Most companies are missing huge opportunities to use LinkedIn for business growth. Usually, employees are pretty much on their own.
LinkedIn is technically a personal asset. As an employer, you can’t force your employees to update their LinkedIn account. The way they represent your company on their profile and to their network may – or may not – align with your corporate communication strategy.
That said, companies can create a win-win by helping their employees develop strong LinkedIn profiles and habits. As employees expand their professional network and regularly engage on LinkedIn, the corporate reach grows exponentially. With support, education, and training, the collective profiles have the potential to become a powerful corporate asset.
Here are step-by-step instructions everyone at your company can take to effectively use LinkedIn for business:
- Have a good, complete profile
- Connect with all their prospects, customers, and other professional contacts to expand their network
- Share and comment on content on their feed
- Post company created content such as blog articles, upcoming events, or other marketing campaigns
- Publish projects they’ve completed to showcase their experience
- Write and publish articles to teach people what they’re learning and experiencing in the industry
- Share curated content (industry-related articles from around the web)
- Find some LinkedIn groups to participate in and start conversations by asking questions and sharing ideas
- Ask for and give recommendations
A quick note about a couple of sticking points you might be thinking:
- “I don’t want my good employees being recruited to other companies, so I don’t want to promote them using LinkedIn.” If you stay in tune with the career goals and objectives of your employees, you can help them grow within the company. When good corporate leadership is in place, an employee with a professional, active LinkedIn profile is an asset, not a liability.
- “That looks time-consuming. I can’t afford to have my employees dorking around on LinkedIn when they should be doing their main job.” Yes, your employees will need to divert some time away from their main job, but it’s not as much as you might think. Just 5-10 minutes per day can make a huge impact, and the benefits build up over time.
- Use LinkedIn to learn about their prospects before reaching out
- Verify prospect and customer contact information
- Follow prospects, customers, and other relevant professional contacts to stay up-to-date with their LinkedIn activity
- Use the search function to find new prospects
- Review employees’ profiles and educate, train, coach, them on how to use LinkedIn effectively
- Give employees encouragement and incentives to use LinkedIn
- Manage the company LinkedIn page
- Write blogs and other content to post on the company and employee profiles*
- Start, manage and promote an industry specific LinkedIn group (if it makes sense to do so)
- Monitor analytics
- LinkedIn advertising (if it fits into the overall marketing strategy)
- Promote the corporate and employee LinkedIn profiles on the website and in other relevant marketing campaigns
*The content that marketing creates and promotes on LinkedIn should be mostly educational with a sprinkle of self-promotional. Like 95% / 5%.
Measure the Impact of Your Efforts
As you can see, getting value out of Linkedin requires a good bit of coordinated effort from many people on your team. If you’re going to do it - and you should - make sure you’re measuring the impact on your business. While there are many metrics you should monitor, below is a snapshot of some of the Linkedin Company Pages metrics that I measure using my Databox account (a business analytics platform that combines data from the cloud, spreadsheets and databases in one place - it’s pretty cool!).
Implementing a corporate LinkedIn strategy is a comprehensive initiative that progresses in stages (it doesn’t happen overnight), but the return on investment can be significant for both the employee and employer. The employee grows their professional network and deepens their knowledge and connections in the industry, and the employer builds the brand, expands their reach, and increases opportunities for business partnerships, investors, sales leads, referrals, and more.