When LinkedIn first came about, we weren’t sure what to do with it. MySpace was still around, and it was battling with Facebook for our social networking attention (albeit, at this point, MySpace was in the decline already). It wasn’t unusual for most of us to think, “Why should I use LinkedIn? I already use Facebook (or Twitter).” The fact of the matter is this, LinkedIn isn’t going anywhere, and it’s the single most powerful thing that you can use to build your brand.
Differences Between the Social Networks
Facebook isn’t for personal branding in most cases. It’s simply the wrong audience, or the right audience at the wrong time. People on Facebook don’t want or expect to interact with a brand message beyond that of liking the brand. We’ll discuss Facebook more specifically later in future articles.
Twitter is indeed helpful for your brand, but it’s not nearly as powerful as LinkedIn. It serves primarily as an amplifier to get your brand messaging out there, as far as you can. It’s highly effective in the reverse as well – aside from Google, you most likely happened upon this article from a LinkedIn referral.
I feel Google+ is still looking to find a way to carve its way into your life. In short, it is in a similar position as Twitter. It will help you amplify your messaging and it will help your SEO, but it’s lacking the tools that LinkedIn provides.
LinkedIn is laser-focused on providing the best version of your professional self, 24 hours per day, 7 days each week, 365 days every year. Every time you meet someone new at a conference or during a phone call, you can bet that the other person is looking you up as soon as they can.
When your résumé or résumé submission comes across the desk of a hiring manager, LinkedIn is likely the first place they’ll turn to learn more information about who you are professionally. It shouldn’t come as a shock to you, but they’ll look at your LinkedIn profile longer, and in more detail than they ever will your résumé.
When your email comes across someone, and the decide to figure out who you are, they search for you on Google. Despite your best efforts, your LinkedIn profile will usually show up before anything else that you might be doing online. For me, it’s generally the second result. Guess which link people will click on first?
The hiring manager, client, or prospective customer will go to LinkedIn first every time.
People have grown to trust LinkedIn for several reasons, but the main reason is that LinkedIn provides an easily consumed representation of who you, provided in a consistent way that people can understand at a glance. They’re used to looking at their own and everyone else’s profiles, so they can sum you up at a glance. Right or wrong, this is the world we live in today.
LinkedIn for Your Company
If you run a company or have influence on those that run the company you work at, you should immediately make the right people aware of this too…
Every single employee that ever could even potentially speak to, meet, or email a customer, prospect, or partner should have their profile updated and audited regularly. The better each individual employee’s profile is, the better they represent the company before, during, and after a call. Your clients and partner are looking your employees up. How well they appear online, and how well they represent the branding of your company speaks volumes as to what your company is about.
Someone in your company should be charged with mentoring everyone, to help them integrate the company’s messaging and media into their profile. Take a look at their headlines, job description, and various media items. Help them add those that best represent the company.
Don’t worry about your employees looking more hirable. This is a good thing. This will indirectly help your clients and partners have more trust and confidence in the abilities of your company.
The Bottom Line
If you get nothing else from this article, know this. Like it or not, the appearance of your LinkedIn profile communicates who you are to anyone interested enough to look. If you’re not investing your time into keeping it updated, you’re losing critical opportunities. Those opportunities could be sales, jobs, partnerships, and so much more.
This article is cross-posted from my personal blog.