Corporations are finally waking up to the fact that they need to engage all their people in social media. The impact of social media on a company’s brand is monumental, and it affects everyone throughout your organization – from the entry-level millennials you just hired to your CEO.
But where do you start? I say with LinkedIn. Why?
- It’s the world’s largest professional network – growing with over 330+ million members
- It’s the place where people go when they want to learn about your people. This includes customers or clients, business partners, employees, and potential hires. They can get information about your company on your website, but LinkedIn gives them a personal tour.
- It’s an unbeatably efficient place to start. Not all social media have the influence that LinkedIn has. Those who aren’t actively engaged feel that they should be.
- It has an unparalleled impact on your corporate brand, employer brand and the brand of your people. Let’s look at these benefits in-depth.
Senior management often balks at the need to be social savvy, but according to a study by BrandFog, “CEOs are better leaders who can strengthen brands, build trust in products and services, demonstrate brand values, and communicate accountability – all by simply being on a social network.”
1. Make your business more human. When your leaders and people throughout the organization are on LinkedIn, they increase the authenticity, transparency and humanity of your organization. People want to work with and buy from other human beings.
2. Increase the visibility of your communications. A SlideShare from LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman shows that HubSpot employees have twice the average number of LinkedIn connections. And that translates into eight times the average numbers of shares, likes and comments of company content.
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3. Grow sales and revenue. According to Weber Shandwick, employees with socially encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales than employees who don’t have that support – 72% vs. 48%.
4. Increase media mentions. When your people are using social media and are on LinkedIn, they become sources for journalists. ING’s Social Media Impact survey showed that dialogue on social media is gaining importance in the world of press coverage. In fact, 50% of the surveyed journalists say social media is their main source of information.
5. Express thought leadership. LinkedIn is one of the best places to share thought-leadership content. Why? Because there are 330+ million sets of eyes to potentially view and share the content. It’s the ideal place for sharing professional ideas and demonstrating your company’s expertise.
6. Turn employees into brand ambassadors. According to the Organization Communication Research Center, “Brand-centered human resources and corporate communications management positively affect brand psychological ownership of employees, which can ultimately lead to their constructive brand citizenship behavior.” Engaging your people in LinkedIn for their benefit and the benefit of the organization via talent development programs is a great way to demonstrate brand-centric HR.
7. Help your company stand out from the competition. A study conducted last year by CEO.com and DOMO revealed that 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs had no social presence whatsoever - not even on LinkedIn. Getting your CEO – in addition to all your people, whether they’re in leadership positions or not – on LinkedIn will help differentiate your company while making a statement about innovation.
8. Make your company a more attractive employer. Today’s employees prefer to work in a socially savvy organization, and they use the web to determine social-savvy levels. According to Spherion Staffing, 47 percent of Millennials now say a prospective employer’s online reputation matters as much as the job it offers. And a study from Altimeter showed that 76% of executives say they would rather work for a social CEO.
9. Make your people talent magnets. One of the first places professionals go when they are looking for a job is LinkedIn. When your people are using LinkedIn regularly, they become visible to those who are seeking employment, attracting talent to your company.
10. Source staff. You don’t need to wait for people to find you. By being active in LinkedIn groups, with your connections and those who follow your long-form posts, you can directly identify and source staff as needed – without the cost or delay involved in hiring a recruiter. You build your own relationships with the future employees of your company.
11. Become visible to their fellow alumni. One of the most popular and valuable features of LinkedIn is the Alumni search. Finding others who share your alma mater is a powerful tool for recruiting and being visible to ideal potential candidates. It’s like a college campus recruiting campaign without having to be on campus.
12. Open the door to clients and business partners. LinkedIn helps your people make special connections that are valuable to business development. Simply by having a stellar profile, they are more likely to get in to see a potential partner or client. Why? Because people are using LinkedIn as a filter to determine who’s worth their time – and who’s not.
13. Enable them to benchmark. LinkedIn is the best place to benchmark your organization against competitors inside and outside your industry. Through groups, your people can connect with others who can help you identify best practices, evaluate your systems and processes, and spur innovation.
14. Improve performance and productivity. Your people are looking for ways to streamline. According to a Microsoft survey of 9,000 workers across 32 countries, 31 percent would be willing to spend their own money on a new social tool if it made them more efficient at work. LinkedIn helps them compare systems and processes to enhance efficiency.
15. Learn and grow. According to PwC’s Global CEO Study, 66 percent of CEOs say that the absence of necessary skills is their biggest talent challenge. LinkedIn is on-the-job training. When your people engage in it fully, they stay on top of thought leadership and develop skills that are essential to remaining relevant.
16. Solve problems. Often the challenges your people are experiencing aren’t easily solved by their colleagues inside your organization. By building a solid network via LinkedIn, they’re able to reach out to experts who can help them push through challenges faster and more effectively.
17. Introduce them to social media. I consider LinkedIn to be the gateway drug when it comes to social media. It is the most straightforward social tool and comes with less resistance than, say, Twitter or Google+. But once in LinkedIn, people are hooked, and they’re open to trying other social media. It’s the foundation to building a truly socially savvy organization.
18. Expand their network. According to a studyfeatured in this post by Michael Simmons, the number one predictor of success is simply being in an open network instead of a closed one. LinkedIn is vast and provides the opportunity to connect with people in different functions, industries and geographies.
What does this add up to?
The organizations that build comprehensive LinkedIn programs, engaging all their people in the platform, will have a tremendous competitive advantage.
Are you ready to make this happen for your company?
Join me for a complimentary live webinar on May 5th, 2015 to learn how to engage your team or entire organization with LinkedIn. Register here.
Forbes.com | April 19, 2015 | William Arruda