Social Media Basics: get your staff’s online profiles sorted!

LinkedIn logoHuge amount of resources are being pumped into enterprise social media campaigns and projects, but getting the social media basics right is often being overlooked. Perhaps the most important of these basics is making sure that each one of your staff has a high quality, professional profile on LinkedIn.

First impressions count

We all know how important first impressions are – whether you are at a job interview, a sales meeting, or just meeting someone socially, so it should be no surprise that exactly the same rules apply online. It is worth remembering – “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!”.

We work with a lot of companies to help make sure that every one of their staff has a great profile, and it is not an exaggeration to say that 99% of the profiles we see need some fairly major changes. They typically fall into 2 camps:

1)      The need to start from scratch

A surprising number of people have never really paid attention to their LinkedIn profiles. They don’t contain a photograph, their career summary is the bare minimum, and there is no personal summary. These people are typically not great users of LinkedIn – they probably don’t belong to many LinkedIn discussion groups, and are not actively looking for a job, so it is not too surprising that they do not think they need to have an all-singing, all-dancing profile.

But the importance of profiles has changed – regardless of whether they are active on social media or not, if they have a client-facing role, then people will be looking at their profile simply because the first reaction of most people after finishing a phone call with someone is to Google that person, to find out a little more about them: and their LinkedIn profile is likely to be the first thing which comes up on Google.

So what do these people need to do? Well, it shouldn’t take much more than an hour, and they should methodically work through each section of their profile (LinkedIn helpfully guides them through this) making sure no sections are blank, and paying particular attention to their profile picture and bearing in mind that their contacts will be viewing what they right when they form their ‘first impression’.

2)      The need to rethink  

There are also a lot of people who think their profile is ‘OK’, but they have never really regarded it as particularly important and so not reserved an hour of their time to work through it and, importantly, to view it from the point of view of their ‘target audience’. In fact, as LinkedIn really started as a tool for recruiters, they have written their profile more as a CV than a profile designed to create credibility and trust with their target audience.

So what do these people need to do? Well, they need to stand in their target audience’s shoes and consider what those people are hoping to read. For example, if you are a financial advisor, your potential customer needs to know you care about servicing clients well, NOT that you have smashed your sales targets and made lots of money for your own company. Similarly, if you are a recruitment consultant, they want to know that you care about improving peoples’ careers and NOT about how good you are about closing new business.

This same way of thinking also applies to the type of references you have on your profile: make sure they are from clients rather than previous employers, and overall, that your profile is written in the 1st person rather than as if someone else has written it (like a lot of CVs).

There’s no time like the present

I’m sure the most people may think that putting off reviewing their profile is the easiest option – but bear in mind that people will be getting their first impression of you every day based on what they find on line, so please put some time aside to review it today! If you have any questions about it, please don’t hesitate to ask by contacting me at tim.hodder@esocialmedia.co.uk and if you think your department could do with some help, please share this article with them by using one of the links below.