Strategy Session: Leveraging Executive Social to Build Brand Reputation

Executive reputations can have a dramatic impact on the reputation and even health of their companies. High profile transgressions, particularly in the #MeToo era, have recently plagued companies across industries, from Uber to Wynn Resorts to the Humane Society. But just as importantly, positive executive reputations can bolster company standings and earnings. Warren Buffett’s savvy dealmaking positions Berkshire Hathaway as a strong investment opportunity. Facebook benefits from Sheryl Sandberg’s renown for efficient management and a dedication to inclusion. Elon Musk’s reputation for implementing ambitious innovations spans across Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company, yielding investments, consumer confidence, and government contracts for each.

Increasingly, these executive reputations are built and bolstered online with savvy digital marketing strategies right alongside company reputations. John Legere lends T-Mobile an edge by candidly criticizing his competitions’ service on Twitter while Richard Branson shares insight and inspiration as a LinkedIn INfluencer. And for their part, journalists and unaffiliated digital influencers amplify these views by including them in media coverage and sharing these posts via their own social channels. Companies cannot afford to miss the opportunity to put a human – not to mention media-quotable – face on their brands. Here are three tips to create an effective executive presence online:

1. Approach Executive and Company Digital Presences With the Same Diligence

Monitor the online search reputations of key executive names the same way that you do company names. Purchase, claim and protect domain names and social media handles associated with your executives. Follow social media best practices on executives’ personal feeds, including having a channel strategy, posting with a best practices cadence, including key hashtags, and engaging with top digital influencers. Community manage engagement with executive accounts – even if that means tagging in a company customer service account – and remember that executive statements made in social media posts can be quoted by journalists in their reporting.

2. Make It Personal

While executives certainly can and should share company news and posts on their feeds and talk about the company, its work and their role within it, there should be a distinct difference between an executive’s social presence and the corporate one. Followers are not looking for a corporate voice on executive social channels, but rather thought leadership on important topics within the executive’s industry, insight into what makes the company or approach successful, and even information about who the executive is and what they enjoy that humanizes the corporate entity and makes it more approachable. Go ahead, share some vacation snaps!

3. Measure the Impact

Expect that your executive social feeds will have a real and measurable impact on your brand reputation and reach, and measure your progress to ensure this outcome. Leverage social listening tools to measure content reach and see key message pull through in conversation about the executive. Identify the proportion of your company’s share of voice that’s originating from executive social accounts and the sentiment associated with it – if the executive’s reputation is more positive than the company’s or vice versa, there’s work to be done. Track account and content performance, including follower growth, best and worst performing content, and identify opportunities for improvement.

Need help finding the right tone, channels and KPIs for your executives on social media? Drop me a line at [email protected], sign up for our newsletter or check out our services.

Lauren Karasek
Lauren Karasek
[email protected]