This is an interesting question to have been asked – but not a new question by any means! It pops up every now and again when we’re talking to business owners about our suggestions for their LinkedIn strategies, and also when we’re discussing how our social media management service works.
How do we suggest you invest in LinkedIn?
Your company page represents your brand on LinkedIn. If you’re looking to make the most of this platform, you will want to ensure that the page creates the right perception. Everything from the branded header, to the strapline you use, to the company description, matters. In reality, if a prospect was going to do a search for your business on LinkedIn, they’re not just going to look at your business page and stop there. I think we could all agree that the likelihood of that prospect checking out the people who actually work for the business would be quite high.
So, your prospects complete their search and now have a list of the employees of your business in front of them. If the profiles of your existing employees are correctly optimised, and you have an onboarding and offboarding process that includes the updating of LinkedIn profiles – I’d put money on the accuracy of this list.
What If Your prospects look through the list of profiles of the people behind your business?
If you haven’t invested in ensuring the members of your team have got the basics right on LinkedIn. What is displayed in the search results could do you more damage than good! Are the profiles creating a perception that is the opposite of what you would expect? Does your organisation appear to be much smaller than it is? Do these profiles communicate a message that is completely different from that of your brand?
What are they going to see? What is the perception? What are the first impressions being created through those profile pictures? What information is at the fingertips of that prospect? Has it already become clear who they will be dealing with and is trust already starting to be built?
“People Buy From People”
Personal branding is a two-word phrase that is everywhere at the minute. As a business, help your employees shape their personal brands. Give them the tools to look their best online while they are also representing you. As an employer, it should be second nature to provide the tools necessary to enable them to fulfil their roles to the best of their abilities. If they’re in a sales, business development, or account management roles – LinkedIn is a tool they should absolutely be making use of.
Making a connection on LinkedIn might not be as tactile as a business card – but can you really say that it is any less valuable?
When you hand over a business card, it matters in that moment. The look and feel of the card can help shape an impression. A sturdy card made of quality material that shows off a classy design gets noticed for the right reasons. A flimsy card that’s poorly cut and lacks visual impact gets noticed, but for very different reasons. It’s a split-second thing – but it adds to the impression made.
Humour me and think about what’s most prominent on the business cards you’ve seen recently. Is it the name of the individual, or is it the brand they represent?
What happens to that business card?
That business card goes from hand, to pocket, to drawer, to the bin. Maybe along the way you end up in someone’s contact list or CRM. But you’re just another name and number in a long alphabetical list. Maybe they remember you and think to search for you every now and then. Maybe they don’t.
No one ever says, ‘I don’t want to invest in business cards for my employees in case they leave.’
Your prospects may remember the business card they were given was a certain colour or something about the logo they saw. If there was a way to ensure that business card was in front of that prospect consistently – they might still not remember the name of the individual, but I guarantee they start to recognise and remember the brand. What if there was a way of ensuring that happened? Oh wait – there is!
Staying front of mind on LinkedIn
If your employees are doing their bit right – they will be connecting with your clients and prospects whether you invest in their LinkedIn presence or not. If they leave your business, those connections go with them. That’s not something to be fearful of as it’s already happening!
(I could include Richard Branson quotes in this article at this point, telling you to look after your employees, so they don’t’ go elsewhere. But I feel like it’s such an obvious thing to say.)
Get your message right as a business, communicate it via your company presence, and invest in the education and presence of your team so that they also share those messages with their network. It’s an absolute no brainer. The algorithms that exist within LinkedIn decide who sees what, they prioritise the content coming from personal profiles over company pages. So, by getting your workforce to engage with your content, you are tapping into a resource where you know you will be engaging your target market! You’ll see the difference in your stats – I guarantee it. OK, so your follower count on your company page may not go through the roof overnight, but the reach of your posts will!
You could achieve the same reach through paid advertising on LinkedIn, but this is a service that comes with a hefty price tag, and you will always have your hand in your pocket. You would build a targeted audience and leave it up to LinkedIn to ensure that the right people are seeing your adverts. But while you’re doing this, your workforce will still be making connections with the people you should be targeting, and building networks that are remaining untapped.
My recommendation – invest in educating your people how best to use LinkedIn! Make it so that your employees' presence on LinkedIn not only engages their connections but also drives them towards your company page, turning your target audience into followers of your company page that stay with your brand. Feed your employees with content that communicates the message of your brand, when their connections see it and in turn start to build a relationship with your brand.
You have the ideal distribution channel at hand – your employees.
All you have to do is leverage it.