Updated: Feb 12
Think about the future of SEO and the current world and business leaders you admire or know about. What do they have in common? They all are active on social media, especially on LinkedIn. It doesn’t matter the industry or field, top executives like CEOs, CMOs, COOs, etc., are leveraging LinkedIn to expand their networks, position their personal brand, expand their influence and thought leadership, find new business opportunities, hire awesome people, find new leads, and ultimately boost revenue.
Being active on LinkedIn as a business leader is only beneficial and can:
Portray you as open, transparent, and taking part in the social revolution
Boost employee engagement and advocacy because employees are 57% more likely to leverage social media to drive sales when working in socially engaged companies
Attract top executive and managerial talent. 76% of executives say they would rather work for a social CEO
Make you 40% more likely to appear more competitive
Make your company 58% more likely to attract talent
My goal with this article is to help you be a better leader by leveraging LinkedIn to enable deeper and more meaningful engagement with your customers, employees, and peers. A LinkedIn content strategy for CEO or industry leaders needs to be efficient, high-control, and low-risk. You need to learn your priorities and best practices and develop a process that fits your busy life. You will most likely need to outsource or delegate some tasks to your marketing team, but being personally involved and closely coordinate the process is essential to make your LinkedIn presence authentic and professional.
Today’s most influential and successful CEOs and founders are leading the way in using LinkedIn and other social media platforms to boost their presence and revenue. Take a look at what they have to say:
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, and CEO:
“Embracing social media isn’t just a bit of fun, it is a vital way to communicate, keep your ear on the ground, and improve your business. “
Mike Smith, ANZ CEO
“In social media, our strategy is rapidly evolving. It’s centered on ANZ participating in the social web through our organization and through our people. This includes me as a CEO, my management team, and ultimately all our people.”
Mark Parker, Nike CEO
“Social media is helping us unite and expand. We have never been closer to our customers.”
I have divided this article into four main topics or sections with specific goals to help you create a path to social leadership:
Taking Part and Taking Control of Your LinkedIn
The first step is to take control of your LinkedIn account so that it’s aligned with your objectives and constraints as a top executive. Your profile as an executive in a leadership position needs to be branded and part of your content marketing strategy.
Create an Effective Executive LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile replaces your business card… in a way. This page is how to reach out to your network and how they and other potentially valuable contacts find you and understand what you do. Your profile needs to be complete and keyword-optimized to stand out in the LinkedIn ecosystem
There are several aspects to keep in mind when creating an effective executive LinkedIn profile, including:
Your picture needs to be professional but friendly and in line with your role as a leader who wants to inspire.
LinkedIn makes your current position your headline as default. However, you should customize it to communicate your expertise and vision.
LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile URL, so make it easy to communicate and more professional.
You can tell your story and what you’re all about in your Experience and Summary sections. Use your “Experience” section to list key past positions and elaborate on how you were successful in them. Include your educational background in the corresponding section to also help you expand your network.
Finally, use the “Summary” section to add a personal take on your role, your vision, and your company.
Each section in your profile allows you to add links and other assets to showcase your past and current successes. Make sure you add relevant and entertaining videos, photos, charts, and other assets to your profile.
Control Your Privacy & Confidentiality
LinkedIn allows you to decide what you would like to present to the contacts inside your network vs. the ones outside. This way you can easily control the privacy of your activities and make sure they’re aligned with constraints & comfort levels.
You have the choice to make your information as public or private as you want. Here are a few areas to take a look into:
In private mode, your connections will only be visible to other connections you have in common.
You can restrict who can see your activity feed to your entire network, your connections, or only you. You can also decide if you want your followers or connections to see updates you publish.
You can decide your level of anonymity by picking who sees your name, tagline, etc.
Connect with the People that Matter
LinkedIn has over 400 million members worldwide. It is the most advanced business network for professionals and companies in the world. LinkedIn allows you to easily keep your network fresh and active, strengthen your global connections in the markets and companies that matter to you, and establish yourself as a reference for your industry peers. LinkedIn’s privacy settings allow you to:
You can activate the “email address request” in order to accept connections only from people who know your email.
Invite People You are Interested In
Doing your due research allows you to filter through millions of people to find those with whom you want to connect.
Know a person’s background before you meet or accept the connection request
Visiting a person’s profile before you accept their connection request, before you send them a request, or even before you meet in person (or online) is a great way to keep your network relevant and filter possible spammers.
Build and Nurture Your Leadership
Technical SEO and Keywords are important. But as a leader who is active on social media, especially on LinkedIn, you will be seen by your customers as someone who is interested in being connected, staying current, and making a mark in your industry.
Portray You Company as Innovative
Having its leaders socially engaged makes a company appear more current and innovative. On top of that, when you’re active on LinkedIn as a CEO, you will effectively bring a sense of proximity and connection to your company’s professional and consumer ecosystem at a low cost and with a low time commitment.
Spread Good News
Part of your LinkedIn strategy needs to be coordinated with your marketing and communications departments in order to use your channel as a way to share-worthy news and updates inside and outside your company. Make sure you invite your employees to connect and follow you and other important company profiles.
Give Your Company an Authentic, Human Face
Social media is all about the people. Most company pages don’t perform as well as actual people’s profiles. This is because people are more curious about the people behind a company. That’s why top executives leverage this opportunity to forge a more personal and direct
channel of communication between themselves and the rest of the world, including journalists, stakeholders, and customers.
Make your profile personal
Use the first person, share reasonable personal details, and make sure your profile expresses your individuality and personal worldview.
Share your Company’s page update
Share your company’s news and updates in your own profile to expand reach and spread the word.
Leverage LinkedIn as a communication platform
Work in close coordination with your Public Relations team to leverage your LinkedIn presence for official announcements, promotions, or even crisis management.
Build Your Presence as a Thought Leader
Users on social media, specifically on LinkedIn, connect daily to review their newsfeeds and read about leaders and companies they follow. There are about 1.5 million unique publishers on LinkedIn, so every insight counts when creating content that is engaging,
Engage to get Engagement
Post and share articles, your personal insights, company presentations or infographics, and other relevant news that portrait your thought leadership in your industry or niche. Comment on other leaders’ posts and get the conversation going.
Publish Content Regularly
There are several ways to share content on LinkedIn. Use your feed to share short or long-form posts, photos, videos, polls, and more. You can also share longer pieces as a LinkedIn article. Everything you search on the network is searchable and enriches your profile for better search results and engagement.
These are leaders like Bill Gates or Sir Richard Branson, that have millions of followers and are invited to post insights about management, leadership, disruption, and more. It’s possible to become an influencer in your industry, but it takes hard work and time.
Unlike any other social network, LinkedIn is the only one that provides you with a platform that can potentially help you and your company dramatically increase demand generation, deal closing, and relationship management.
Connect with Key Stakeholders and Decision Makers of your Top Ideal Customers
B2B relationships take time to nurture. LinkedIn is a great channel to remain top of mind for your customers and build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships.
Find Your Ideal Customers
Search by name, company, position, or check out the suggestions provided by LinkedIn of people you may know.
Get to Know Your Customers Better
Follow their activity, engage with valuable input, and you can opt to receive notifications when there are updates, articles, etc.
Use Your Network to Empower Your Team
As you expand your network and influence, you can start leveraging this power to help your sales team connect with the right people. Use your discretion and manage these recommendations accordingly.
LinkedIn as a Sales Tool
Use LinkedIn to establish and grow relationships with prospects and customers. Create a strategy that shares relevant information at every stage of relationship development.
Propel Your Sales Efforts
Use LinkedIn’s status as a focused, informed, and trusted platform to allow your sales team to engage with strategic prospects by using a strategic approach designed in coordination with your sales and marketing departments.
Find New Warmer Leads
If you engage in a potential business conversation with one of your contacts on LinkedIn, it highly probable that they already know a lot about and your company. The efforts made to be present and build thought leadership build trust and make your prospects feel like they “already know you”.
Be on The Front Line of Your Industry
LinkedIn is a highly valuable business intelligence tool that allows you to scope your competition, research new markets, and attract top talent and experts to your company.
Always be Up To Date
With LinkedIn, you can easily know the latest news and trends in your industry or niche to allow you to continue to learn, build your expertise, and expand your influence as an expert.
People & Companies
Follow people and companies that are aligned with your goals to see their latest announcements, updates, posts, new connections, work anniversaries, new titles, etc.
Groups & Articles
Join groups based on your interests and engage in relevant and professional conversations. Write and post long-form articles and comment on other people’s articles on LinkedIn to expand your influence further.
Attract Top Talent and Experts
In a world where remote work is becoming more of a standard than an exception, LinkedIn allows you to hire the world’s top experts and professionals. Use your network and LinkedIn tools to ask for referrals and to find the best people around the world to add to your company.
Find The Best
LinkedIn is present in over 200 countries. USe its search options to find people with the set of skills you need anywhere in the world for free. Remember to leverage your network to find top talent faster.
Keep an Ear on Your Industry or Niche
With LinkedIn, you can track your competition’s latest activity and be aware of any industry news like acquisitions in real-time.
Follow the Right Activity
Use company pages, groups, articles, and personal profiles to receive the latest updates in your industry as they happen. You can also use your connections to strike a conversation and find out more.
LinkedIn Will Definitely Help Your Business
LinkedIn is a very effective tool to boost your personal brand presence and awareness, expand your network and influence, and boost your company’s metrics at the same time. How you use this tool is entirely up to your personal view and vision, as well as your company’s strategy and goals.
Once you’ve decided which way to go, the sky is the limit. Coordinate with your marketing and sales departments and/or outsource LinkedIn services for executives to make sure your presence has your personality and signature. If you’re getting some help to keep up with social media, participate as much as possible in compiling the content you want to share and revising posts before they go out, as well as in replying to comments and engaging with other influencers.