There’s a perception that social media is the province of the customer. But it isn’t. Company CEOs who are really active and engaging on social media benefit from increased trust, visibility and credibility – a better online reputation. And CEOs should embrace all things social, because that’s just one way CEO’s contribute to corporate reputation.
In the online world, CEOs are publicly visible. Whether they like it or not they are known and scrutinised, and judged. Look at people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, etc. We know who they are, and we have an opinion of them based on what we read and see online, whereas we probably wouldn’t have done a generation ago.
With recognition comes online reputation risk. Firstly as the public face of your company, if your company generates bad press, your name can be drawn into the fray and vice versa.
Secondly any bad press about you will rank higher in the Google rankings for your company, and consequently, the reputation of the corporate brand may suffer damage. We see this most prominently with Paul Flowers. Press revelations about his social life consequently dragged Co-Op’s reputation through the mud. Stocks even suffered.
So why does this mean that CEO’s should get social? Basically social media allows you to negate the risk of bad reputation and push a good reputation at the same time.
This is because social media allows you direct control of the content you are posting. If you optimise your account, reclaim control of your name and then you can generate social media activity that will come to replace the negative press on Google rankings.
The statistics back this up. Weber Shandwick’s 2012 audit of online engagement activities taken by the world’s top CEO’s found that overall CEO sociability increased from 36% to 66% in the years between 2010 and 2012. Respondents were those working in companies with $500 million dollar revenue or more.
This is a 30% rise; it has almost doubled in two years. Of these 65% post to the company website. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed posted to the company intranet as an alternative to communicating with employees through social media.
Then CEO’s who were social were asked why they were so. 80% cited social media as a good way to share news and information. 78% highlighted that it had a positive impact on their company’s reputation. Furthermore, 75% cited is as a way to develop a positive relationship with the news media, a vital element of protecting online reputation.
Numbers don’t lie. Consider that these were all CEO’s of extraordinarily successful companies. Over three-quarters of them cited social media as having a positive impact on reputation. At Igniyte, we reckon that they know what they’re talking about.