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The direct marketing power of LinkedIn is partially driven by its customised databases, the influence 3rd party credibility provides, the extra oomph an organisation can gain by using its employees’ profiles and its excellence as a thought leadership platform.

Employees are powerful brand ambassadors

Company pages on LinkedIn provide an additional means for organisations to leverage their presence on the platform. They enable the business personas of individuals to boost a company’s profile.

LinkedIn is a B2B social marketing platform without peer:

But do you agree? Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

These thoughts are in addition to previous discussions on the communication strategy behind using LinkedIn, as well as its market research and professional networking tactical capabilities.

By the way, if you find this post of value, please share it through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Thanks in advance!

Using employees as brand ambassadors on LinkedIn

How may organisations, I wonder, really use their employees effectively as advocates on LinkedIn? Very few, I suspect.

Of course, you need to have a thought leadership platform to promote, such as a blog featuring helpful insights and advice, to make this an exercise likely to be able to be sustained, but still…

According to LinkedIn itself, employees are 70% more likely to engage with their company’s status updates, thus helping spread the message across LinkedIn, with mornings being the best time to post these updates. That makes for powerful marketing. And it’s not hard to do:

  • Set up a company blog; post insights and advice
  • The company places a summary of the post on its company page with a link to it
  • An email is sent company-wide to let employees know of the post and encouraging them to read it and share to their contacts via LinkedIn etc.

Doing this will ultimately make a significant difference – directly and indirectly, via SEO for instance – to how easily this company blog content is found and read on the internet. There is NO company which will not benefit from undertaking this approach and it is so simple it is ridiculous.

Let’s not forget, Peter Paul and Mary, that after word of mouth recommendations from people we trust, the next most influential form of communication is how highly a service or product ranks on Google searches. This is supported by the power of social proof that comes from visiting a blog page and seeing it has been shared hundreds if not thousands of times.

Why aren’t we all doing this?? Well, actually maybe many of us are, as recent research has pointed out LinkedIn is the most popular social media channel for sharing content organisations produce.

Public relations uses for LinkedIn Company pages

Any organisation serious about leveraging LinkedIn or utilising it in a truly strategic (i.e. holistic) manner will have a LinkedIn company page and will populate it with information, including thought leadership and curated content.

Often, content links will reach back to discussions in LinkedIn groups, but so will they simply link externally. It seems fair to assume people who follow a company page are very serious about the company and, in the main, are probably advocates of the company or, at the very least, strong supporters of it.

As per web best practice, photos and videos should be posted to the company page, but sparingly, to enhance interest and engagement. According to LinkedIn, company page status updates with links result in 45% higher engagement than updates without links. This is in line with findings about Tweets, too, so clearly people like having sources of information to refer to.

And as with any social media platform, you need to have a content calendar, no matter how formal or informal, and as part of this you need to post updates regularly. How regular is a moot point and will be different for each organisation, but twice a week at a minimum seems sensible to me. The response to different sorts of content and the timings of it needs to be reviewed periodically and the content strategy adjusted accordingly to optimise results and ROI.

Part of this calendar should be based on the obvious presumption that sharing the content of those who you want to influence or become best business buddies with will help enamour you to them:

  • It might help you open up a dialogue with a potential customer
  • It might help enhance the relationship you have with a current customer, thus growing your business with them
  • It might help create a more positive relationship with an influencer on customers and potential customers, thus making them more ripe for a direct sales pitch from your organisation and/or make them more likely to reach out to you for support.

Personal LinkedIn pages as promotional platforms

I have noted on a number of occasions the power of using employees’ LinkedIn profile as a means to increase the impact of using this platform for organisational strategic communication. It will serve organisations well to remember, however, people’s social media real estate – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs etc – is their own personal property.

An individual’s social media real estate is not owned by a person’s employer or clients. It is entirely up to the individual whether they want to use their ‘real estate’ to help their employers. Personally, I use Facebook for personal use and won’t Like, for instance, a posting on Facebook simply because it’s a work priority. I would only do so if it has personal resonance for me.

In the context of LinkedIn, however, I am more than happy to share if not all, then many, posts of relevance to work. I still, however, reserve the right to evaluate each piece of information and pass judgement on it before I share. Employers should be pleased with this approach, as it does two things:

  • It definitely enhances the uniqueness and individuality  of the person who is sharing information thought their social media platforms
  • It, um, hopefully anyway, provides a qualitative filter to the information they share, making their real estate (and them) more credible.

Where do you think the line should be drawn in using personal social media real estate for employers’ purposes? Is LinkedIn different to Facebook in this regard? Have you seen organisations effectively use their employees for LinkedIn marketing purposes? How do you think the tactical communication approaches discussed in this post and its preceding ones could be improved upon?

By the way, if you found this post of value, please share it through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Thanks in advance!