The online image of your company is a high priority in your job description. However, have you stopped to think about your personal online reputation? As an executive, what the world sees in you often reflects on your company or brand. Whether you’re new to the boardroom or a tenured executive, your online image is critical both for your success and for the success of your business.
Update Profiles Regularly.
Keep your bio and contact information on your social media profiles up-to-date. Your LinkedIn account should reflect your current position and responsibilities. Stay active and relevant on social media platforms by chatting responsibly and answering questions or sharing useful articles and insights. Have a little fun from time to time and let your personality shine, but always be mindful of being in the public eye.
It may sound vain, but use search engines to check out your digital footprint. This will show you what others see when they search for you. Often, people’s first impression of you is directly related to these search results. If there are negative results on the front page, you’ll need to take action to address them. While you likely can’t remove negative information, you can take steps to move more positive results to the top.
Proofread Before You Publish. Rinse and Repeat.
Your contributions to social media make up the largest component of your online image. Even deleted posts can come back to haunt you. Posts only have to be live for a second for a follower to screenshot it. Some of the most viral posts are screenshots of typos, misinformation, and unpopular viewpoints. Be very, very aware of what you are posting on your social media profiles. A quick scan of the day’s headlines will show you roughly how much attention a single tweet can receive, whether positive or negative.
Take Controversial Conversations to the Inbox.
While it’s your legal right to share your opinions and thoughts online, take care to keep public conversation as civil as possible, especially when discussion politics and other polarizing topics. Be respectful and keep it clean. If you feel that a conversation is getting out of control and things are turning sour, move it to your private messages or offer to continue the discussion via email. Putting an argument on public display isn’t good for anyone. Remember, though, that your recipient might choose to screenshot your privately sent messages as well, so still use discretion.
If All Else Fails, Hire an Expert.
If you can’t find the time or simply aren’t sure how to go about managing your online reputation, look into hiring an expert. This person can analyze your profiles and help you maintain the top-notch reputation expected of anyone at the executive level. They will know the tricks of the trade to optimize search engine results, help you grow your follower lists, and can give guidelines for interaction with your followers.
Reputation is everything and you want to show the world that you are respectable, trustworthy, and relevant in today’s 24/7 access society. Your reputation can even help your company recruit and retain top talent.