Most modern consumers say social media impacts purchasing decisions, and many people admit online reviews and friends’ opinions also play a factor. Customers want connectivity, and markets are spending more than ever before to build genuine interactions.

But there seems to be a gap in the C-Suite. Adweek reports that in 2013, only 30 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs used at least one social network, while more than 80 percent of employees surveyed said CEOs would be better equipped to lead if they would participate online. 82 percent of customers said they would be more likely to trust a company with leaders who engaged on social media outlets.

Ileana Rivera is responsible for the technology and computing needs of more than 70,000 worldwide employees at Cisco, where she manages a $70-million budget and a team of 125 associates as the company’s senior director of computing and client productivity services. She says that leaders should harness the potential of online media to elevate their own brand. “For better or worse, leaders today are more in the public eye, and we should take the chance to influence our brand by choosing what information to put out there,” she explains.