The Ultimate Guide to Online Reputation Management for CEOs

You dont need me to remind you that everyone Googles everything these days. But did you know that says that Google is your new resume? And if youre a CEO, Google search is also your companys resume. Talk about pressure! So stick around as we demonstrate why online reputation management for CEOs is more important than ever.

Did you know that half of the American population thinks most CEOs have a terrible reputation? As a CEO, that information is enough to make you want to drop the low-profile mentality. Today's society is social media-driven, and as a CEO, you can use this to your advantage by managing your online reputation.

According to research, over 50% of Americans are active online, and over 80% of them go online to learn more about a business. The catch is that consumers want to know more about the people running the business, especially the CEOs.

Studies show that 90% of customers will not buy from or recommend a business with a bad reputation. The old adage applies here:

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

So, who gives a company a bad reputation?

It can be anybody, and consumers, investors, shareholders, and employees are all looking closely at the CEOs and other company executives. To put it plainly, CEOs today act as brand ambassadors for their companies.

And because everyone Googles everything, online reputation management for CEOs is more important than ever.
So, What is Online Reputation Management Anyway?
First, let us define the term reputation management. Reputation management is a public relations term used to describe controlling, influencing, enhancing, or concealing a company's or individual's reputation.

Therefore, online reputation management can be defined as reputation management in the digital space.
Why Do You Need to Manage Your Online Reputation as a CEO?
Have you met someone today who does not have a social media page? Statistics show that over two-thirds of Americans are using social media.

So whether you like it or not, social media has become the fastest way to find, learn and connect with people and businesses. When customers know more about you, it's easier for them to like and trust you (and what you sell).

A study by Development Dimensions International shows that CEOs who are active online are 46% more influential. The survey also shows that 52% of these CEOs are more likely to inspire communication and 89% are better at motivating others.

What do the numbers show?

Having a good online reputation can significantly improve your business...and vice versa!

Online reputation management for CEOs is not limited to social media, but it can affect other things like your business ranking on search engines. Remember, people always share their opinions (predominantly negative opinions) online through reviews on your website and other public forums. If you do not get ahead of it from the start, your reputation will be shaped solely by public opinion, which is not beneficial for your business.

In 2019, 160 CEOs left their positions due to bad online reputations going viral, and today, 40% of Fortune 500 companies have an online presence. That staggering statistic shows that an online reputation can either build your business or damage your career.
7 Tips for Online Reputation Management for CEOs
Let me be clear to all you CEOs out there: controlling your online narrative can make or break your career and business. Below are some proven strategies for successfully managing your online reputation.
1. Know What People are Saying About You
First, research and explore what people are already saying about you online. Begin with a simple Google search of your name and see what comes up on the results page. After searching your name, look for your business name and read what people say about your company.

Do not limit yourself to customer reviews.

Read what shareholders and investors are saying about you and your company. Gather all information regardless of whether it is positive or negative. This way, you will have an opportunity to see yourself through the lens of public opinion, and then you can formulate a strategy as we advance.

Do not limit your research to Google.

Repeat the search on other platforms such as Bing.

During this process, keep an open mind because you never know what you will find! It's easy to get mad and quit. On the flip side, it's common to see some positive reviews, think everything is hunky-dory, and stop digging. Keep digging!
2. Identify the Possible Risks
Risk management is not a new concept in business, but what does it mean in online reputation management? Identifying reputational risks requires measuring the possibility and impact of negative viral news concerning you and your company.

Remember that mass 1-month CEO exodus mentioned earlier?

I wanted to mention it again to express the sheer power of negative viral news. For example, the founder of Away, a luggage company, was accused of creating a toxic work environment. To pacify the situation, the company had to send millions of dollars worth of compensation packages.

Besides that, the CEO's reputation as a high-performing leader was tarnished, damaging her career. Fast forward a couple of years to today, and Google searches associated with "Away CEO" still lean negatively.
3. Identify and Take Advantage of all the Opportunities
When it comes to online reputation management, you have to own most if not all web properties, especially if your name is your brand. For example, if your name is Martha Stewart, you have to own all domain names and other social media pages with your name on them.

Note that there are about two billion active websites, and people with similar names have the same goal. In this case, use your middle initials or edit your name as you see fit but aim to own it all if you want to manage your online reputation effectively.

While deep into your research, it is equally essential to seize networking opportunities. Having allies is important inonline reputation managementbecause you need other big brands to vouch for you when necessary.
4. Optimize Existing Content
This is the part you get to utilize all the tools available to you to build your reputation. If you find any positive comments or video testimonials online, optimize them using keywords and other SEO tools to help your company rank higher on Google.

Note that the content has to match your company's social media marketing strategy for this to work. Optimizing your content will ensure your customers, investors, and shareholders find all positive content about you and your business.

Because Google search is the new resume, heres a step-by-step guide on how to improve Google search results for your name.
5. Routinely Create New Content
High-quality content is likely to rank higher on the Google search results page. This content can be in the form of:
Blog articles on your website(s)
Short videos on your social media
Positive media press releases, etc.

Posting new content frequently will encourage customer engagement and build your online reputation.

Dont sleep on SEO, or search engine optimization. Many CEOs laugh it off as industry jargon, but its a proven way to improve Google search results for your business.
6. Delete or Bury Dated and Negative Posts
Your online image will live forever, but you do not want your first online impression to be an image or tweet from ten years ago. Instead, you want people to know what currently represents you and your brand. Besides that, Google prioritizes newer content on their search results page, and the majority of the people do not go to the next page.

This means that if you have outdated content about you or your brand, nobody will see it. According to research by Forrester Consulting, 54% of company executives believe that pushing down harmful or outdated content increases revenue.
7. Hire or Consult with Professionals
A PR or online reputation management team can come in handy throughout this process. Coordinating with a good team can help you strategize and profitably organize your content. These professionals understand how the media and online society work better than you do, allowing them to help.
Recap: CEO Reputation Management
Finally, remember that there are things you can control, and there are things you can't control.

For example, you cannot control Google's algorithm or people's opinions about you. Netizens can be pretty harsh, but you can successfully manage your online reputation with the above tips.