Social Media Reputation Management for Executives

When used effectively, social media can help working professionals become industry thought leaders, and, in turn, create positive PR for their employers or businesses. It’s why human resource (HR) recruiters are increasingly seeking out managers and C-suite executives with social media expertise and engaged followers.

A BRANDfog social media survey of U.S. employees shows just how important it is for leadership to be active on social media:

  • 93% of respondents agree that CEOs who actively participate in social media can build better connections with customers, employees and investors
  • 73% agree that social media engagement makes CEOs more effective leaders
  • 75% of respondents believe that C-suite social media engagement makes a brand seem more honest and trustworthy
  • 91% agree that social media is a powerful tool for building thought leadership and enhancing the credibility of C-suite executives with stakeholders, including press and media

Social media is a wonderful tool to help those looking to advance in their careers, but it can also be easily mismanaged. The past few years have seen no shortage in social media mistakes from well-known executives (Tesla’s Elon Musk, United Airlines’ Oscar Munoz, etc.).

Review these tips from Blu Lotus President Sabrina Ram to effectively use social media to build your reputation and attract executive recruiters.

1. What are your top recommendations when it comes to social media for someone who is looking to be placed in an executive position?

First and foremost, follow the brands you are interested in working for and connect with their HR recruiters. Surprisingly, many executives new to social media miss this first, crucial step. It’s not a Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” scenario. Engagement is the cornerstone of social media.

For content, post about and engage with topics that reflect your area of expertise and leadership. Share information that adds value to your field, provide tips and insights, and promote content on your current employer. It will help you build and connect with your audience, and it shows how you can leverage your brand to promote your employer.

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of all the tools social media platforms provide to amplify your posts and content. Utilize hashtags, tag people and brands you mention in your posts, and take advantage of content tools such as LinkedIn Publishing.

2. Which social network do you feel is most important for executives to utilize?

LinkedIn is the top social networking tool for executives to be active on since it’s a dedicated platform for working professionals. It’s where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives like to spend their spare time, and 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to check candidates. The social network gives you great capabilities to connect with your peers, other experts in your field, those looking for mentoring opportunities and insights, as well as potential employers and their HR teams.

I’d also strongly recommend executives to be on Twitter because it will help you build up your brand to a broader audience that values engagement and is widely used by reporters. Executives should collaborate with their employer’s PR team to help promote company news and content, too. Senior executives can be the face of a company, so having a strong presence online is attractive to employers.

3. What is the biggest mistake you see executives making on social media?

When it comes to social media reputation management, the biggest mistake I see executives making is blending their professional lives with inappropriate personal matters. I’ve seen executives use their social media to vent at companies for billing issues, share negative experiences, or post tasteless photos. I’ve also seen them voice their opinions on divisive topics that can turn off a potential employer. When you are at an executive level, employers can’t risk their brand on an executive who isn’t more careful on public platforms.

However, some elements of personal behavior can be advantageous on social media because it can make you more relatable. It’s important to keep the personal elements positive, clean and non-divisive, without sacrificing your personality. The more human (and less corporate robot) you can be on social media, the more it will help you to build authenticity and trust with your followers.

4. What is your social media advice for emerging leaders?

Those looking for management and leadership positions can help reach their goals through strong networking and engagement over social media platforms. Similar to seasoned executives, younger talent need to keep their public social accounts clean, professional and insightful. They should be engaging with the C-suite and executives on various social platforms, while providing useful commentary and content that relates back to their fields. It helps build up their expertise and brand with audiences who can influence their careers.

Because emerging leaders have grown up with social media, it’s imperative for them to audit their existing accounts. This may entail cleaning up existing accounts or deleting all content and starting over. Don’t let past posts and tweets haunt you later!