The era of CEOs hiding behind closed office doors is long gone. Now, company leaders are expected to actively create and cultivate their individual reputations online and in-person.
Reputationmanagement.com noted that 50 percent of CEOs have a personal biography on their website and 20 percent have a social media account. This is troubling because coverage of the CEO in traditional and new media often affects how companies are perceived and their bottom lines.
Start with the company website
CEO reputation management requires commitment to an interactive digital presence beginning on the company’s website and extending through a variety of social media platforms. Globally, 81 percent of executives believe it’s crucial for a CEO to have a visible public profile.
Such a profile starts on the company’s website. A current biography outlining the CEO’s history with the company, formal education and recent accolades, along with a recent photo on a leadership webpage have become standard parts of the website and CEO online presence. Everyone from job candidates, current and prospective customers, media outlets, partners, to competitors will read about a company’s leader on the website.
Move out to social media
Beyond a company website, CEOs need to be active on social media and other online communities. This allows consumers to connect with leadership and distinguish the brand and increase positive associations.
A survey of 1,700 executives conducted by Weber/KRC found that 50 percent of a company’s reputation is attributed to the CEO’s reputation. Half of all surveyed also concluded that this connection will continue to strengthen in the future.
CEOs must develop an authentic online persona focused on leveraging their experiences and knowledge to increase trust among customers. For the best results, CEOs should post a combination of business-oriented content, gratitude toward customers and employees, and a connection to community causes they or their companies support.
A digitally savvy CEO decreases chances of fake accounts being started to share false information or otherwise misrepresent the company. CEOs are encouraged to have their name, profile and photo attached to accounts in the larger social media platforms and to purchase website URLs that contain either their name or the name of their company as a precaution.
Other benefits for executives who have social media profiles is the development of a distinctive voice that earns trust from followers and can be used to share topical information, promote particular goods and services, and bring attention to community causes.
Successful CEOs must also manage external visibility by participating in charity events, speaking at professional associations/conferences, being interviewed by news media, and sharing insights with the public across platforms.
With a combination of in-person and digital engagement, CEOs can effectively manage their reputations and bolster confidence in their companies.
Michele Cuthbert is the CEO and creator of Baker Creative, a global WBE-certified creative brand management firm based in Ohio.