The Conference Board Governance Center Blog


What Do Corporate Directors and Senior Managers Know about Social Media?

Last week, The Conference Board, in collaboration with Stanford University Rock Center for Corporate Governance, released a new report titled “What Do Corporate Directors and Senior Managers Know about Social Media?

Among the report’s key findings are:

  • While 90% of respondents claim to understand the impact that social media can have on their organization, only 32% of their companies monitor social media to detect risks to their business activities and 14% use metrics from social media to measure corporate performance.
  • Only 24% of senior managers and 8% of directors surveyed receive reports containing summary information and metrics from social media. Approximately half of the companies do not collect this information at all.
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) use social media for personal purposes, and 63% for business purposes. Of those who use social media, 80% have a LinkedIn account and 68% have a Facebook account, demonstrating that executives and board members are familiar with this medium.
  • Still, only 59% of companies in the survey use social media to interact with customers, 49% to advertise, and 35% to research customers. Approximately 30% use social media to research competitors, research new products and services, or communicate with employees and other stakeholders.

I spoke with Bob Zukis, a Senior Fellow with The Conference Board Governance Center, who recently retired as a partner with PwC’s IT Strategy and Operations practice. Bob is s also the author of the book Social Inc., due out later this year, and Chairman and CEO of Saaskwatch Systems.
Bob shared his thoughts on the topic, how social media fits into the boardroom, and the implications of the broader trends of social technology. You can listen to our discussion below.


Perhaps one of the more interesting findings from the report can be summed up in the comments of one of the report’s authors, David Larcker.

“Companies appreciate the potential that social media can have to transform all aspects of their business: branding, reputation, communication, outreach, and identifying strategic risks. They also realize the serious threats that it can pose. They’re just not doing very much about it.”

If your organization has taken a proactive approach to social media governance, I’d like to hear from you. Because, as Matteo Tonello, Managing Director of Corporate Leadership at The Conference Board, notes “The world has changed, and consumers, employees, and stakeholders now expect to engage with companies and their brands through social media.”

Later this week, we will launch a new series of posts related to social media governance and how it integrates to the various functions. Stay tuned.

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4 Responses to “What Do Corporate Directors and Senior Managers Know about Social Media?”

  1. […] also the Conference Board Governance Center Blog, “What Do Corporate Directors and Senior Managers Know about Social Media?” and their promise of a new series of posts related to social media governance and how it […]

  2. Gary Larkin says:

    Excellent information to use for boards. We at the PwC Center for Board Governance believe it is such a big issue that we have included social media as one of the big IT-related issues in a new book: Directors & IT: What Works Best.

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