I opened the new LinkedIn Android app the other day and saw an unexpected message, “The One-Stop Shop to Manage Your Personal Brand.” Because of my own hang-ups about the term “personal brand” I was taken aback. But like it or not, LinkedIn has become the place to manage your professional reputation.
It has also become much more than that. LinkedIn offers brands an ideal platform for employee communications — future (e.g. recruitment), present, and past. The social networks also provides B2B brands a great place to market.
If your brand is still stuck in the Twitter and Facebook universe (and maybe, just maybe, Instagram too), please keep in mind how big LinkedIn has become. More than 400 million people are using the social network to talk about their professional life. Let’s take a quick look at each of these three forms of communication on LinkedIn: personal, employer and business.
Since most people look for work online, LinkedIn has become a nexus to build a personal profile and network. There are many ways to stand out on LinkedIn and strengthen your presence.
LinkedIn profiles serve as a place for potential employers to look at your history. In many ways, the profile has become the modern resume. In addition, potential contracts and speaking opportunities can come through LinkedIn.
Attracting people to and making your profile stand out are the primary means of personal marketing on LinkedIn. Here are a few methods:
- Build a great profile.
- Interact with others via status updates and on groups (be seen).
- Publish original content on Pulse.
- Cultivate endorsements and recommendations.
- Parse your communications so that they are professional.
This latter point may seem obvious, but don’t post your cute dog pic on LinkedIn. If social media made a level of uncouth personality acceptable on the Internet, then LinkedIn is the place where the old-school mindset of acting professionally still reigns. Many people and brands are relieved about that, too. Save the personal posts for Instagram, and button it up on LinkedIn.
I remember when LinkedIn launched in the early 2000s. It was hyped as a place to network and find new jobs. Employers started using it for recruitment purposes.
Then LinkedIn built company profiles. Networking became smarter and you could identify past and present employees through search. The algorithms began sourcing news about company x, particularly when there was a clear tie between an employee and corporate page.
The reality for most brands is that employee communications should begin inside their physical and virtual walls and on their web site. It begins with culture in direct communications up and down the ladder. Another reality exists: Many conversations are occurring about brands out of those domains, and on social media sites like LinkedIn and GlassDoor.
With so many people talking about work and their future on LinkedIn, it can become the central hub of an HR and recruitment social media strategy. Here are some quick tactics to help facilitate that:
- Find and recruit potential employees.
- Post and promote job listings.
- Build a robust corporate careers page that includes jobs.
- Encourage and support an alumni group.
Market Your Corporate Brand
Not only has LinkedIn made itself a great place to engage in employee communications, it has also become a fantastic marketing venue for B2B marketing. Conversations and content galore on professional topics ranging from IT security to digital marketing are everywhere.
Businesses that offer some sort of B2B offering — product or service — need to experiment with LinkedIn as a means to brand and generate initial content leads. Here are some ideas:
- Build an engaging corporate profile page that shows what the company does and how it helps the industry and your customers. Use Showcase pages to highlight particular product areas and include calls-to-action to drive traffic to your site.
- Use LinkedIn’s advertising platform (sponsored updates) to communicate with customers and extend the reach of your corporate profile.
- Show thought leadership through Pulse Articles. Find spokespeople who are willing to use their profiles and publish articles, then promote them on your company profile page.
- Consider LinkedIn sister brand SlideShare as a means to create content that engages prospective customers. You can integrate SlideShare into your page.
- Manage a group to build subject matter expertise for your company. LinkedIn is in the midst of revamping its groups for better functionality and results.
What LinkedIn marketing tips would you add to these lists?