand.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. She has over 100,000 twitter followers. Also, connect with her on Pinterest @blogging4jobs.