Executives are paying attention to their own careers in record numbers. In the last two weeks, I have worked with seven different executives who each wanted help writing their LinkedIn profile to reflect their personal or company brand better. Julie, a CEO, said, “I have ignored LinkedIn up to now. It wasn’t important enough, so I’ve got a bare-bones profile up. I realize that has been a key mistake. It seems many people are checking me out, and I am failing to impress them. As the company leader, I need to be prominent and display who I am, who my company is, and where we are going. I’m making time to do this now.”
Dan called, saying, “As a company VP of Sales, I’m getting bugged by my sales team to improve my own LinkedIn profile. Prospective customers are checking me out, looking at my LinkedIn profile to see who we are before they make that final decision to do business with us. I never thought about it that way. I need to show what we are doing and how I am successfully leading this team and our products, especially in this challenging time.”
Mike, an Operations VP, said, “I just lost my job when the company went under from COVID. I have been here for twenty years, and I do not have a LinkedIn profile at all. I’m really behind the eight-ball needing to get this up asap.”
Bill brought up another point. This CEO stated, “I should have been smarter about LinkedIn. My profile is weak because it wasn’t a priority. Our recruiters are saying that it is hurting us when they try to hire new employees. I didn’t think that prospective job candidates would check me out, but apparently, they are.”
Some executives are certainly doing it right
Sam Nelson, a Sales Executive, is a master at LinkedIn, having over 40,000 followers. (On LinkedIn you can have both connections and then people who elect to follow you.) “You can grow your following really fast on LinkedIn if you do it the right way,” says Nelson. “People get to know you very quickly using LinkedIn. You can control the message about yourself and your company.”
Every executive is busy, and some career development tasks just fall off the list. “We have found that having a completed and up-to-date LinkedIn Profile has a high ROI for your time. If you aren’t active on LinkedIn, then step one is creating a fully completed Profile.” If you haven’t done that, this Forbes series is a useful guide.
Use a posting strategy
Nelson shared his secret for developing a following. “Write and post about something you know super, super well. Find an area you can be the best at and start sharing ideas. You can stand out in a very narrow, tiny niche and build a big following on LinkedIn.”
“People value authenticity and your own story, so give advice or tactics that are easy for people to implement. Share it in bite size pieces and make the advice things people can easily do. For example, I wrote about a young sales employee that did something, and the customer complained to the CEO. I wrote about how to respond to the employee as a manager saying, ‘hey we’ve got your back.’” This post showed an effective way for managers to handle the situation. The post got 55,000 views and 815 shares. “This advice is about a tiny subset of salespeople called SDR’s in the tech world, but the people responding are those who can exactly relate to this. It was shared with all these people’s networks demonstrating the reach this social media has. I post several times a week using all my own original content,” says Nelson.
Turn your employees into ambassadors
There is some challenge in getting your employees all onboard to become company ambassadors. As an executive, you need to get employees to participate and share. Encourage employees to be active on LinkedIn. “It starts with executives who share messages from ANYBODY and EVERYBODY in the company,” notes Nelson. “Sharing encourages employees to feel valued, and then employees are likely to share an upcoming event, a product announcement, or job opening. Another employee adds something and shares. This action brings visibility to the company’s name, so the company brand is getting broader exposure. It also helps in bringing in more customers and in hiring top talent.”
Source: Robin Ryan via Forbes