Mark Amtower

COMMENTARY

Why and how GovCon CEOs should use LinkedIn

Millions of your customers on the platform; you need to be there too

Back in 2010, GSA negotiated with social networks on how those networks could use federal employee data. Since then LinkedIn slowly emerged as the dominant network not just in B2B, but also in B2G. LinkedIn is now an integral part of the GovCon ecosystem.

Which leads me to why and how CEOs should be participating. Though some executives persist in the notion that Feds are either not on or don’t use social media, the evidence is entirely to the contrary.

Having chronicled marketing to the government for 36 years, in two books, 100+ articles in Washington Technology, hundreds of public presentations, and fifteen years of weekly radio shows, I can safely state that we are neck deep in an era defined and driven by web 2.0 tools and tactics, and in the middle of that for GovCon is LinkedIn.

Those companies and executives that utilize how LinkedIn can help them communicate to the market are the ones whose companies go further and go faster. Those lacking the ability, time or desire to fully leverage the platform are doomed to lag behind.

There are several examples of executives who lead their companies by posting thought provoking articles that help shape the thinking around specific topics. Dan Helfrich, Chairman and CEO of Deloitte posts great articles and videos around subjects that are core to what Deloitte offers. He has a commitment to the thought leadership Deloitte brings to each market segment it serves and he demonstrates this through these posts.

His BD people can point to these posts when speaking with federal program managers to show that “top down” commitment.

Seven years ago I wrote What Do CEOs Risk by Ignoring LinkedIn? Plenty.

The article outlined some of the benefits for CEOs and other executive to engage on LinkedIn, including

  • Creating higher visibility for your company in a targeted community
  • A stronger company brand
  • A clear message on what your company offers
  • Stronger and deep relationships with current clients and prospects
  • Easier access to new accounts
  • Better relationships with partners and suppliers
  • More GovCon media visibility
  • More credibility is a defined niche

Since then many CEOs and other executives have seen the value of engaging on LinkedIn by posting articles, connecting to peers, key clients and prospects, and even by endorsing or recommending key people in their companies and at client agencies.

However, there remains a significant percentage of executives from the CEO down who do little or nothing to support their company, their staff or their programs on LinkedIn. They often have profiles with little or no description of who the exec is or what the company does. And this reflects an indifferent attitude to the market.

My annual census of Feds on LinkedIn found 2.028 million in 305 departments, agencies, operating divisions and offices. My research shows that at least 15% have IT related job functions and that over 30% have program or project management responsibilities. Further, it is clear that many Feds are open to connecting with industry.

LinkedIn is often the first place companies and individuals are vetted by feds and others in the contracting community.

If for some reason you harbor the notion that Feds don’t use LinkedIn, think again.

About the Author

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower.

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