Sprout Social found in their recent report “#BrandsGetReal: Social media & the evolution of transparency” that the transparency of a brand plays a considerable role in maintaining consumer trust, increased sales and boosting brand reputation. Furthermore, they found that 63% of people say that “CEOs who have their own social profiles are better representatives for their companies than CEOs who do not,” with “32% of consumers say[ing] that a CEO’s transparency on social would inspire them to purchase more from that business.”
Being active on LinkedIn takes more than posting now and again, however, a successful executive profiling campaign showcases the executives as the face of the brand, or “transparency champion”, if you like. We have found from experience that there are 10 steps involved in executive programme – outlined below.
Step 1 – Building the foundation
Your LinkedIn profile is your digital CV coupled with your online portfolio of all the work you have produced in your career. It is an opportunity to showcase of your passions, beliefs and interests outside of the professional sphere.
So first things first, make sure your profile includes a photo, headline and cover photo; this is the first impression your consumers will have of you as a thought leader in your industry, so it’s worth including as much information as you can in each section of your profile.
Step 2 – Nurturing relationships
It’s a good start to follow your customers, partners and prospects’ company pages to keep abreast of their plans and enable CEOs to be on the lookout for opportunities for further collaboration. Connecting with prospects before business meetings, or straight after a meeting, also helps to strengthen those relationships.
Step 3 – Keeping abreast of competition
LinkedIn is a good place to track your competitor’s news, product releases, acquisitions and mergers, customer wins and events in real time. It’s likely that the newcomers to the industry will have a presence too, so you’ll be able to keep them on your radar.
Step 4 – What’s going on in your industry?
The responsibility of being the face of the brand, forces a CEO to have an in-depth knowledge of their industry. A good way to use LinkedIn as a news portal is to follow the relevant hashtags for your industry, joining popular LinkedIn groups for your industry and keeping track of “today’s news and views”, which appears on the right-hand corner of your newsfeed.
Step 5 – Sharing thought leadership content
As well as posting regular updates to LinkedIn, commenting on your connections’ updates and engaging with customer content, it’s a good idea to create original articles for your followers, prospects and employees to read. The best way to tackle this is create a content calendar to produce a regular cadence of content – this will help to establish your position as a thought leader in your industry.
Step 6 – Showing your human side
CEO’s should never underestimate the power of their personality on LinkedIn. Interestingly, the consumer’s perception of a socially active CEO included keywords such as “human”, “accessible” and “approachable”, further solidifying the sentiment that consumers want to hear from a human with emotions and feelings, not a corporate brick wall.
LinkedIn is a great platform for execs to show their human side, offering their opinion, accepting feedback, sharing their mission and vision for the business. Further, giving their followers a glimpse into their motivation and the life events that shaped their career. All this information helps form the online presence of CEO and boost their transparency.
Step 7 – Attract and retain talent
When assessing their next career move, it has become common practice for people to research the CEO, what they find helps them to form a picture of the leader’s competence, personality, and decision-making style. These are all crucial elements for them to form an opinion of the company, and ultimately decide if they want to work for you.
According to Sprout Social, “almost one in five individuals (18%) would see a CEO’s transparency on social as a reason to consider career opportunities at that company in the future.” So, it makes sense for the CEO to show that they have a vested interest in the company culture.
Step 8 – Grow your following
It’s a good idea to keep track of how your social media exposure is having an impact on your follower growth. If you saw an upsurge in followers after sharing a particular post, it’s worth analysing why this happened in order to replicate it.
Step 9 – Analysis, results and KPIs
Setting targets and KPIs is a good idea in order to really evaluate the value of executive profiling and learning what is working best, as well as to document progress.
Step 10 – Encourage advocacy on LinkedIn
When it comes to employee advocacy on LinkedIn, leading by example as a principle, is very effective. If employees see that their CEO is active and enthusiastic about the use of LinkedIn, they will soon follow suit.
It’s no longer a case of asking – why should a CEO be active on LinkedIn? Rather, why not? At this point, there is really no excuse for a CEO not to take advantage of this platform and begin their transformative journey of becoming their brand.
We at LEWIS, have extensive experience building executive profiles on LinkedIn, spanning both B2B and B2B audiences – are you ready to get started?