The behavior of CEO’s is becoming increasingly more scrutinized and as a result increasingly more important online especially on social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. CEOs, business owners and employees take heed of the following unfortunate situation that happened to Ryan Holmes, the chief executive officer at Hootsuite. After Hootsuite had finished downsizing the company and firing employees from multiple locations, Mr. Holmes posted a photograph of himself holding a cup with liquor, with the tag “Cheers to my homies.” Several employees who were just fired saw the picture of their former CEO holding a cup of liquor and seemingly saluting that they were fired. The post was quickly taken down, but backlash and negative reactions already occurred. The damage to the company and the CEO was already done. Although Mr. Holmes may have been saluting family and friends for the holidays, many employees took it to mean that he was happy that the employees were finally fired and let go as part of the downsizing.
Perception is key online, where information is readily available and accessible about people and places. “The best way to prevent CEOs or other high profile figures from falling victim to such an event is to undergo social media training” says Darius Fisher, a founder of digital reputation management company Status Labs. Due to the fact that CEOs are the face of the company in the eyes of people and employees it is imperative that CEOs and other highly visible figures know what they should and shouldn’t do on social media. Yes, it a private account of a CEO and not a company page or profile, but because the CEO represents the company, they must exercise extreme caution and use good judgement when posting photos and information as shown by the Hootsuite case with CEO Ryan Holmes.
If you have already suffered damage like Ryan Holmes has, then you might just be needed the services of a reputation management company like Status Labs to handle a public relations crisis. Status Labs combines traditional public relations with online search engine optimization to mitigate crises and restore personal and company reputation. Status Labs works with politicians, CEOs, entire companys, athletes and private individuals to restore reputation and confidence after a major event has dealt a blow a company’s or individual’s public perception.