There are still a lot of people that are not sold on the advantages of Twitter. Others are not really sure what the site is used for and how one benefits from using this microblogging platform. Well, for those in the business field, there is an increasing number of high-powered and highly-skilled CEOs that are using Twitter to share insight, advice and links to things they find important. If you're not in on Twitter yet, following your favorite CEOs to gain business knowledge is a great way to get started. Some CEOs' Twitter accounts are more personal, while other CEOs serve as information and media curators, pointing followers to articles, TV clips and other media that they find to be interesting. With a combined following of over six million people, these high-profile CEOs must be tweeting something worth talking about. (For more, check out Celebrity CEOs.)
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Jack Welch is arguably one of the most revered CEOs of all time. Welch has co-written many books on management, revived GE (NYSE:GE) and revolutionized managerial strategy, and now he's on Twitter. Since Welch is no longer a CEO of a company – instead, he works with his own MBA program at Chancellor University – his tweets are not always business focused. Welch posts everything from links to business articles, his thoughts on films, public figures and current events. Welch has nearly 1.3 million followers and tweets a few times per week.
Sir Richard Branson (http://twitter.com/#!/richardbranson)
Sir Richard Branson is a celebrity CEO that is well known for being on the cutting edge of trends and for constantly reinventing himself and his business endeavors, so it's no wonder that he's got one of the most active CEO Twitter accounts. The Virgin Group CEO discusses some of his business strategy, as well as business, cultural and political issues, and updates his followers with plans for Virgin and points them towards articles and TV clips where he and others discuss business and current events. However, Branson also posts more playful thoughts that are more personal than they are business-related. Branson has nearly 700,000 followers and usually posts daily. (For a related reading, see Outrageous Celebrity Appearance Fees.)
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Bill Gates is one of the most recognized CEOs in the world, and his follower numbers reflect that. Gates doesn't have a Justin Bieber-like following, but Bill is closing in on two million. This former Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) CEO splits his tweets between discussions of business, technology and charity work. Gates posts links to interviews he's done as well as serving as a media curator, pointing his followers to recommended articles and videos. (For a related reading, check out 7 Billionaires' First Jobs.)
Eric Schmidt (http://twitter.com/#!/ericschmidt)
It seems like a no-brainer that the CEOs of major tech and internet companies should have a Twitter account to communicate with their users and share news and opinions on their products and others', but many big tech and online CEOs (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, among others) choose not to have a Twitter account. The CEO of Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), Eric Schmidt, has opted to stay connected, and though he doesn't use his Twitter as much as someone like Sir Richard Branson, he does post weekly, usually giving updates about Google and sharing links to tech-based news articles and sites. Schmidt has over 200,000 followers and only follows 89 other Twitter accounts.
Pete Cashmore (http://twitter.com/#!/mashable)
It would be nearly sacrilegious if Pete Cashmore, CEO of social media info site Mashable, didn't have a Twitter account. Cashmore has made a career of teaching others how to use social media for business and pleasure, and people seem to understand the importance of Cashmore's expertise. Cashmore currently has over two million followers, and the more that businesses and people understand the importance of social media, the larger his following will get. Cashmore delivers the goods as well, highlighting important articles about technology and social media, and pointing his followers towards Mashable articles that also teach about social media. Cashmore posts multiple times per day. (Learn more in Tweeting: The Next New "Profession".)
The Bottom Line
When searching for your favorite CEO on Twitter, you'll find a lot of fake accounts (just try to find an account for Steve Jobs - there's a lot of them and they're all fake). Be sure you're following the right person if you want to glean more knowledge and advice from some very successful individuals. (For more, see Social Networking Your Way To More Money.)
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