Why LinkedIn is critical to your "online brand"
With 100 million professionals now on LinkedIn globally and 1.3 million in Australia (Jan.2011), your LinkedIn participation and profile very seriously reflect your online brand. While Facebook and Twitter lead social conversations, LinkedIn with its 17,800,000 “group members” lead business conversations.
The choice is no longer, do we participate, but how we do. “The only thing you will get form burying your head in the sand is the sand kicked in your eyes.” Think Harvey Normans response earlier this year to negative social media sentiment. The key question is how do organisations manage themselves and their employees by establishing social media policy and guidelines that mitigate social media risk.
To understand the SEO power of LinkedIn, all you have to do is Google a person’s name to pull up their LinkedIn profile. In fact LinkedIn usually appears before either a Facebook or Twitter reference. To manage the corporate brand, you should have all employees registered on LinkedIn, all with correct links back to the "company website" and to your "company profile" on LinkedIn. Each comment, update or post on LinkedIn should constitute a business interaction and should "always" reflect an organisations corporate brand guidelines and policies.
LinkedIn’s SEO power has now been magnified with the inclusion of open groups LinkedIn signal, LinkedIn today (its new news site). More opportunities for professional commentary which are searchable via Google and other search engines.
For large corporations this will mean revisiting your Brand Manual and Guidelines to ensure that these guidelines extend to representations about the organisation in any online format ( social media). This would include Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
In addition a "Professional Business Conduct Policy" can incorporate appropriate behaviour, attire, conduct and language in both an on and offline environment. That is separate of course to comments that are made that could constitute "libel, defamation or serious brand damage." And these statements should be included in any legal agreement between the employer and the employee.
LinkedIn also provides businesses with the ability to actively listen, watch, gather and learn from their customers and employees. The information gathered can be converted into employee advocacy, brand building and inspire loyalty much quicker than traditional methods.
Therefore make sure you understand the power and scope of branding tools like lLiknedIn and realise that comments or profiles on these sites are most likely to be the first information found on your organisation. So If you take the time to learn and understand the platform your opportunities to control your brand online are going to be far greater than the social media ostrich seated next to you.
Jennifer is the Director of Content and Copy Australia. CCA provides Consulting, Training and Workshops in Strategic Social Media, Digital Change Management Strategies and B2B LinkedIn.She writes for three Australian Marketing publications and has been published in the U.S. and Canada. She's the world's first"LinkedInologist" and helps ASX companies with Inbound online marketing strategies. ...