According to a survey published by Forbes this year, most executives are not using Twitter. Only 27% of director level or above report using Twitter at all, although the majority that do say they use social media at least an hour a day. Social media is still not perceived as valuable to many top level business people, but some key players in business understand that perception is reality, and perception can be obtain more easily with a large social media following. Here are some of the best business people to follow on Twitter.
Carl Icahn. Icahn is an activist investor that recently sent Apple stocks soaring when he announced on Twitter that he was planning on purchasing a billion dollar stake in the computer company, and that he had a dinner meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Icahn has over 72,000 followers, which is not the highest, but his influence is obvious.
Padmasree Warrior. The CTO and Strategy Officer for Cisco uses Twitter like an average user. She shares news stories that she finds interesting, talks about what is going on at work, and tells the world in her headline “Love art, photography, Haiku and food J”.
Jack Welch. The spitfire former CEO of General Electric and author of Winning has earned 1.4 million followers. Like Warrior, Welch has proven a master at interaction, using retweets of mentions of him and articles relevant to his interests. The feed is complete with sports references and his famous opinions.
Donald Trump. The Donald’s presence on social media is no surprise. The big personality is a frequent media subject and he hosts his own television show. Still, in a world ruled by millenials, Trump’s following of over 2.3 million users is impressive. Interestingly enough, Trump users the platform as a way to promote his political opinions. Bonus points to Trump for have 600,000 fans on Facebook.
Richard Branson. The charismatic British business mogul uses Twitter to solicit questions (using the #askrichard hashtag), promote his books and inspire future leaders. The aviation innovator has over 3 million followers.
Other notable leaders who also fill other roles, like lifestyle experts or nonprofit directors, are Bill Gates, Russel Simmons and Martha Stewart. As expected, media executives and early adopters like Ariana Huffington and Mark Zuckerberg also rank high in following and tweet frequently.