I’m a LinkedIn junkie. I joined LinkedIn in December 2003 and was the 82,754th person to join the service (I know this because LinkedIn used to include your member number in their URLs but this hasn’t been used for many years). LinkedIn now has over 565 million users and 260 million users access the platform on a monthly basis.
I’ve managed several LinkedIn Company Pages, significantly increased engagement on Company Pages and trained others on how to maximize their LinkedIn profiles and leverage LinkedIn to their advantage. Plus, I was the manager of a LinkedIn Company Page that was named as one of the Top 10 pages in 2013 – so I know what’s up with this platform and how best to use it.
Most recently, I worked in the A/E/C (architecture, engineering and construction) industry for a small technology consulting firm that worked with architects to design the technology spaces and low-voltage, audiovisual and security systems for large education, healthcare and corporate projects around the US. Part of my job was managing the LinkedIn Company Page and part was research, so I viewed many LinkedIn Company Pages and profiles on a weekly basis. Plus, I’m innately curious and I find LinkedIn a great way to learn about people and their career progression.
With my recent experience in the A/E/C and my background in the professional services industry (consultants, accountants, lawyers, etc.) my key take-away is that professional services firms are lagging in their use of LinkedIn and are missing out on significant branding and marketing opportunities.
“My key take-away is that A/E/C and other Professional Services firms are missing out on significant branding and marketing opportunities.”
Employees Are Key Component of Your Marketing Strategy
Your employees are or should be a key part of your marketing strategy – and this is especially true on LinkedIn for A/E/C and professional services companies. The product that these B2B firms are ultimately selling is their people, knowledge and expertise which means that these firms rely on word-of-mouth and networking to build and sustain their businesses. In professional services firms, every employee should have the responsibility to promote the organization, share the firm’s stories and contribute to thought leadership. In essence, every employee can and should be considered part of the marketing department.
This is where LinkedIn comes into play. LinkedIn is the leading social network for working professionals and is one of the key websites that people check out to learn more about companies and the people who work there. Most companies have done a pretty good job with building up their LinkedIn Company Page, but they usually don’t do anything to help their employees maximize their individual LinkedIn profiles or ask them to contribute to the corporate LinkedIn marketing efforts.
5 Quick and Easy LinkedIn Tips
Here are my 5 quick and easy LinkedIn tips that can be implemented by any company with just a bit of effort. The first two tips are one-time occurrences while the last 3 tips are ongoing tasks.
- Create a standard, branded corporate logo and have all employees add the image to their individual LinkedIn profiles
- Create a 1-paragraph that explains “what we do” and “what makes us special”, and have all employees add it to their individual LinkedIn profiles
- Post relevant content to your LinkedIn Company Page at least 2 or 3 times per week
- Encourage all employees to regularly Like and/or Share content from your Company Page
- Track and review your LinkedIn Company Page Statistics
“Senior Leadership must fully embrace the LinkedIn initiative and set a good example.”
1. Create a Standard Branded Logo
While you cannot force employees to update their LinkedIn profiles to a corporate standard, most employees will willingly comply when provided with a simple explanation of why it’s LinkedIn initiative and set a good example.
By default, LinkedIn provides a standard background image for individual profiles that look like pretty boring.
With a little bit of effort and some image manipulation skills, it is easy to create a branded background image for employees to use as their standard profile background. This is the image I created for Vantage Technology and includes a collage of images from some of their recent projects across multiple industries along with the corporate logo. From the image, viewers can see that Vantage is involved in large corporate, educational, healthcare and public sector projects.
2. Create a Standard Company Overview
Another area where a simple change can make a big impact is to add a paragraph to your LinkedIn profile to explain what your company does and highlight your competitive advantage or key marketing messages. Whenever I look at an individual’s LinkedIn profile, I scan down the companies where they have worked and most users do not include any company descriptions. This content is probably already included on the website or in existing marketing collateral, so it would not take much effort to create a standardized paragraph for all employees to add to their LinkedIn Profile.
Here is an example from a profile I recently viewed that does an excellent job of describing what the company does, what impact they’re making and their plans for the future.
Unfortunately, most employees in this company (including the leadership team) have not adopted their CEO’s messaging and do not have any company description listed on their LinkedIn profiles.
3. Post Relevant Content
Another important way to leverage LinkedIn is to regularly post updates on your LinkedIn Company Page. Some companies post something every day, but many never post updates or post on an infrequent basis.
Based on my experience with LinkedIn, the top days for engagement are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Just posting on these days is why I say that 2 or 3 posts per week is a reasonable level of activity and something that should be achievable by most companies.
You want the content you post to reflect your company’s thought leadership and should not include blatant advertisements. While some of the updates can link back to your company blog or website, other updates can just be interesting articles or blog posts about your industry or market.
Other examples of LinkedIn Company Page updates include:
- Links to company blog posts
- Links to project profiles or case studies
- Links to corporate press releases
- Images of corporate activities, especially community service activities that demonstrate the caring side of your business
- Announcements of awards, achievements or new employees
A good rule of thumb is that only 1/3 to 1/2 of your updates should relate to your own company and the rest of the updates should be links to content from other sources. By consistently promoting good content and thought leadership, your company will be seen as a reliable source and partner.
4. Encourage Employee Engagement
The final piece of leveraging LinkedIn is to make sure that employees are regularly engaging with the content you post on your LinkedIn Company page. When I was at Vantage Technology, we regularly received 10-15 likes per update and we achieved that metric with only 30 employees.
I see companies who are many times larger that are generating the same levels of engagement which demonstrates to me that these companies have not taken the step of encouraging employee engagement. The starting point is to make sure employees realize the importance of engaging with company content and to show them how to do it.
While it is not reasonable for every employee to like or share everything you post, a realistic goal would be to have each employee visit the company page on a weekly basis and like or share content. One tactic I used was to send out an internal company email whenever I added a new post to the company blog and included links to where the post occurred on LinkedIn and Twitter.
When setting your targets for employee engagement, a good rule of thumb would be to set a engagement goal equal to 10-25% times the number of your employees.
5. Track and Review Your LinkedIn Company Page Statistics
Of course, all of this activity is moot unless you are tracking and reviewing your LinkedIn Company Page statistics on a regular basis. The administrator for your Company Page has access to a wealth of information about followers and engagement. LinkedIn also provides 12 months of history, so you can easily track what happened before and after you ramped up your LinkedIn strategy.
For additional reasons why you should do more with LinkedIn, check out the 10 facts to know about LinkedIn engagement from the Thrive Agency.