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Transform Your Execs into Industry Influencers in 3 Steps

  • By Ron Nash
  • Published: 7/28/2015

Ten years ago, corporate executives were the stars of board meetings, not websites. They scored screen time at presentations, not on mobile devices. And their bios—well, those stilted paragraphs were limited to listing promotion after promotion, with certifications, honorary degrees, or offhand mentions of adept tennis games thrown in for color. Back then, clients were consumers, not audiences, and they cared for little beyond top-notch customer service, killer products, and a value-packed bottom line.

That trifecta has remained constant over the last decade. What hasn’t is the way we deliver it. By harnessing the only social media network used by 360 million professionals in 200 countries across the globe, your treasury and finance executives can become the brand ambassadors you never knew you needed.

Ready to bring your best and brightest to the globe’s biggest 24/7 up front? Here are three easy ways to go from business to name brand on LinkedIn.

Let your executives tell their stories.

Every brand has a story tell, not just the Nikes and North Faces of the world. Similarly, every employee, from your CEO to your newest hire, has a story to tell. The challenge here is to bring the two together.

First, you need to find a corporate ethos—an answer to the question, “What does your company do?” that goes beyond, “We sell high-risk mortgages.” Maybe you’re all about helping struggling, working-class Americans out in a pinch, just like someone did for your family—and your company founder’s family—years ago. This is the story you develop on your company’s business profile page, complete with photo albums that back up every fact and feeling you’ve detailed.

With your company story in hand, ask your executives to identify where their own personal and professional experiences align with corporate culture. That intersection becomes the story you build on your executive’s personal LinkedIn page, in the profile summary section. As potential hires and clients research your company, they’ll click from your company’s page to your executives’ pages. When they see that company values are upheld by top-level employees, your business’ stock will rise. To them, you’ll appear modern, honest and approachable. Win, win, win, right?

Unify your company’s imaging.

At headquarters, your logo is on everything that sits still long enough to be stamped, etched or embossed. The receptionist’s desk, the stationary, the koozies at the annual golf outing—they’re all blasting your logo and tagline. Your digital footprint is a different story. You’ve gone so far as to take formal photographs of all your executives against that wavy blue background we all remember from grade school picture day. But, well, that’s enough, right?

Wrong. Each LinkedIn user has the opportunity to add both a profile picture and a wider cover image to their personal profile page. Your executives need to take advantage of both areas because it makes them look better. But your company needs to push for unity here so that each corporate leader presents a cohesive front when viewed concurrently.  

Remember, you want other users to be able to pick your leaders out of a lineup. Make it easy for them, and they will dig deeper and deeper into your company’s past and present. They’ll follow you and your executives for future updates. They’ll remember you when they’re looking for jobs, a new supplier, advice on an industry topic or when they have a lead that might be of interest to you. That’s all them, coming directly to you, with absolutely no ongoing effort on your part. Easy.

Create content that draws eyes to your influencers.

One million people have published content on LinkedIn.You’re not in the content business, you argue, so why should you join their number? It all goes back to building a company presence on the largest digital platform in the professional world.

The point of content is not to make a hard sell. Instead, you’re building connections, conversations, communities, and clout. All of that comes together on LinkedIn to grow your reputation within your industry. The more people know your company’s name and those of your company’s executives, the more people are likely to see you as a big player. And people want to work with big players as much as you want to be one.

It’s all interconnected on the internet. If you want to be an influencer—and I’d be willing to bet that you do—you have to come at it from these different angles: as a company, as a company’s team leaders, and as part of an industry. Picking one and driving hard at it won’t get you there; neither will throwing yourself at all three for a month before giving up. To transform from a business into a brand people talk about, you need time to cultivate your story. Make it a culture you connect with, on LinkedIn and off, and others will, too. I guarantee it.

Ron Nash is a business and career strategist, author, and founder of The In Academy Inc. He is a featured speaker at the AFP Annual Conference. Register for the Conference here.

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