Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s webinar. My name is Jenna Gallagher, and I will be presenting the content. Before we get started, I’d like to cover a few administrative details. First of all, if you experience any technical problems on the call, please contact ReadyTalk customer service at 800-843-9166. Now, today’s presentation will take approximately 20 minutes depending on the number of questions. The lines on today’s call have been muted to avoid any background noise, but you can use the chat function on the lower left side of your screen to chat in your questions throughout the webinar, and I will answer them at the end. I’ll be recording today’s webinar and sharing the link with you via email, so in case you’d like to review it later or share it with others in your office that is an option. Right now, we’re going to set up the webinar recording, and then we can get started.
Welcome to today’s webinar, “Are You Linked(In) or Are You Linked(Out)?” First, I’d like to tell you a little bit about Albers Communications Group. We are a full-service PR and digital marketing agency, and we strongly believe that those two strategies go hand-in-hand and work best when used as part of an integrated communications strategy. We represent clients in all 50 states and Canada, and our team of PR and social media specialists help our clients achieve exposure nationally and locally in their operating markets throughout the country. We have specialized expertise helping companies become leaders in their markets and their industries. As for me, as I said at the start of the webinar, my name is Jenna Gallagher, and I’m a content specialist at Albers. My job is to develop engaging social content for the clients who contract with us to manage their social media presence. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, it’s Jenna Gabrial Gallagher, or follow me on Twitter at ggjenna.
Now, I’d just like to give you a look at the topics we’re going to cover today. First, I’m going to share a brief overview of LinkedIn and its history. Next, I’ll give you an idea of how LinkedIn fits into the crowded social space. I will then talk about why LinkedIn is important for individuals and how it can be most effectively used by individuals in businesses. And, I will talk about the kind of content that is appropriate for LinkedIn, as well as what type of content you’ll want to avoid. Lastly, I’ll answer any questions that have been chatted in throughout the presentation of course, and then we can close up the session.
With that, let’s get started.
Just a little bit about LinkedIn: it was launched in May of 2003 as a professional social media networking site. Aside from growing tremendously over the past twelve years, it’s pretty much remained the same throughout. LinkedIn has stayed true to its roots by remaining the go-to space for professionals who want to network in the social space. Their membership grows by approximately two new members every second, and the U.S. boasts the highest percentage of overall users – about 30% or nearly 100 million people. That’s followed by India with less than 10% of total users.
LinkedIn isn’t the new kid on the block, so they don’t have to compete with some of the newer social sites for their identity. LinkedIn remains one of the big three alongside Facebook and Twitter, and as for us it’s a strategy we often recommend for our clients because they can either be involved individually or as a business, and it can be a powerful PR tool. It’s designed to showcase your expertise and also keep your name and brand top of mind.
As I mentioned, we often recommend LinkedIn for our clients because the payoff can be huge. Professionals can use LinkedIn to network or keep contact with prospective clients and make a name for themselves as an expert in their field, and they can also humble brag about their company’s achievements in the interests of boosting brand identity. LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for individuals who are looking for work. The job search function allows you to choose location, salary, key words and other things that are relevant to the field that you want to work in. The profile feature for individuals is very robust with space for your resume, summary of skills, areas of expertise, endorsements for colleagues and peers, and education experience. There are also occasional prompts that remind you to update your skills as you advance in your career, and there’s a graph on the side of your profile that indicates how far along you are toward your optimal profile completeness.
For companies, LinkedIn also has powerful applications for a business or a brand. You can create a page for your company, and in addition to your individual page, you can use that to share content between the two. LinkedIn can help your company establish a professional reputation, which is really critical of course if you’re a new business, and also carve out a niche in your industry if you do happen to be in a very crowded industry. It helps you build awareness of your brand, generate interest in your products or services, and share your particular area of expertise with a professional audience.
You shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the idea of adding another social media network to your overall strategy. LinkedIn doesn’t require as much attention as Facebook, and definitely not as much hands-on care as Twitter. But it is an essential part of establishing your company’s expertise in its field. We generally recommending posting at least three times per week on both your individual and personal pages. But, this is just a guideline so if you have sharp, relevant content to share more frequently, go for it. Just be aware of the audience saturation which you should be able to gauge by the amount of engagement that your content receives.
LinkedIn isn’t Facebook or Twitter or Instagram so it takes a much more targeted consideration to determine who you should be connected with. It’s important that you do connect with coworkers and people that you’ve worked with in the past, your clients, peers with whom you have a professional relationship, and even maybe a few people that you don’t directly know – for example, connections of trusted business contacts who you’d like to further engage with. An absolute don’t of LinkedIn, and this is also a pet peeve among a lot of users, is you don’t try to connect with people that you don’t know and that you don’t have a trusted mutual connection with. Many LinkedIn users try to build their connections by connecting with people that they don’t know just to reach that 500+ contact mark. But, most LinkedIn users see through this strategy and they find it really offputting.
In terms of content, some of the things that you do want to be doing are blogs, because LinkedIn is such a defined social network and has a strictly professional identity, you’ll also want to give careful consideration to the types of blogs that you’re posting. So, definitely post blogs that you’ve written or that your coworkers have written, commentary on what’s happening in your industry from your expert point of view, and trusted third party articles that you’ve seen – those are just a few examples of some great content for LinkedIn. But, some of the things that you definitely should avoid posting are personal content – no pictures of your children or personal photos or updates about your family, and also of course anything that is kind of polarizing or political, or information that doesn’t come from a trusted news or industry source.
Now I’m going to break for questions and discussion. Let me see if we have any questions here. While you’re chatting in any final questions, I’d like to let you know that there will be a brief survey at the end of this webinar, so if you could take a moment to share your feedback with us it will help us develop content in the future that fits your needs.
Okay, it looks like I do have a question here. The question is, “on the previous slide, please expand on what you mean by third party articles?” Sure, absolutely. What essentially that is, is if you come across something, say in the Wall Street Journal, that affects your industry, or in a trade publication, or anything online that is directly pertinent to your industry and you think that that would be great information for your network to have, then go ahead and repost that on LinkedIn. Even sometimes, if it’s another business in your industry that offers the same services as you do, it doesn’t necessarily hurt to offer a little bit of support. You can kind of expand on that information and make it your own in a way that still allows you to position yourself as an expert. Essentially, it’s anything that you come across that you think would be relevant and that shows that you’re really on top of what’s being published on the content that’s out there.
We have another one. Somebody has asked if it’s awkward for employees to be connected with clients on LinkedIn. For example, they don’t want it to be detrimental to the business or look like they’re looking for a new job. That is definitely a concern when people are using LinkedIn as a networking site to look for future employment. But it is actually a really good idea for employees and clients to be connected, and mainly because it shows that you’re an industry expert, and you’re hiring people that are passionate about your industry and your business. So I think the best way to handle that to ensure that there’s not some sort of negative crossover conflict there, is to sort of identify who you want to be a brand master – who you want to represent your company on LinkedIn – and kind of coach them on how the best way to do that is. Ask them personally, I think you have a lot of great things to say about our company and I’d like you to represent us on LinkedIn. Kind of give them a crash course on what’s acceptable and what’s not. You can develop a set of guidelines for your particular company, and actually use industry guidelines or standards (like I said about not posting polarizing political opinions, not posting family pictures), instead say we would really like you to talk about on LinkedIn. Encourage them to post, if they blog obviously their industry-specific blogs are great content. Also, you can ask them to share things that you’ve posted on your company page, or things that they’ve come across – some of that third-party content that they’ve come across that could be interesting. There’s a lot of ways that you can kind of bring them in, making them actually look like a really positive team player for your company and not like they’re looking for another job. Of course, it does boost their professional profile and their standing in your industry as well, so it’s kind of a win-win for employees if they are positively representing your company on LinkedIn.
Looks like we’ve got another question. What are endorsements? Should I try to get more of them. You know, every once in a while I get a message from LinkedIn that says “so and so has endorsed you for blogging” or something like that. That’s kind of a nice little boost that shows that somebody that I’ve worked with in the past is thinking about me, and that’s great. It’s actually not a bad idea to kind of limit your endorsements. You really don’t need to aim for more than three to five of the most relevant endorsements – I’m talking about the individual page that you get, I don’t know if you’re familiar with having seen those before, but they come across every once in a while in my email and perhaps yours as well. But, if you get about three to five of them, that makes you look like an expert in those three to five most relevant areas. So you may want to select, if you’ve got twenty of them, you might want to select what the three to five that you really want to be known as an expert for are, and deselect the other endorsements. Otherwise, you kind of look like a generalist, and that you’re just kind of taking everything that comes down the pike. It’s a little bit more specialized to have three to five. On the other hand though, if you’re a business and you’re getting recommendations, the more the better, really. What I would do actually, is I would look at how many recommendations some of your competitors have, and try to double that. Don’t be afraid to ask people for recommendations, because experts say recommendations on LinkedIn are perceived to be twice as powerful as those that you put on your own website – testmonials on your website – so, you know, if you have testimonials on your website, ask them if they can perhaps also share that recommendation on LinkedIn. But, you know it’s definitely something that you want to try to do – receive as many recommendations as possible. Personal endorsements are a little bit less vital.
Alright. Any other questions for me today?
Okay, I’m not seeing any. Thank you so much for participating today, and I hope to see you on a future webinar. Thanks, have a great day. Goodbye.