(This article was originally published on Visa Eleven)
Social media can create a lot of noise – especially now, when everyone is using it as a platform for self-promotion, targeting or offering a “good” deal. Time on mobile apps has increased by over 20% in 2020 and the overall usage of broadband in Europe has surged about 50% - of course we can thank the global pandemic for these stats. In any case, one thing is clear: now, more than ever, it is important to understand how and what to do when it comes to your online professional brand.
The concept of LinkedIn is “show, don’t tell” and allows you to build more than just your Online CV or professional reputation. Think about it at scale - the better you are positioned, connected to the right people, following the right companies and hashtags (yes, you can follow hashtags on LinkedIn), the more likely you and your organization will benefit and get tangible ROI. Let’s dive deeper into the many faces of the biggest professional network in the world.
Everyone is a Brand Ambassador
If your people are spending time on the platform and have good LinkedIn profiles, it does NOT automatically mean that they want to leave your company. It does, however, mean that they can promote your brand, increase the awareness of your product/services/overall visibility and generate positive business interactions. The time when LinkedIn was only used to find your next gig are long gone.
Now LinkedIn is a go-to guide for candidates interviewing, recruiters sourcing talent, companies promoting their employer brand, and hiring managers investigating their future employees. Which results in one thing – everyone has become a brand ambassador. Your teammates’ networks offer vast opportunities to generate relevant content (marketing), nurture leads through meaningful interaction (sales), emphasize your culture, values and spirit (PR), plus snag the attention of competitors or potential investors; especially if you follow the golden rules in posting:
Recognize Others, Celebrate Milestones and Offer Insights
Having a great profile which reflects your career, interests, hobbies and values is without a doubt a representation of what matters to you. On top of that, you represent not only yourself but your company and employer. If the impressions are solid and positive based on the research, the potential candidate will do, then you are one step ahead of the competition. Many times a CEO’s profile is either non-existent or classified as “dry” and basic. There are no personalizations or details, which make it challenging to engage on a human level. It is not about overselling and creating an unrealistic image of your company, but if it's something you are proud of and have the facts and figures to back it up, then why don’t you?
Hiring is a Team Sport
A common mistake in hiring is that it’s HR's job. C-level executives remove themselves from the equation, completely omitting the fact that a candidate is much more likely to respond to an InMail if it comes from their future boss than from another recruiter. First impressions matter and in most cases recruiters do not know all the inside-outs of your team, structure or business goals. There is no better person than the actual manager to describe the essence of the role, the values of the company and why a specific person could be a great match. If talent is your priority and you complain about not recruiting the right people, you should definitely step up your LinkedIn game; not from an advertising standpoint, instead by shifting the focus of the relationship. Recruitment marketing is leading the way, because nurturing potential candidates takes time. It cannot be done in a day and it most definitely should not be done by one person whose network is limited to around 1000 people (personal network, groups and followers). Think about the reach you can get if each of your 10 team members share the right message (10 x 1000) with the right hashtag (at least 10x). All this without investing a euro, only your time.
The Global Yellow Pages
I bet you remember the good old Yellow Pages where you could find everyone from your second cousin to the local vet. Excel became the improved digital version with filters based on specific criteria and it quickly became the one-stop-shop for all your supplier, client or partner information. Well, LinkedIn does that for you with improved filter capabilities, a broader spectrum of data and opportunities to connect and follow right away. It is optimized so well on Google, if you type your name most likely your LinkedIn profile will be in the first five results. Your potential investors WILL look you up, your future colleagues WILL look at your skills and interests, your competitors WILL look at your activity, and your profile should work in your favor. LinkedIn is a contact database on steroids.
A News Feed That Actually Works
I care about three things at the moment: remote work, HR and startups. The moment I open my LinkedIn newsfeed, every professional, company and hashtag I follow represents some or all of my interests. There is no spam, no irrelevant shameless promotions, nor noise. Just high-quality content to help me do my job (insights, stats, researches, new tools), learn more quickly who is innovating and who is just replicating, all while helping me understand the environment and shape my message, so I get the best opportunities and interactions. This takes time, conscious effort and a smart approach – checking what other industry experts are following, where they are active and what sort of content they publish. Are they posting organic content or just resharing? Questions you should ask yourself regularly and revise your focus accordingly.
A few tips in terms of your individual or company posts (based on the LinkedIn algorithm):
- Always Provide a Comment
Resharing someone else’s post or just posting a photo might not be ideal unless you are Gary V or Richard Branson. Your words are a powerful tool online, use it wisely
- Use Visuals
Post photos of your team/product/solution, interactive videos, links and presentations
- Leverage the Power of Hashtags
No, not #quarantinedforlife, but something that makes sense in a professional context, e.g. #ContinuousLearning, #Startup, #Culture
- Tag a Person or a Company by Using the @ Symbol
Because personalization is key