November 9, 2015
Dear Employers: Encourage Your Employees to Be on LinkedIn (Right Now)
The other day, my stepfather said something at the dinner table that shifted my frame of mind completely. He said, “We just hired a new engineer at the plant today. I found him on LinkedIn. He sent me a message saying he was interested in the company.”
Now, in the digital marketing world, this type of interaction happens all the time. But, coming from a man who carried a flip phone until 2013 (and does not maintain a Facebook, Twitter, or an Instagram account), this exchange was almost unbelievable.
Considering the constant evolution occurring across all social media channels, it seems the most important change happening to LinkedIn has nothing to do with its user interface or its fundamental functionality. Instead, the most noteworthy trend right now is its sheer growth within the professional world. Over the past 5 years alone, the platform has exploded from 78 million users in 2010 to 380 million in 2015, with no signs of slowing down.
So, what does this all mean? It means that, in order to drive traffic and engagement to your company page, your business needs to position itself to better stand out against the growing clutter of content in this social platform.
Luckily, one of the best ways to achieve this visibility exists right under your nose, in the very lifeblood of your company: your employees.
It may seem counterintuitive, but encouraging your employees to create and optimize their own personal LinkedIn profiles offers mutual benefits to both employer and employee. In fact, it is bar none the easiest way to boost your company’s stature on this channel. We’ll get more into how you should do this, but first, let’s dive a little deeper into why your employees should be on LinkedIn.
Here are 3 essential reasons why you should encourage your employees to be on LinkedIn:
#1. Improved Company Visibility
Consider this: What if we think of LinkedIn’s search function in the same way we think of Google’s? Actually, the comparison is not a case of apples and oranges.
Your employees’ presence on LinkedIn creates a proportional amount of opportunities to embed keywords and content that link directly back to your company page. Like Google, LinkedIn ranks company search results based on the quality and relevance of your company; employees optimizing their profiles to their fullest potential will help get you that coveted #1 spot.
But the benefits of these opportunities even extend off the LinkedIn network. Beyond improving your company’s search ranking within the platform, the greater number of employees you have with fleshed out profiles, the more opportunities for search engines like Google to pick up on relevant keywords, and display pages connected to your company in its search results. It boils down to a simple equation:
More of Your Employees on LinkedIn = Additional SEO for Your Company.
For a more in depth look at exactly how employees can (and should) optimize their profiles, we love this guide here.
#2. Greater Employee Engagement in the Workplace
There’s a white elephant in the room, and it’s saying this: “Why encourage my employees to make themselves more marketable on LinkedIn? Won’t that make them more likely to be poached and seek other opportunities?”
We know, it’s a scary idea. But it turns out research dispels this anxiety pretty conclusively.
Studies demonstrated that between employer and employee, genuine communication and engagement in the social media space contributed to a list of positive effects surrounding employee satisfaction, including greater optimism in their company’s future success and a greater likelihood of staying with that company for the long term.
And an understated keyword here is “genuine.” Authenticity is a key quality of social media success and helps create a corporate brand that people actually believe in. Empower your employees to harness the benefits and best practices of LinkedIn. Do not – I repeat, DO NOT – require their participation. Mow the field, teach them the sport, and your employees will play the game all day with pride stitched in their uniforms.
Employee advocacy programs, eat your heart out. Building the context of social engagement for your employees and merely encouraging them to engage on LinkedIn goes a long way in promoting a positive workplace and organic employee engagement.
What do we say to LinkedIn skeptics? Not today.
#3. Enhance Your Company’s External Perception
You’ve heard it before, now live it: Social media moves at a mile a minute. You need to remain at the helm of this rapid growth, because your company’s stature in the digital space depends on it.
First, put yourself in the user’s perspective. If you were researching a company on LinkedIn, perhaps to contract their services or to get familiar before an interview, what sort of impression would you leave with if only a small percentage of their company’s employees had a personal profile? To list an extreme hypothetical, what if you found out Google only had 10 employees out of their 54,000 using the platform?
You would be alarmed. It damages the company’s lead generation; it tarnishes the company’s external perception.
The statistics above tell you all you need to know about the benefits of having a higher corporate level of engagement on LinkedIn, but to build an alluring page representative of your brand, you are going to need your employees’ help.
Now that we’ve covered why this should be important for your company, here’s how you can facilitate your employees to better utilize LinkedIn:
Host a Seminar in the Office
This one is a no-brainer. Get in contact with your social media team and set up a company-wide seminar on how your employees can best leverage their LinkedIn profiles. Have them run through both the basics of building a profile as well as some of the deeper edits that can instantly transform their page from pitiful to professional.
This infographic is great and can provide a solid format to streamline the meeting. Or, want to get really serious about building a company culture around social engagement? Integrate LinkedIn education into your new hire’s orientation. This way, you can capture your employees' social interest from the start.
In the past, our agency has had great success using lunch-and-learns to get this message across, but you can tailor the format to whatever works best for your company's environment.
P.S. If you choose the meeting route, don’t forget the food. It’s the only way to ensure a full house.
Notify Employees When Updates Are Posted on LinkedIn
This is a simple way to drive engagement on your company’s LinkedIn page. Better even, it utilizes your #1 brand ambassadors (hint: they work for you). Orchestrate an office-wide notification system whenever you, or someone else from your company, posts on your LinkedIn company page. Have an update? Email the link directly to the LinkedIn post.
Here are a few example scenarios that might warrant such an alert:
-Bringing on a new hire
-Publishing an original piece of content
-Acquiring new business
-Reaching an important benchmark
-Unveiling a new product or service
Your employees will not only stay informed with the overall operation of your business, but by sending employees to LinkedIn for these notifications, you will also expand the opportunity for social engagement on your company page. Every like, share, and follow counts. Seize every chance you have to leverage this platform.
Set an Example
Begin by asking yourself this: on a scale of 1-10, how much of a hot mess is my own LinkedIn profile? If you answered with anything but a 1, you’ve got work to do.
Both you and the other leaders at your company should have killer, full-bodied LinkedIn profiles. Beyond the obvious personal benefits of maintaining an excellent page, boasting an example-worthy LinkedIn profile will also accomplish each of the following:
-Legitimize your company-wide efforts to bolster LinkedIn participation
-Inspire your employees to follow in your footsteps and build stellar profiles
-Drive engagement within the LinkedIn platform and on your company page
Struggling for inspiration? Check out this great resource that showcases 10 outstanding examples of individual profiles.
As a professional, maintaining a LinkedIn profile is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. Whether or not you and your company leverage this channel is a matter of your willingness to harness the capabilities of this powerful platform.
One thing, though, remains abundantly clear: you want your employees on LinkedIn. Invest in their success, and you are sure to see returns.
What questions still have you puzzled about leveraging your company’s presence on LinkedIn? Drop us a line on Twitter @QuattroPhilly. We’d love to hear from you.