NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- An increasing number of CEOs, such as Zillow (Z) chief Spencer Rascoff, are turning to social media to not only interact with customers and clients, but also to talk about their businesses.
Not every CEO uses social media, despite its ease of use and availability. Some actually detest using it, for fear of divulging information on financials or another aspect of their business that could get them in trouble. Though not a CEO, Francesca's Holdings (FRAN) CFO Gene Morphis tweeted, "Board meeting. Good numbers=Happy Board" among a series of other ill-advised tweets and Facebook posts which cost him his job. (His Twitter account, @theoldcfo is still active.)
Who gets your vote as most the social CEO? Don't like the nominees? Then feel free to write in your favorite. (This may be coincidental, but among the publicly traded companies on this list, the majority of them have healthy gains in share prices year-to-date, including Zillow, the inspiration for this story.)
Apple's (AAPL) Tim CookCook isn't a "social CEO" in the traditional sense, (as far as we know, he doesn't have a Twitter account and his Facebook account is most likely private), but he is very responsible for the growth of social media via Apple's hardware, including iPhones and iPads. Since taking over for Steve Jobs in August, Apple integrated Twitter into its mobile operating system in the iOS 5 release, and recently announced it will integrate Facebook as part of iOS 6, due out this fall. Shares of Apple have returned 40.93% year-to-date, the best among the group. Facebook's (FB) Mark Zuckerberg The 27-year-old CEO of the world's most valuable social network actively uses his Facebook account to talk about the latest happenings going on his life. Zuckerberg also has a Twitter account, but does not use it that often. Ironically, of all the CEOs on this list, shares in Zuckerberg's company have performed the worst, losing 13.71% since going public in May at $38 per share. Salesforce.com's (CRM) Marc Benioff Benioff is not only a big believer in social media, tweeting constantly, but Salesforce itself has been a big beneficiary of the growth of social media. The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) specialist recently purchased Buddy Media for $689 million, as it continues to expand its social media marketing offerings. Salesforce also bought Radian6 last year, which now forms the basis of its Radian6 social monitoring cloud, aggregating data from the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Shares of salesforce have gained 33.22% since the start of 2012. Twitter's Dick Costolo Twitter is seen as one of the most influential social networks, à la Facebook, and CEO Dick Costolo certainly uses his platform often, and isn't afraid to crack a few jokes here and there.
Twitter is the only private company amongst this group, but Costolo recently hinted that Twitter may go public when the time is right.
Please cast your vote for the most social tech CEO. The results of the pull will be published on Friday.
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