I recently worked with an organization that was concerned about the LinkedIn profiles of its staff. "All the profiles have been written professionally; we think they're nice and polished," the Marketing Manager said. "We even had professional photos taken in. The problem is that recruiters are now approaching our team members because their profiles look so great! re trying to achieve as a business? "
This is a common concern for businesses. This particular organization wanted LinkedIn to help increase its leads, boost its market share and achieve greater sales. However, I could see two problems. The first was that all the team member profiles were written with the same purpose in mind: to highlight the individual's area of expertise. This may not seem problematic, but it actually undermined the organization's wish to retain its pool of talent by attracting the attention of recruiters.
The second problem was that there was no difference between the profiles. They lacked strategy. It was not clear who the intended audience was, and it was not clear what the purpose of each profile was.
LinkedIn has more than 400 million users. Twenty new profiles are created every second, and Australia's LinkedIn membership base is one of the fastest growing in the world, with more than six million members. This represents a huge opportunity for businesses. LinkedIn, first and foremost, is a search engine. This means your organization can be found on LinkedIn – as well as in Google searches – based on the type of services and products you want the organization to be found for.
To be found on LinkedIn and stand out from the crowd, it is important that your organization's staff profiles have a clear purpose. A person makes a decision about someone within the first three to four seconds of landing on their profile, so it is vital that your company's profiles align with your organization's LinkedIn strategy. If a profile appeals to a recruiter, then more recruiters are going to contact that person. If a profile connects with clients, cooperators and industry partners, more of these types of people will want to connect with your staff and organization. Problems arise when you want to achieve more leads and sales via LinkedIn, but your staff members are contacted by recruiters instead. This indicates that the content of your staff profiles needs a shakeup.
There are four levels of an organization's LinkedIn strategy. These are:
Level 1: Forward-facing, customer-based profiles. These are the profiles of your sales team and business development team members – the people through which your business's services and products are sold. These people are not necessarily your contact center staff; they are your business-to-business development staff. Business to business is all about the customer relationship, so the content of these profiles needs to reach out to the customer.
Level 2: Manager profiles. Managers are brand ambassadors for your organization. Content about products and services can be included to validate the business for potential clients, but the main focus of a manager profile is to recruit and retain the organization's talent. A manager's profile is particularly valuable when a job is advertised within their team. We know that 75% of job seekers will validate an organization through a leader's profile, so a manager's profile must articulate the nature of the organization and the team, and what the team deliveries.
Level 3: Executive and senior profiles. The purpose of an executive profile is not only to add credibility to and validate the organization as part of the recruitment process; it is to create and nurture industry partnerships. These profiles need to position the organization's vision. They must articulate their team's values and how it contributes to the organization as a whole and its industry partners. These profiles are less about the individual and more about how the organization can cooperate with and help industry partners.
Level 4: The CEO's profile. A CEO's profile is incredibly important. The problem is that CEOs generally do not like putting themselves out in the public domain. However, two-thirds of customers make a decision about an organization based on its CEO, so this profile has a huge amount of leverage.
The CEO's profile has five purposes:
To highlight the organization's vision and what it wants to achieve. It needs to captivate the reader and inspire them to want to be part of that journey. This is regardless of whether they're potential talent, partners or customers. Focussing on what the organization does now is flat and lacks energy. It was Jack Welsh, retired CEO of General Electric and one of the worlds most celebrated and respected CEO's who said "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion."
To provide clarity about the organization's services and / or products. The profile needs to be clear about what kind of customers the business helps and how. The profile is like a mirror and depending on the words in it, will determine what comes back; equally if nothing is in it, nothing will come back. This will also support Search Engine Optimization.
To inspire talent who wants to work for the organization. The content needs to explain why it is a great place to work and encourage potential employees to think, "Wow, look what they're trying to do. this organization. " In her work on maximizing psychological capital, Jess Pryce-Jones, author and founder of iOpener, identified "the five Cs" that help people feel more satisfied in their work. The top one is contribution. Job seekers will look at a CEO's profile and ask themselves, "How can I contribute? Could I make a difference? Would I be heard? Does this organization have clarity about where it's going and how can I get involved?" Provide evidence that your company is a stand-out workplace by including testimonials from team members, high-engagement survey results and statistics (eg. Has the average team member been with the organization for more than five years?). As the famous author and TED speaker Simon Sinek says, "people do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
To highlight what sets the organization apart. Why is it so good at what it does? The perception and positioning of the business will make it memorable. The CEO's profile can include industry awards won, talent survey results and information about an increase in market share. Leverage this information so it appeals to clients, industry partners, collaborators, suppliers and people the organization is trying to influence.
To emphasize corporate social responsibility. How does the organization make a difference to the world? Or is it purely designed for the almighty dollar? Does it practice transparent, ethical behavior? How does its decisions and activities impact on society and the environment? According to Carl Jung, the renovated Swiss psychiatrist, people make decisions that are heart-based or head-based when working with others. The profile needs to connect with both these types of decision-makers. These days, a lot of weight is placed on corporate social responsibility and how it links to share price.
As you can see, all staff members have a role to play in your organization's LinkedIn strategy. It's vital that your marketing team is clear on what the purpose of each profile is during the build process. The question now is, what are the next steps to take so you can thoroughly leverage your organization's profiles?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.