From the outside, implementing a LinkedIn program may seem fairly easy. And, indeed, if all you want are vanity metrics (followers, shares, likes), then you can probably get away with one individual doing the work. But if you’re a marketing person who wants to generate more and better leads or a sales person looking to engage with high level prospects or a sales enablement pro trying to bring the two efforts together, you’re going to need a bigger team.
Actual team makeup varies from company to company and program to program, but generally the roles fall into four categories: leadership, contributors, community management, implementers. One person may play more than one role. In larger programs, there are multiple people in a single role.
Here’s what an excellent LinkedIn Team looks like.
Champion. In sales, a champion is someone inside the prospect company who feels the pain, loves your product, and is willing to fight for you and convince their boss to buy your product. A LinkedIn program – any social media program, for that matter – needs someone with internal clout to sell it to the budget owner and to keep the interest/excitement going.
LinkedIn program director. This is the person responsible for providing the high-level strategy that the tactical team will implement. The best program directors have a marketing background, a good understanding of the company, its industry and buyers, and the ability to translate social media jargon into business language.
LinkedIn channel specialist. One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make in social media is treating all social networks alike when, in reality, each is very different. This is especially true of LinkedIn. You want someone on your team who understands not only the mechanics of using LinkedIn but also the “rules” of engagement, has a good feel for what works and what doesn’t work, and is so fascinated by LinkedIn that he or she stays on top of every change.
Participants. LinkedIn is a network of individuals and, in general, the more participants you have in your LinkedIn program, the stronger it will be. These are the people who are actively building their networks, and engaging and communicating with customers, prospects and influencers on your company’s behalf. They may be subject matter experts, sales people, and executives, among others. (Read more about LinkedIn program participants here.)
Content creator. The most successful lead generating, prospect nurturing and community building LinkedIn programs are based on high quality, original content. It’s so fundamental to the success of a program The Conversion Company insists our clients have a blog with new articles posted at least weekly. Other content such as white papers, e-books, videos, and webinars also help the effort.
Researcher. With more than 300 million members and 2 million plus groups, LinkedIn is a massive network to be conquered. From locating prospects and identifying the best groups, to digging into profiles and activities to learn as much as possible about priority prospects, a designated researcher is key to focusing your program.
Implementer. To keep your LinkedIn program consistent over time, it’s best not to rely on participants to actively participate without some support. A program implementer can craft invitations, messages, discussions and comments for your participants and even post them in many cases. For this role, even if the implementer is working off a pre-approved template written by a strategist you want someone with enough writing skills and business knowledge to be able to customize the message to get the best response.
Monitor. Your LinkedIn monitor stays on top of what’s happening in various LinkedIn groups and on the publishing platform, constantly looking for opportunities to comment. This person should also monitor LinkedIn for trending topics, influencers, links, etc.
Group Manager. I can’t over emphasize the value of having your own LinkedIn group. And the group manager is the one who will make or break it. Moderation (as in “to moderate” not “the avoidance of excess or extremes”) is key to building a community that is spam free, dynamic and truly of value to the members. The group manager reviews and approves or ignores membership requests, starts discussions, alerts you to opportunities to participate in discussions, curates other content to put in your group, sends out weekly updates, encourages participation and ensures the group rules are followed.
Admin. The most important task for your administrative team member is compiling and reporting on stats both to measure the performance of your program (traffic numbers, conversion rates) and to identify what’s working and what’s not working (group and message effectiveness, clicks, shares, comments). While the actions you need to take based upon the tracking data is usually determined by the program director, a web-savvy admin can compile the data into a useful report for you.
To paraphrase Hillary Clinton (I believe it was), it takes a team to run an awesome LinkedIn program. Choose your members wisely and the ROI will be there.
The Conversion Company runs LinkedIn marketing and sales programs for B2B companies worldwide. If you want to talk about how we can help your harness the power of LinkedIn, just contact us.