What do CEOs risk by ignoring LinkedIn? Plenty.
A recurrent theme I hear from executives is “I let my staff use LinkedIn, but I don’t have time.”
Getting the executive team, especially CEOs, to buy-off on using company time for LinkedIn has not been easy. However, most are starting to get it and allow small portions of company time to be used.
What I have observed from training groups of sales, BD and marketing managers is, when deployed properly, LinkedIn helps a company in many ways, among them:
- Higher visibility in a targeted community
- A much stronger company brand
- A better understanding of what the company offers
- Stronger and deeper relationships with current clients
- Easier initial access to new accounts
- Better relationships with partners and suppliers
- More media visibility
- More face-to-face meetings
- More credibility across a defined business niche
For those I have worked with, this also leads to more business. I have one client (admittedly, a true subject matter expert) who got added to a contract because of his LinkedIn profile.
I have also observed that when managers and directors use LinkedIn, the overall company activity rises in a positive way.
This is all great news for those actually using LinkedIn well, but it is only the first step.
The next step is to get the executive team and the C-suite directly involved.
If CEOs and others at the executive level do not engage on social media, they are missing several opportunities, among them:
- The opportunity to see how their employees successfully leverage LinkedIn
- To encourage and support sales, marketing and BD activities quickly when necessary
- To engage with industry and government leaders directly and build stronger relationships
- To further their reach into key market niches
- To define the niches served by the company
- To demonstrate social media savviness that many other CEOs lack
C-suite involvement demonstrates to the staff that there is not only approval, but the activity is a company-wide effort from the top down. This will resonate not simply with employees, but with partners, prospects and current customers. It will not go unnoticed by those important to your company.
A CEOs involvement is an active a company advertisement.
Engaging on LinkedIn does not have to take a big chunk out of their day, but they need to understand the same basic components of engagement apply to them:
- Have a plan
- Build an informational, robust profile
- Understand that you don’t have to connect with everyone
- Join and engage in groups that are germane to your business goals
- Participate on a regular basis
If your employees know you are there, they’ll work harder. If they know you ‘get it’- they’ll work smarter. Make the time to learn and engage.
Executives who remain above the fray will never truly get what is going on and the company will never move to a higher level. No second-hand account can convey the influence and reach of LinkedIn.
Make no mistake- LinkedIn is now an integral part of the B2G landscape and it is here to stay. Those either not on LinkedIn or not engaged will be left behind.
Ignore LinkedIn at your peril.