How Many Tweets Does It Take to Impress the CEO?

I’m not about to tell you that you shouldn’t bother counting how many times your content was re-tweeted.

Rbsb2_03I’m not going to tell you to ignore the Klout score of the “top RT’ers” starring in your communications program.

I’m not saying that that data is unimportant or uninteresting.

I’m just saying that we are years away from the point at which the Board of Directors and the CEO look at your marketing results and say: “Wow, 700 retweets? Awesome!” or, “Oooh! We got a tweet from Ashton Kutcher!”

You and I both know that those 700 RTs might represent a reach of millions.

But then, “How many people clicked?” … “How many of those clicks led to conversions?”

You and I both know that a tweet from Ashton Kutcher alone reaches millions, and that he is fairly closely watched not just by 14–year old girls (exciting if you are a B2C company) but also by the tech-set in Silicon Valley (exciting if you are a startup looking for VC funds).

But then, “How many people clicked?” … “How many of those clicks led to conversions?” … “Do we really want our brand affiliated with Ashton Kutcher?”

I am not saying that all top execs obsessively focus on Social Media ROI.  In fact, I had a chance to ask a few Fortune 500 brand managers how they measured “Success in Social” and not one of them felt any pressure to prove sales impact (more on this in a later post).  But in the end, anyone in the company who knows how to read a spreadsheet is going to wonder more about “conversions” than “tweetreach.”


Posted on: October 17, 2011 at 8:32 am By Todd Defren
28 Responses to “How Many Tweets Does It Take to Impress the CEO?”


  • Sabine says:

    The only possible response I can imagine a CEO would give to tweet numbers is: “you’re doing that during work hours, are you?”

  • L says:

    I agree, at times it can be difficult to explain to top management the benefits of social media. Converting tweets to actual purchasing decisions can be challenging to explain to a CEO or CFO, for that matter. The quantitative side of social media has yet to be fully seen. Excellent post.

  • Veronica says:

    I completely agree with this. If there is anything a CEO should be concerned about, it should be that there is no engagement with the company’s social media page. I wonder what options companies in that situation say about that- do they regret it?

  • Social media has to be approached differently by every kind of company. B2C, B2B, Non-profit – they all are going to see more or less value than the next. At ICE Worldwide, we work with all of the above and its been interesting to see which companies value initiatives that raise their number of Twitter followers versus companies that say “well thats nice, but what are you really doing for me?” For some clients, we spend hours every week working with social media, for others its a side project, so this post really makes a lot of sense.

  • Sami says:

    Social media is a new concept and has to be hard to grasp by exec’s looking for the bottom line and traditional results. The important focus should be that sales increased or more people were reached because of social media. There is so much clutter on the internet, that it’s important to be relevant, but too little might be a deterrent. Find a happy medium, play around and look to other companies who have succeeded. There’s no right or wrong yet. Now is the time to pave the path for social media. While I agree that clicks don’t drive profit. It’s important to consider what those clicks mean, where they are coming from and then convince your boss why it’s important.

  • MArina says:

    This is absolutely true! The number of followers and RTs is still the main topic of the day. But this number does not affect a company’s success. Conversation, however, does.

  • MArina says:

    This is absolutely true! The number of followers and RTs is still the main topic of the day. But the this number does not affect a company’s success. Conversation, however, does.

  • Yang says:

    Good angle! The number of how many people retweet your tweet is not that vital these days although it is also an important element for measuring. Engagement is the key. To get people talking about the topic and your brand is more impartment than just retweeting your tweet without thinking and involving.

  • I love the angle you took with this blog. We all know social media is becoming increasingly popular in the professional world. But we seldom think about how it directly affects the CEOs of the companies. CEOs need to start paying close attention to who is following their company on twitter, or how many people have mentioned them on Facebook. You mention that you spoke to Fortune 500 brand managers and they didn’t see the importance of measuring their “success in social”. Now, I can see why they would think this because of your Ashton Kutcher reference. Social media is still used as a way to keep in touch with the current famous gossip. But CEOs should also realize social media is becoming the key communication outlets in the professional world.

  • Megan says:

    I agree with your statement considering a CEO does not care about social media sites, such as Twitter. However, is this because the majority of CEO’s are not technologically savvy? Social media is taking over by storm, but its primary users are young to middle-aged adults. Perhaps as social media and Twitter continuously become a force to be reckoned with, CEO’s will start to recognize the importance of implementing social media campaigns within a company.

  • Molly says:

    It isn’t about numbers, but if you can get your followers to engage that is key. A digital content manager for a local news station came and talked to my public relations class recently about their social media. One of the main things he hit on was that they would rather have fewer engaged followers then a large number of unengaged. Like you stated, in the end it is about getting people to talk about you and your brand, even though this can’t be measured easily. We are currently going through a fundamental shift in power with social media. Social media has created more messages to be spread through word of month and 2 way communication rather than advertising.

  • The whole time reading this, I was thinking, it seems as though everybody’s major focus is about their twitter numbers. Everyone wants lots of followers and lots of re-tweets, but you’re right, if there are less conversations going on about specific topics that people don’t really care about, what’s the point. Teaches me to think more wisely next time I post a tweet!

  • oh man , you are genius . this idea is so helpful for me .

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