The top 10 most 'connected' CEOs on social media–and where you can follow them

Chesnot | Getty Images

CEOs want to connect with you now more than ever.

Business leaders are going digital, leveraging the access and speed social media provides to share – and scale – their voices. For its inaugural Connected Leadership report, business advisory firm Brunswick Group ranked the most connected U.S. and U.K. top executives, based on their social media presences. The firm's study analyzed the digital profiles of 790 CEOs in the S&P 500 and FTSE 350.

Brunswick rated each CEO's digital presence using benchmarks like activity and verification across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – the latter two ranking the most popular channels for CEOs.

More than 4,000 employees and 805 financial publication readers based in the U.K. and the U.S. were surveyed for the study, which published Connected scores ranging from that of Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who took first place with a score of 828.7, to Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson in 100th place at a score of 536.

Brunswick's methodology collected more than 100,000 data points in total, but the leaders who made the list say the reach that social media gives them goes beyond their follower count.

"Social media...provides an unfiltered forum for corporate leaders to listen to their communities and to connect by sharing their successes and challenges," Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq, told Brunswick Group. "Social media projects the human side of the corporate world."


But having a presence on social media wasn't enough to make the ranking – CEOs needed to also show engagement.

Although nearly half, 48%, of S&P 500 and FTSE 350 CEOs now have a social media presence, only one in four have posted within the past year. Less than half, 44%, of the CEOs on the ranking maintain a LinkedIn presence, and 45% of that group are active users of the platform.

And though just 15% of these CEOs maintain a Twitter presence, those who do make it count — 79% are engaged. The analysis also included looking at CEOs' presences on widely used websites like Wikipedia and their company pages.

A presence across the web not only proves important for connecting with customers, but it helps future employees in their job searches. The report found that the top 50 connected leaders have a 5% higher average Glassdoor rating, with their respective companies having a Glassdoor rating 3% higher than their peer set. These ratings help give job applicants a better look at a company's culture and how its CEO operates. Brunswick also found that a majority of workers surveyed check a CEO's social media accounts before joining a new company.

Here's where you can find the top 10 most connected CEOs:

10. Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines

Connected score: 780.1
LinkedIn followers: 44,200
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 88%

9. Lynn Good, Duke Energy

Connected score: 780.2
LinkedIn followers: 137,600
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 66%

8. Mary Barra, General Motors

Connected score: 780.3
LinkedIn followers: 1,200,000
Twitter followers: 46,000
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 69%


7. Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell

Connected score: 788.0
LinkedIn followers: 19,200
Twitter followers: 1,300
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 89%

6. Hans Vestberg, Verizon Communications

Connected score: 788.7
LinkedIn followers: 6,800
Twitter followers: 16,600
Instagram followers: 9,900
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 50%

5. Dan Schulman, PayPal

Connected score: 795.3
LinkedIn followers: 102,900
Twitter followers: 10,400
Facebook followers: 76,900
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 89%


4. Adena Friedman, Nasdaq

Connected score: 799.0
LinkedIn followers: 532,500
Twitter followers: 10,800
Facebook followers: 11,100
Instagram followers: 2,000
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 89%

3. Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo

Connected score: 802.0
LinkedIn followers: 22,000
Twitter followers: 2,200
Facebook followers: 879
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 90%

2. Brent Saunders, Allergan

Connected score: 815.3
LinkedIn followers: 29,000
Twitter followers: 9,600
Instagram followers: 426,900
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 61%

1. Doug McMillon, Walmart

Connected score: 828.7
LinkedIn followers: 56,500
Facebook followers: 97,800
Instagram followers: 28,800
Glassdoor CEO approval rating: 64%

*Data is current as of April 3, 2019.

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: The surprising reason why CEOs should be social media savvy

Watch CNBC's full interview with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon
Watch CNBC's full interview with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon