- Social media is the fastest way to connect with potential customers.
- According to the Connected Leaders Survey by global business advising firm Brunswick Group, Walmart’s Doug McMillon is the most connected CEO.
- We looked through his three main social media accounts to see why he earned the top spot, and what other chief executives can learn from his techniques.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Being a CEO isn’t just about leading a company – it’s about being the face of that company. And that includes social media.
In Walmart’s case, president and CEO Doug McMillon cares about his Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts. He has also gained a reputation as a forward-thinking leader by taking a stand on controversial issues, according to Bloomberg. That same report also called him “emblematic of a younger generation of business leaders who are more woke than their pusillanimous predecessors in the executive suite.”
On Friday, Walmart announced it would stop selling e-cigarettes after vaping-related lung injuries reached a total of 530 hospitalizations and eight deaths. Walmart also changed course on guns, announcing earlier this month that it would limit sales of guns and ammunition in the wake of two deadly shootings at Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas, and Southaven, Mississippi.
But McMillon isn’t just changing Walmart’s practices. On Thursday, he was named the incoming chairman of Business Roundtable, a nonprofit whose only members are CEOs and that promotes business through public policy. The group sparked conversations about the role of big business in society when they announced that shareholder value is no longer the driving force of business – ethics is.
That line of thinking shows in McMillon’s social media accounts.
According to a study by global business advising firm Brunswick Group, McMillon is the most connected CEO in the S&P 500 and FTSE 350.
The study, known as the Connected Leadership Survey, aimed to find which CEOs were the most connected on social media, specifically on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Other factors in the study were verification, activity on those sites, and whether they had an updated Wikipedia page.
As Walmart’s CEO for the last five years, McMillon has embraced social media, using it as a place to represent the company and to show the world what the daily life of a chief executive looks like. A spokesperson for the retail giant told Business Insider that McMillon is hands-on with all of his own digital platforms, and only gets help from Walmart’s social media team because his schedule is especially busy.
Here’s why McMillon earned the highest score on the Connected Leadership Index:
There are 4 things social-media-savvy CEOs do to help them stand out.
We looked at Brunswick’s study and found four things the most connected CEOs had in common:
- They published an online biography
- They developed a plan on how to meaningfully engage with audiences on one social media site
- They became active users of one social media platform
- They connected with their audience
The study also stated that “a majority of American employees believe that communication on social media from a CEO can make either a very or somewhat positive impact on the company’s overall effectiveness (66%).”
McMillon has a detailed Wikipedia page.
While most CEOs are hard to track down online, McMillon has an informative Wikipedia page.
The page features a high-quality photo, a detailed description of his early life, work history (most of it at Walmart), education, and personal life.
McMillon is verified on his accounts.
McMillon opted to use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but not Twitter (although Walmart itself has a Twitter account).
The Brunswick study mentions that verification was one of the factors they used to determine which CEOs had a stronger social media presence.
The CEO spends most of his social media time posting photos and videos on Instagram.
According to the study, “People are 3 times more engaged with Connected Leaders on Instagram than Facebook and Twitter.”
For his 30,800 Instagram followers, McMillon chooses to tell personal stories that show what he’s really like. In this post, for example, he shared an old photo and a new one – the classic “then and now.”
In fact, almost every post shows McMillon visiting a Walmart branch and chatting with employees.
McMillon pays close attention to his employees – especially the ones on the ground.
His Instagram posts feature Walmart employees from around the globe. The employee in the green shirt standing with McMillon is a store manager in Shenzhen, China.
McMillon takes the time to post stories about his employees.
In addition to travelling around the world on store visits, McMillon talks to his employees to get a sense of their personal stories. He’s shared dozens of their anecdotes online over the years.
Facebook is where McMillon reaches his widest audience.
McMillon’s 103,140 Facebook followers usually get the same posts his Instagram followers do, but sometimes he adds in a few extras. In this video, McMillon takes KITT, the robo-car from the TV show “Knight Rider,” out for a spin.
He gets a similar number of likes on Facebook and Instagram (around 1,000 on average), but he typically gets double the comments from his Facebook followers.
LinkedIn is where McMillon’s career-centric posts go.
McMillon frequently mentions that he began his working life as a summer associate at Walmart in 1985, when he was still in high school. And, indeed, his LinkedIn work history shows it.
According to the study, 44% of CEOs have a LinkedIn presence, but only 45% of those CEOs actually post on it. It seems that part of McMillon’s success is that he uses social media on a daily basis, which gives him the opportunity to promote his business more than any other CEO.
He’s written 5 articles on LinkedIn as of June 2019.
McMillon reshares posts and articles on LinkedIn once or twice a week, but he also writes his own articles.
As an avid Hot Wheels enthusiast, McMillon challenged each store to sell as many toy cars as possible. Whoever sold the most would have their actual car washed by McMillon himself. And, in the end, a store manager in Carolina, Puerto Rico, got his car personally washed by the CEO.
“Our associates are the heroes of our company’s story,” McMillon told Business Insider. “They work hard to make a difference in the lives of millions of customers.”
The CEO added: “Social media gives me a way to see that impact live, recognise their great work and simply say ‘thank you.’ That’s one of the best things about my job: I get to tell the world about the innovative and meaningful things our people are doing every day.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.