He is a famous actor, was named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine, and hawked his own brand of gin in a series of cheeky commercials. 

Now, Ryan Reynolds can add “LinkedIn trailblazer” to his resume. Why? He effectively engages with a broad business audience by using everyday language, humor, and a punchy sales pitch.  

Corporate executives can learn a lot from Reynolds about how to effectively navigate the platform – and loosen up a bit in the process. He has turned his channel into a playground for all things business. In a digital world filled with polished corporate personas and loads of jargon, his authenticity shines - creating a connection with the audience that positions him as a thought leader with a finger on the pulse of modern business ethos.      

And people are taking notice. The self-described “part-time actor, business owner” has attracted more than three million followers on LinkedIn, including top communications and marketing executives at some of the world’s biggest financial services companies.   

Why it matters: Your executives are a human extension of the brand     

Once considered a “nice-to-have” presence, social and digital content are now tables stakes. From building brand affinity to navigating crisis communications, online platforms are a go-to channel for customers, media, investors, and other key stakeholders. A LinkedIn presence is an essential part of a corporate content strategy, allowing thought leaders to control their own narratives and communicate directly with target audiences.    

But too often, executives present an overly formal or distant persona, missing the opportunity to genuinely engage with their audience.    

Instead, they should consider our unofficial Ryan Reynolds Guide to LinkedIn:     

  1. Bridge the personal and professional: Reynolds’ posts are genuine and reflect his personality, while still driving business objectives forward. In today’s digital era landscape where 56% of consumers crave more relatable content from brands, his approach underscores the value of humanizing business leaders on social platforms.  In one recent post, Reynolds linked to a profanity-laced video in which he explains the new and lower pricing policy of Mint Mobile, one of the brands he promotes. “I swear (by) Mint Mobile,” he wrote in the post.   
  2. Make writing a habit: Reynolds doesn’t just post and ghost. He posts a best practice of one to two times a week, engages with his audience, comments, likes and reshares others’ posts, and creates a dialogue. This level of engagement enhances his personal brand and, by extension, the brand of his ventures. It also fuels a consistent content stream for the 54% of decision-makers and 52% of C-level executives who spend an hour or more per week reading thought leadership content.   
  3. Add value and be relevant: From sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of his movie projects to discussing serious business ventures like his Aviation American Gin, Reynolds keeps his content diverse yet relevant, aligning with 61% of decision makers who see thought leadership as key to showcasing company value.  
  4. Extend the earned lifecycle: LinkedIn allows for a controlled narrative that supports and amplifies other communication channels, such as media coverage, events or awards. This tactic gains importance as 55% of decision makers place heightened value on thought leadership content, especially in challenging economic climates.    
  5. Capitalize on two-way engagement: LinkedIn is a networking powerhouse. By connecting and interacting with other thought leaders, industry experts, and professionals, Reynolds expands his influence and fosters meaningful relationships with peers and partners at the C-suite and executive level.    
  6. Cater to the “people like me” perspective: Reynolds highlights his corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as his support of LEAD FROM BEHIND and SickKids Foundation, This not only reflects well on the corporate image, but it also resonates with a socially-conscious audience.  

In a landscape where only 15% of thought leadership content is rated as very good or excellent, there's a clear opportunity for executives to elevate their game. Ryan Reynolds exemplifies the impact of blending authenticity with strategic insight on LinkedIn, offering a valuable model for executives. As the digital arena continues to evolve, the question for executives is not whether to engage in digital executive positioning, but how they can effectively create genuine interactions to forge meaningful connections and drive the conversation in their industry.    

In other words, what would Ryan Reynolds do?   

 

-- Allison Lewis and Caitlin Creel,  Senior Account Supervisors, Digital  (allison.lewis@edelmansmithfield.com, caitlin.creel@edelmansmithfield.com