Though client work varies, the last few months my conversations have been giving me déjà vu. Many of my clients continue to have goals that look something like this: align with community, grow through leadership, and recruitment and maintenance of top talent. These goals are large and certainly won’t happen overnight, but there’s one tool that many industries are undervaluing and as a result underutilizing. So, here’s your guide to leveraging LinkedIn.
LinkedIn arrived on scene in 2003 and since then, has maintained its position as the premiere social media channel that exists to connect professionals to increase productivity and success. According to Hootsuite, two professionals join LinkedIn every second. From 2003 through today, LinkedIn has continued to adjust the platform’s functionality with a focus on user experience—both individual users (professionals) and employers and organizations (recruiters). Today, 154 million American workers have LinkedIn profiles (Hootsuite).
Enter opportunity. Leveraging LinkedIn really comes down to being strategic and intentional. Here are a few suggestions, depending on your goals, to make the platform better work for you.
- Do create a robust LinkedIn profile.
- Do use a professional headshot.
- Do use LinkedIn as a tool to follow up with professionals you meet in the field.
- Don’t think of LinkedIn like Facebook—content should be relevant to your professional interests.
- Don’t forget that grammar matters. (This may be a selfish comment, but, typos and basic grammar errors won’t impress recruiters, at all.)
- Don’t forget about your affiliations—LinkedIn is a tool to showcase your personal brand, but that brand is a reflection of the organizations you serve and are employed by.
For those who wish to be thought leaders.
You’ve got a strong LinkedIn page, a crisp headshot, and a personable summary—and with 91% of executives rating LinkedIn as their first choice for personally relevant content, you’re off to a great start! But, if you’ve got goals of being a thought leader, those tactics won’t be enough. Future thought leaders, this section is for you.
Thought leaders should have two goals with their LinkedIn presence:
- Build a robust page.
- Use that page to position your specific knowledge.
Building a robust page means having a clear purpose, a customized URL, and being judicious with the updates you share and posts you engage. Experts say that each post will reach about 20% of your network, which is pretty impressive compared to other social media sites. But this requires users to be innovative in the content they’re curating and sharing.
A robust LinkedIn page should also include recommendations from others you’ve worked for or alongside, throughout your career. Some of the clients I work with get shy about asking for recommendations, but, third-party validation of the contributions you made in your role speak directly to the skills you would bring to your next position. Intermediate users with a strong profile and comfortability posting content may be ready to take their LinkedIn execution to the next level. Enter published articles.
The presence of thought leadership takes a great deal of time, consistency, and reliability on behalf of the individual as they position themselves as experts. It’s also contingent on an individual’s ability to weigh in on current happenings from their specific area of expertise. This is where the conversation narrows around LinkedIn articles and publishing.
LinkedIn publishing allows users to author long-form articles from their page. There are blogs upon blogs of best practice tips for using LinkedIn publishing (I especially like this one from OkDork), which can help individuals curate and organize article content to ensure optimized reach. After articles are published, they can be repurposed for sharing through internal communication channels, on other social media platforms, and across the digital platform. My only suggestion/caution here: Make sure article content ties back into a larger strategy!
According to LinkedIn, the platform has 20 million jobs—from entry-level to executive and culinary to corporate—waiting for the right candidate to click. While that may be true, recruiters are finding it more and more difficult to reach the right candidates through LinkedIn.
During my time with the City of Fishers, we ran into this challenge often. With a diverse-array of city positions, we struggled to connect with talent for highly-specialized positions with our parks and recreation, public works, and public safety departments. As I began to work more closely with our human resources team, I quickly identified a few areas we could better connect with talent. Here are four tips you can consider implementing to boost your candidate search:
- Create a Company or Showcase page if you don’t already have one. This page serves as the overview of your organization, including current employees, job openings, and testimonies from your dynamic organization.
- Constantly connect with new people. Too often, marketing teams forget the point of social media is being social. Engage with new people and relevant company pages to help diversify and broaden your page audience.
- Post status updates! I can’t say this enough, your LinkedIn strategy should complement your larger editorial calendar.
- Promote your LinkedIn page—on and off the digital platform. The best digital experience is circular. Encourage your current employees to contribute to the health of your company LinkedIn page (or any other social media page to be honest).
- Lastly, check your analytics. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it. Old thinking won’t yield new results.
LinkedIn offers a whole host of opportunity for professionals, organizations, and especially marketing teams. But the same amount of time and thought that go into your curation content should go into repurposing content for your LinkedIn page.
If you have questions about how your company is using LinkedIn or would like to learn more about any of the ideas posed in this blog, please comment below or shoot me a message here. I’d love to help you reimagine what your LinkedIn experience could be.