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Optimizing LinkedIn Profiles for Executives
LinkedIn has more than 800 million members.
Chances are high that your executives have profiles, and if they don’t, they certainly should.
For modern-day leaders, a LinkedIn profile carries a little more weight than other social media channels. While it’s important for executives to keep up their professional network, it’s become increasingly vital to use those connections and their platform to increase brand awareness.
Today, executives play a critical role in an organization’s social media strategy – especially in the B2B space.
The Business Case for LinkedIn
Having a presence on LinkedIn is table stakes for leadership in today’s digital landscape. Especially with many businesses remaining in fully remote working structures, it’s important now more than ever for companies to maintain a strong presence on social media – and executive activity is a crucial piece.
LinkedIn is a key tool to build credibility and thought leadership within an executive’s industry and within their professional network. Taking advantage of LinkedIn’s social features including feed posts and articles can help executives on a number of fronts, including:
- building a following and expanding their network
- sharing their expertise while promoting branded messaging
- reaching target audiences, including prospects, partners and potential employees
5 LinkedIn Tips for Executives
Ultimately, LinkedIn profiles are inherently personal. But many leaders recognize the value of incorporating branded messaging and strategy into their own presence. And often, they’re happy for the support and know-how to create a standout profile. Here are a few best practices that marketing teams should keep in mind to ensure optimized LinkedIn profiles and brand alignment.
1. Make Sure it’s Visually Compelling
Strong visuals are key for optimizing a LinkedIn profile. In today’s digital landscape, it’s mysterious in a bad way if an executive doesn’t have a profile picture on LinkedIn. Professional headshots make for the most compelling profile pictures as they give followers and page viewers a clear view of your executive and increase credibility.
It doesn’t stop at the profile picture, though. A visually compelling LinkedIn profile has multiple sections that are each completed to create a full picture of the executive. The standard profile sections including work experience and education should have content. Adding a header image will also help your executive’s profile feel polished and connected to the company’s larger brand.
2. Write a Good LinkedIn Summary
Think of the LinkedIn summary as an elevator pitch. Executives should use this space to highlight their accomplishments and leadership style in tight alignment with brand messaging and values. Take advantage of brand continuity to set up executives as true spokespeople for your company. Weaving in some brand messaging while talking about their current role in the company is a natural way to cross-promote and show alignment with your brand and your company’s mission.
On top of the LinkedIn summary, leaders can showcase other accomplishments with the additional profile sections the platform offers to build out a complete profile. Showcase contributed articles and interviews in the Publications section or add a section with Honors & Awards. These will help build your executive’s credibility among their networks and increase profile visibility.
3. Define an Ideal Posting Cadence
Creating a profile is step one. Getting active on the platform is step two. Some leaders might be hesitant to post often on LinkedIn but setting a timed cadence for posting can help ease them into it and portrays a dedication to building relationships on the platform rather than their engagement coming across as an afterthought.
Follow a cadence that makes sense for the executive. Those who like to reshare articles might want to post more often than those who are more focused on sharing company news. The posting cadence should be authentic to the executive. If it isn’t, followers will notice. Posting daily is a best practice for LinkedIn, but executives should work up to a more frequent posting cadence by starting with at least two posts a week.
Leaders and executives should be talking about your business and your news on LinkedIn. Make sure that press releases and announcements are shared in time with your external communications. Posting a press release a month later can give the impression that your executive isn’t in tune with company communications and initiatives.
4. Develop a Consistent Tone
Helping your executives define their tone will make posting on LinkedIn less of a burden and more of a habit. Of course, it should be professional, but executives should let their personalities shine on LinkedIn. Make standard announcement posts personal by adding a shout out to team members or share an article with a story that gives their network a glimpse into who they are.
On top of tone, executives shouldn’t be posting just to post. Each piece of content must have intent behind it. Be strategic, whether that’s sharing commentary on industry trends, or just promoting your company’s achievements.
If your executives are interested in building thought leadership and sharing longer pieces of content, you should take advantage of LinkedIn’s Article feature. It’s an opportunity to repurpose bylines or blog posts penned by executives and to develop new content that maybe doesn’t fit on your company’s website – while still maintaining brand voice and continuity. It’s also another avenue for making company announcements in a way that comes directly from leadership.
5. Incorporate Executive Presence into Brand Social Activity
Social media strategists and teams should incorporate the activity of company executives into social media calendars and campaigns. In many cases, executives can enhance a post’s exposure and add valuable context.
For example, a company’s top HR leader can share a recent post announcing a new initiative with some key details about how the project came to life or thanking (and tagging) key members of her team who contributed. It’s a great way to tap into a larger network of HR pros and adds important details about the campaign that may have been missing in the company-wide post.
Typically, it’s best for the executive to share the original branded post. In many cases, the social media team should incorporate these posts into the broader social media campaign.