When leading a team, department or company, you may not realize how the LinkedIn presence of your staff impacts impressions people have of your company and brand. Your team’s profiles, connecting habits and content engagement not only influence what people think about them; their presence influences what people think about your company too... and these impressions can impact business.
While this may seem most important for those in public-facing and senior level positions, it’s important to encourage best practices for everyone. Those in back office and supportive roles contribute to positive corporate impressions too.
Considering this, do your people best represent your company when…
Positive impressions lead to more positive outcomes, so ensuring that each team member puts their best foot forward on LinkedIn is critical -- not only as a benefit to their own credibility and visibility, but also to your company.
Strong employee LinkedIn profiles are current, complete and informative, communicating the value each person brings to business relationships. Optimized profiles include a professional-looking headshot, informative headline and an About section that explains who they are, their expertise and story. It also includes an Experience section that provides an overview of their current role and the impact they have (at least topline), as well as other key sections like Skills, Volunteer Experience, Language etc.
Ideally, the way employees describe your company should align with your general brand messaging. They should also select the proper company name so the correct logo appears next to it.
Optimized profiles also include keywords and content that resonate with your stakeholders, which will improve visibility in search results and increase exposure and opportunities for your company.
When promoting profile optimization among employees, avoid trying to control everything they include, but do provide guidance to help them succeed. Their LinkedIn profiles (and yours) should reflect their individual personal brands and support company branding as well.
How your team connects and communicates with others is another critical part of LinkedIn. At every professional level, they should know how to facilitate effective connection requests, direct messages and InMail (for Premium users).
For starters, add a personalized message to connection requests, such as, “We’re mutual contacts of Joe Smith, who suggested I reach out because…” Others are more likely to accept requests when there is context as to why you’re reaching out in the first place.
Timeliness is also vital. If your team meets new contacts and they want to connect with them on LinkedIn, they should do so soon after meeting when they (or the person’s business interests) are still top of mind. Waiting too long reduces relevance. Similarly, when receiving connection requests, if planning to accept them, do so in a timely manner -- and reply to LinkedIn direct messages promptly too.
Anyone representing your company makes corporate brand impressions with their LinkedIn posts, comments, likes and shares. Even when their content interaction isn’t directly related to your company, it still can influence what people think about your company by associating that person (and possibly what they posted) with your organization.
Since everyone on your team are de facto brand ambassadors, they should interact with your company’s LinkedIn content as part of their engagement strategy. Moreover, if they interact with various topics (not just company event or product announcements, for instance), this will add to their credibility and visibility, as well as that of your company. Also, besides liking company posts, encourage your team to share, originate and comment on them too -- their thoughts and insights add value.
This all holds true for content beyond your company’s as well. If your team engages with multifaceted, quality content and enriches posts with their added perspective, they’ll increase their visibility and can establish themselves as resources (and possibly experts) -- which again, helps the company.
Tagging people and companies, as well as using hashtags, are also great ways to drive visibility, so help your team understand why and how to use them. At minimum, provide guidance on tagging your company, colleagues, clients and vendors (if appropriate) and using relevant hashtags.
Everyone in your company represents themselves individually first on LinkedIn, but by extension, they also represent your company and impact impressions others have of it. Your company will benefit when the team shines on LinkedIn. Put simply, when they look good, you look good -- and your company will be better positioned to attract opportunities, business and talent.