Why B2B Executives Need to Engage on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the number one social media platform used by CEOs today and there are many reasons why. As the branded “professional” social network, LinkedIn differs from Facebook or Twitter in that it is a digital resume. It’s not a place to share baby pictures or invite friends to your birthday party, it’s a tool for growing one’s professional career. Many leaders in the business world are using LinkedIn as a platform for connecting with employees, customers and investors—and companies can benefit in many ways from an executive with an active LinkedIn presence.

An Executive’s Image and Reputation can be Shaped by LinkedIn

By engaging on social media, leaders can create a persona that is accessible, sincere and knowledgeable. Brand Fog’s 2014 CEO Social Media Survey says that participation in social media by CEOs builds better connections with customers, employees and investors. The research also shows that social media use enhances the image and reputation of executives as forward-thinking, trend-setting leaders.

Actively participating on social media allows executives to engage with other influential community members, become trend-setters and shape conversations. By sharing thoughts and content online, an executive can easily distinguish themselves as a thought leader within their network. For example, the CEO of a cable company who shares a recent study on innovations in fiber optics, shows that he or she is forward thinking. By adding his or her own personal take on the research, the executive joins the conversation as a qualified expert and shares thoughts that influence viewers of the post.

We’ve all seen the Pew research studies showing that Americans get the majority of their news from seeing it shared on social media. Executives can take advantage of this fact and use it as an opportunity to contribute to the news and updates that his or her network (connections on LinkedIn) see on a daily basis. Put the news you want people reading on their newsstand, in this case, LinkedIn.

The Impact of A Company’s Marketing and PR Efforts is Expanded when Execs Engage

Not only do executives help themselves and build their personal branding by engaging with social media, they have the power to help their marketing teams. An executive’s LinkedIn network includes a different audience than the one a marketing team will have access to on the company’s behalf. By sharing company content with peers, the number of eyes on a news announcement, blog, published article, etc. increases.

Showcasing the company’s thought leadership efforts, sharing exciting announcements and drawing attention to media mentions or features of the company is just another way to shape the industry’s conversation with your company’s strategic narrative.

While using social media to share company messaging is important, executives should be careful not to flood their network with “spam.” Less than half of an executive’s posts should be promotional, the rest being content from others or personal content.

Some simple ways executives can up their LinkedIn game right away are:

“Like,” comment on and share posts from peers in your news feed.
“Like,” comment on and share company content.
Create original posts sharing things like news articles, press releases, personal reflections or pose questions to your network that will spark discussion.

Try to share original posts consistently at least 2-3 times per week.
Join groups based on professional interests, alumni associations, or industry-specific practitioner groups. Groups are a great way to find and share news that is focused on a particular topic or industry and can be a good place to establish thought leadership. (Here’s a LinkedIn Guide for getting started with Groups.)

These suggestions are only a starting point for executives who would like to support their organizations and build their personal brands using LinkedIn. Are you an executive who has been active on LinkedIn or an employee whose company executive uses social media? What impact have you seen this have on the organization? We would love to hear your thoughts and learn from your experiences. Please leave a comment below, thanks!