by Damian Corbet
For the C-Suite, LinkedIn is an essential resource. The world’s largest professional online network, I like to think of it as the “global business brain” where you can find out just about anything and connect with just about anyone who matters to your professional development or for your business’ growth. It is also a way to position yourself as an expert in your field and your company as a great one to do business with or work for. If your own LinkedIn profile is incomplete and inactive, what kind of message will that send out to potential business partners and employees?
Before you do anything else, check the following:
- Make sure your profile is complete — aim for an “All Star” profile.
- Follow everyone relevant who is to your business.
- Be active and visible by posting regular updates, contributing to groups and blogging.
- Upgrade to a Premium account, which offers many more useful networking and business development features.
- Log in every day (at breakfast or before you leave the office) and spend 10 to 15 minutes on the platform. Soon it will become a habit, and your network — and influence — will grow
OK, so you’re a LinkedIn All Star. Now what? That’s just the start!
While it is important for you to be on LinkedIn and use it properly, it’s even more important to understand what LinkedIn — and social media in general — represents and why it’s such a game-changer. Depending on your attitude toward social media, this may require some mental readjustment and a different mindset, one that sees social media not as a threat or a challenge but, rather, an incredible opportunity.
For those who began their business careers before the onset of the “digital revolution,” this adjustment isn’t always easy. There is often a natural resistance, which comes down to a a lack of understanding of how new social technologies enable and enhance traditional business goals.
This quote from a recent article by Walter Adamson illustrates this point very well:
“Playing the old games of acquisitions, mergers and token collaboration is going to sink some big ships in some big industries. The C-Suite understands the industry dynamics. To understand social technologies they have to experience them, there is no other way. The motivation for C-suite ‘social media’ training should be to understand how to reshape those industry dynamics.”
So, get to grips with LinkedIn, do the training and optimize your profile. But also understand what LinkedIn (and other social networks) represent for the future of business. They are turning old hierarchies on their heads, undermining perceived wisdom and allowing young startup companies to undermine more traditional industries.
Company leaders have a duty to their businesses, their shareholders and themselves to understand this social media revolution and make it a top priority. They should meet it head-on with eyes wide open, not with blinkered views from a previous century. As Walter Adamson goes on to say, “Directors who don’t understand social media are placing their company at risk of not capitalizing on the business opportunities, as well as exposing it to unnecessary risk.”
Are you putting your company at risk by ignoring the value of LinkedIn and other social networks? If you are, then I dare you to cross the “digital divide.” If you do, you’ll see things in a completely different light and envisage new strategic opportunities that weren’t obvious before.
Damian Corbet is a B2B PR practitioner who works closely with senior managers and executives, advising them on social media and digital disruption. A regular blogger on these topics, Damian recently set up The Social C-Suite, with a >LinkedIn group, Google+ community and Twitter account >and a website currently in development. He also hosts regular Social C-Suite meet-ups, where senior executives can meet informally (usually over a beer or glass of wine) with social media experts and learn from them. The Social C-Suite is an official media partner of the Digital Transformation Leadership Masterclass, being held in London in September. Follow him on Twitter @DamianCorbet.