As corporate leaders, executives are far more visible than the average employee. That makes their personal reputation almost as important as the company’s reputation, and even more important in certain situations. Online reputation management for executives is critical. This is because anyone can check up on you online and then use that information in a variety of ways. For example, an executive’s reputation affects prospective employers’ hiring decision. Between your online reputation and your interview, potential employers can get a pretty good idea of who you are, what you do, and how you react in certain situations. If you seem like a good fit with their values, mission, and culture, you’re more likely to be hired. Shareholders may look at your reputation before investing. I once worked with an executive to help prioritize his online reputation results. This was because venture capital firms were courting his company and he wanted to make the best personal impression possible. Of course the bulk of these decisions largely rests on the company profile. But, if you’re creating a startup, will manage the investment funds, or have a large influence on how the money will be used, investors may consider your reputation before making the final decision. How you appear online could influence how much and when they choose to invest. It could even influence whether they invest in your company at all. As another example, customers may consider executives’ reputations before buying from or endorsing the company. This is especially true if your business offers long-term services, if you’ll be working with the client directly, or if you support controversial causes or policies. Journalists also use executives’ reputations to determine who is the best fit for a news story. Reporters use practical information, such as the processes and employees you manage. And they use your reputation, such as the causes you support and your friendliness to the media, to gauge how well you fit their stories and how important a line from you could be. Speaking of news stories, your online reputation also affects the angle journalists take when writing about you or your company. In addition to other factors, a well-managed executive reputation can mean the difference between a scathing business review and a positive feature story. Executive online reputation management prevents impersonators damaging your good name. By keeping your name and the content and ideas associated with you clean and accurate, you retain influence over the decisions others make about you. Good executive reputations also reflect well on the company reputation. They secure your position and giving you credibility and clout in corporate decision-making. Finally, executives’ online reputations can help establish them as thought leaders and industry experts. All business leaders should strive to be thought leaders to help their companies and consumers. They should also strive to create their own solid image online. Being perceived as an industry expert influences the decisions others make that you don’t know about, and can help you secure your position, land a better job, or negotiate a better salary or benefits.
April 15, 2013