Thursday, May 26, 2016

Why Your CEO Needs a Completed LinkedIn Profile.

We do a lot of blogging and messaging at TANK for C-suite folks who want to have a presence on LinkedIn. Good on 'em. So they should. Taking part and being in the conversation is a big part of thought leadership and accessibility nowadays. If they're editing the messaging and putting in but don't have the time to write it or to spend faffing about with LinkedIn, we're a good solution.

Some, however, don't see why having a full LinkedIn profile is even a big deal. A paragraph in Summary, Previous Roles, Education, blah. It is and here's why.

Numero uno, they'll appear in LinkedIn search results. If someone searched on their last name and his or her Profile is incomplete i.e on ‘All-Star’ status, all the other CEOSmith's (or whatever) who are would rank higher and push him down the LinkedIn search rankings.

LinkedIn’s search algorithm actually work pretty well, filters by relevance and ranks a search by Connections in Common, Connections by Degree (1st, 2nd then 3rd Degree Connections) and (last but not least) Groups in common etc. All searches done on LinkedIn are bespoke and totally relevant to the individual searcher. Make sense?

Basically, LinkedIn's search algorithm looks for (and displays) results in this order: Profile Completeness (the fuller the better), shared Connections in Common, degrees of separation from Connections (1st Degree, then 2nd, then 3rd, yada, yada), then shared Groups in Common. If they don’t have a 100% complete Profile, their Connections or Groups don’t matter, they won't get seen.

Though the only person who can see Profile Completion (‘All-Star’ etc.) is the person who’s profile it is, the casual observer browsing a Directors Profile will certainly notice if some Sections are missing key information. It makes sense to be an ‘All Star’ to present well to anyone who comes across their Profile - say via the main company Business Page - without actually searching for it. Of course it’s possible the observer may not be ‘casual’ at all, they could be someone looking to connect from the media, a future customer/prospect, a C-suite business connection and unfortunately, we’ll never know how many opportunities we’ve missed because our LinkedIn Profile is incomplete… It’s all about impressions and we want the head honcho to appear as though he or she uses the platform, not that they just have a profile.

If you Google your CEOs name their LinkedIn profile should be number one on the first page of Google’s search results. If not it's because it's not complete and if it's there but not complete it currently clicks through to an obviously incomplete profile - either way that's not good. This is peoples first impression, online, of the head of a company. LinkedIn ranks higher than all other profiles including social networks and websites. If they're being found, but by via empty profile with no information, you're not controlling the message. Google loves LinkedIn when it comes to PageRank.

Extra Tip: Apart from being an ‘All Star’, we can fluff their Google PageRank and keep them there by loving crafting a full Public Profile and selecting ‘Full View’ in the Profile Settings then customising their Public Profile URL to be their actual name (or as close as we can get) - it all helps.

When it comes to LinkedIn SEO don't feel obliged to use all of the available space on their LinkedIn Profile to ‘stuff’ it with keywords thinking they'll rank in LinkedIn and Google searches. It might, a bit, but keyword stuffing makes a Profile look spammy and insincere. Far better to come across as a genuine and credible company representative by effectively telling our story and not gaming the system. A stunningly good LinkedIn Summary lets them put his best foot forward and offers sincerity (which is what we’re trying to achieve) - even the likes of Sir Richard Branson and The Zuck do this.

There are also some great organic ways to improve visibility for a company leader on LinkedIn (without resorting to keyword stuffing): Joining Groups, starting to engage in Discussions, being helpful to those communities. Creating original content and sharing it with connections - we do a lot of this (I'd tell you for who but then I'd have to kill you). We also share daily relevant content for our clients, just like we do on their channels like Twitter - and thank others when they do the same. With our CEOs help - and we do often need access to their opinion - we also Recommend and Endorse their Connections (if appropriate).

Getting our CEO (and our Marketing Dept., Sales Team, or any other sceptics) to understand the importance of a full profile and taking part is important.

Also, looking at a brand Page where the CEO doesn't have a profile picture messes with my personal OCD on a biblical level.

EDIT: Also, check out my post on How to Create a Social Presence for the C-Suite over on Simply Measured.