When a Google search begins with the search engine giant questionning your spelling you already know there may be some ambiguity around someone’s online profile, intentional or otherwise. Digging down page one as we do, and let’s face it not many people will go beyond that unless they are truly desperate to find something they know is definitely online somewhere if only they could find it, we begin to see a rather solid picture of Mr Khalil Ismail Al Meer forming. Our 4th CEO on the TopCEO list we are using as a starting point for this leadership digital reputational analysis is looking good.
Obligatory screengrab of SERP here:
Interestingly Mr Al Meer’s results do not begin with a LinkedIn profile or owned channel, but with 4Traders, a mix of business directory and news portal that manages lots of traffic through clickbait and leadership profiles such as this. I am not sure to this day if this is an approved profile of Mr Al Meer, but, profiel photo and brevity aside, it certainly isn’t doing him any harm.
Next on the list we are served an image selection by Google, showing us how well our subject has been tagged across the Internet in terms of visuals. You can see a full selection of images as the featured image of this post, as usual. It begins well and then descends into a multitude of random people with or without moustaches.
Beyond this we are left with several articles on the Khaleeji Commercial Bank company website, offering slightly more information than 4Traders did earlier, but we are certainly not overwhelmed with details. After some slightly arduous searching on my favourite professional network I did manage to find a clue as to why there was no LinkedIn profile surfacing on Google for our 4th most successful CEO of the Middle East in 2016:
Need I repeat myself on the importance of a polished and professional profile? Mine is hardly a work of art but has some merits, I hope you’ll agree. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Ashton and Ashton should you need any help or advice on boosting your online reputation, sir!
Coming in at second place in the Winners List compiled by Trends Magazine and Insead, we find Mr Ali Mohammed Ali Al-Obaidli from Ezdan Holding Group. As is my wont I like to do a basic Google search to see how his reputation is shaped by the world’s online filing cabinet. Let’s take a look:
And what does Google reveal? That the best piece of content associated with him is from 2014, an arms-length profile piece positioning Mr Ali Al Obaidli and Ezdan Holding Group comfortably as leaders in construction and real estate in Qatar, with a growing focus on high net worth individuals of late. The second link Google offers up is a CEO letter as he wraps up 2015 and outlines the successes and future growth plans for Ezdan holding Group. Well-written, but possibly by his impressive team or external PR agency – definitely no shame in producing these kinds of communications but it leaves me craving for something more personable from the public face of the company.
Most of the rest of the URLs in the screengrab are to similar pieces of corporate content, so let’s now turn our attention to other channels Mr Ali may be present on.
LinkedIn offers company leadership the opportunity to display their business pedigree, personal and professional successes and also, during the last few years, provides a platform for longer form content to reach your focused network in the form of a blog post. It is unfortaunte in the first instance that Google adds in a link to the wrong Ali Mohammed Ali Al-Obaidli LinkedIn profile, but do not fear, we will go direct to the horse’s mouth, or social network if you prefer, and discover that after a laborious search effort Mr Ali does not have a personal profile. I would only claim this was a missed opportunity should he be interested in raising his own profile alongside Ezdan Holding Group and have the interest to maintain his profile. One element of digital estate management I always preach, apart from blogging builds reputations, is to avoid over-exposure if you cannot uphold it. There is nothing worse than a derelict social media profile. Having said that, LinkedIn is slightly different and can be used for SEO (Google loves it as it identifies skilled and authoritative individuals) and does not necessarily need frequent updates.
And so, I will leave Chapter 2 with this advice: please create a LinkedIn profile as a minimal requirement. It will let you tell your story and also link directly to the Ezdan Holding Group company page. All good for corporate reputation and discovery.
After being thoroughly un-inundated with suggestions of CEO blogs from across the GCC to sift through, I have decided to begin under my own steam. The sleeves are rolled up and I will now trawl through the interweb, using the TopCEO list created by Trends Magazine and Insead as part of their annual regional award ceremony.
What I’m hope to find is a variety of things:
- CEOs of successful companies are shining examples of how to communicate with their peers
- The blogs I hope to find will reveal another side of the CEO, beyond purely corporate communications
- Alternatively that very few of the CEOs in fact blog at all and there is a vast communication opportunity for PR agencies and consultancies like Ashton x Ashton to step into and generate the much-needed “thought leader” Google-friendly content craved by all and sundry
According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer released at the start of 2016, CEO credibility has increased the most since 2015 on a global scale:
What this clearly indicates to me, and hopefully to those leaders who want to be seen and heard as influencers across the omnipotent communication channel that is “online”, is that CEOs need to talk with the authority, transparency and credibility we have begun to expect. The beauty of a blog, as opposed to an Instagram or Facebook account, is in the form factor as much as anything.
- The writer lays out their wisdom for all to see and engage with in their own time without any expectation of the immediacy of response expected on social media. It is a more relaxed sharing experience all round.
- The content is longer form, therefore more considered and, if required, researched. It is something to be cherished over a coffee, not glanced at briefly whilst in the elevator.
- Frequency is less of a concern. Whilst it is recommended to tweet many times a day, blogging on a weekly basis is a good minimum rhythm to start with. Richard Edelman is someone who has maintained this routine for many years and is globally revered for his dedication and insights. Seth Godin shares his thoughts on a daily basis.
Blogging is a habit I am fighting to get into on a regular basis, somehwere between Richard and Seth would be ideal. The communicational benefits are becoming clearer to me on a daily basis as my audience grows. How about you? Could you and your business do with an SEO boost?
This blog post appeared on my personal LinkedIn profile just moments ago. I hope you arent reading it twice in quick succession by accident.
I am in the midst of a huge research project, attempting to compile a Best Practice list of CEO bloggers right here in the Middle East. During recent training presentation research I was inundated with international CEOs who blog, mainly from the US and Europe, but left bereft of any from the UAE or wider GCC region. Hence why I feel I need to try and fill the gap with my own findings.
During said research I was also completing a digital communications strategy for a client, and find myself recommending more activity from the whole company on LinkedIn – apparently it boosts your SEO and inbound lead hits from potential buyers, even in the slightly unglamorous realm of IIoT and smart city infrastructure. And I stumbled upon this article on Forbes: 50 Ways To Get More LinkedIn Page Followers. Which turns out to be a really useful compendium, so I thought I would share.
Thanks, Forbes, much appreciated.
In the meantime, I am cranking the gears of the Ashton and Ashton blog once more in an effort to discover and be sent links to stunning, shining examples of stellar CEO bloggers in the Middle East. Not Instagrammers, not Youtubers, but bloggers. Less fashionable in this day and age, I grant you, but infinitely more useful for positioning yourself as a thought leader in the niche of your choice. Firing out two paragraphs on sustainability in the desert is definitely more liked by Google than posting a square picture of a solar farm with a dozen hashtags.
Picture courtesy of the ever-awesome Stocksnap.io, as ever. Thank you for making my blog posts look slightly more interesting!
The last few months have been incredibly eye-opening and one of the reasons I first began this new venture – I have been able to fully embed in a company looking for hands-on marketing communications guidance and production and genuinely make a difference. The step away from rigid agency life into a closer client role has been refreshing, and occasionally frustrating but that is another blog post…
There was an odd pride came over me yesterday during lunch with the founder and CEO when he told me he had got into an argument with his wife. When I asked why, expecting the response to be about a shopping trip or forgetting an anniversary, he explained that a friend of his wife’s had seen in the news an announcement of a major industrial accolade for his company, and his name all over the press. The CEO, always focused on sales and market development rather than the glitz and glamour of events and awards, was in trouble with his proud and supportive wife because he had forgotten to mention the prize. He was grassed up by his newfound fame, all because of a media campaign I had instigated with the Head of Marketing.
That CEO is Bakhtiar Wain of Avanceon and they are now recognised as Best System Integrators by Schneider Electric, a company they have partnered with on various projects across the Middle East. This little anecdote serves to remind me of the great strides I have managed to take at this company, where the very idea of communicating their success is alien. Now, with this little taste of fame, we are starting to turn the corner.