Would You Follow This Man On Instagram


Would You Follow This Man On Instagram

Bernard Looney had a great first day in his new job as chief executive of oil giant BP. We know this because he took to Instagram on Wednesday to tell us, posting a video of happy, smiling employees at one of the company’s operations in Germany.

We also know that Tidjane Thiam, until Friday boss of financial giant Credit Suisse, is worried about those suffering from coronavirus. Under an image showing Chinese President Xi Jinping – one of many pictures Mr Thiam posted of himself hobnobbing at last month’s Davos World Economic Forum – he says solemnly: “Our employees’ health and safety is our top priority.”

Would You Follow This Man On Instagram

Mr Thiam has now suddenly quit Credit Suisse in the wake of a spying scandal. But as of Friday morning he had yet to change the job title on his account, no doubt due, understandably, to more pressing issues.

Once the preserve of young people posting pictures of their lunch, Instagram is becoming part of the the corporate world’s marketing machine.

The app was where many of us turned to escape thoughts of work. Now it’s where your company can boast about all the good deeds it does in the community, or where the boss can voice concerns over their employees’ mental health.

‘Dad dancing’

Sara Tasker, an influencer and Instagram consultant, gives companies ten-out-of-ten for effort, but is less than impressed by some of the execution. She tells the BBC: “There is a slight sense of a dad dancing at a wedding when you see these chief executives posting on social media.”

BP’s Mr Looney is a newcomer to the platform. As of Thursday morning he had posted six times, but had already accrued 3,533 followers. Clearly none of them were from Greenpeace, which turned up at BP’s central London headquarters on Wednesday hoping to disrupt his first day at the office when Mr Looney was some 500 miles away in Germany.

The boss of Spanish bank Santander, Ana Botín, has been on the Instagram platform a few months longer. Her account now features 272 posts, both in English and Spanish.

But much of the content follows a familiar corporate formula: get yourself pictured in exotic locations and show plenty of corporate social responsibility. Climate change, micro-finance, healthy living and sustainability are all present and correct.

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He, too, says the struggle to sound authentic could be insurmountable. “It’s less authentic than someone who’s got more of an engagement with the community, whether that is Melinda Gates or Arianna Huffington,” he says, referring to the philanthropist and businesswoman.


And BP is a prime example. The oil giant is a “contentious” business and trying to meet the likes of Greta Thunberg and her followers on the platforms like Instagram “could blow up in Mr Looney’s face,” said Mr Endsor.

BP did not respond to an emailed list of questions.

Mr Looney did not respond to an interview request sent on Instagram.

Would You Follow This Man On Instagram


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