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There's a reason why Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is the loudest Fortune 500 CEO on Twitter

Salesforce Marc Benioff
Salesforce Marc Benioff

(Business Insider)
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

If you're on Twitter, you've probably noticed how frequently Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff likes to tweet.

He uses it not only to promote his company, but also to share thoughts, articles, and sometimes, to drive support for social issues.

In fact, according to a new report by CEO.com, Benioff is the most active CEO on Twitter among all Fortune 500 CEOs. He shares 5.55 tweets per day, which is almost 30 times more than the average rate for other Fortune 500 CEOs, it said.

Even compared to his peers in the tech industry, who might be expected to be more open to using Twitter, Benioff stands out. Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison has tweeted just once, despite having over 89,000 followers, while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has only 10 tweets so far. HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, who hasn't tweeted since 2011, even managed to lose 878 followers in 2015, after more than 3,100 people unfollowed her the year before.

According to the report, only 62% of Fortune 500 CEOs are active on Twitter, with half of them tweeting only once a month or less. This is an odd trend given the demand for top CEOs' Twitter engagement is clear: Apple CEO Tim Cook is gaining 2,219 new followers a day, while Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet's first tweet in 2013 is still the most re-tweeted tweet of all time, with 43,000 retweets, according to the report.

The report said there are a number of reasons for CEOs lack of engagement in Twitter and the broader social media space. CEOs are busy, the benefit of spending time on social media is not immediately clear, and a lot them haven't received proper training on how to use social media. It could also cause potential regulatory issues.

Doing it for the customer

So despite all this, why is Benioff so active on Twitter and all the other social media platforms? The answer comes down to one simple reason: engaging with customers.

In a previous interview with the Ladders, Benioff explained why he likes to be a heavy social media user:

"The future of communicating with customers rests in engaging with them through every possible channel: phone, e-mail, chat, Web and social networks. Customers are discussing a company's products and brand in real time. Companies need to join the conversation," Benioff said.

It's one reason why Benioff makes his email address, CEO@salesforce.com, publicly available. It's a great way to be more responsive and build a relationship with customers, he said.

And perhaps partly because of this strategy, Salesforce is doing very well. It's on pace to hit $6.6 billion in revenue this year, and soon become the fastest enterprise software company to hit a $10 billion annualized revenue run rate. Its shares have also been trading at all-time highs last year, before the overall market correction came this month.

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