So you’ve come to the conclusion (happily or otherwise) that social media can and should be used to get your brand in front of important target audiences. Now what?
Here are 9 steps CEOs (and Partners, marketers, subject matter experts and others) can take to expand and promote a brand. I’ve divide them into two groups. First is a list of the basics. You could consider them the cost of entry. They won’t do much to differentiate you from those who get there before you; but they will put you in the game when someone comes looking. Make sure you’ve got these nailed first.
The second list contains actions that are a bit more interesting, more time-consuming and more likely to get your brand noticed by the right people.
LinkedIn Brand Awareness Foundation
1) Get a company page. Four million businesses now have company pages (source). Why not you? They’re free, and potential new clients and customers look for those pages when they’re checking out providers. Here’s how to set one up.
2) Make your company page active. Be sure someone is posting updates there on your behalf regularly. Once a week at minimum. LinkedIn tells us the most popular company page updates are branding posts such as inside looks and interviews, followed by job postings, tips and “fun facts” (source).
3) Complete your personal profile. While company brand is what comes to mind for most people when we mention brand awareness, personal brands are just as important. Your LinkedIn profile is a reflection of both your personal and company brand and it’s seen by far more people than most company pages are. More on why executives need a great LinkedIn profile here.
LinkedIn Brand Awareness Tactics
4) Post status updates on your profile. Each time you post a status update, your first degree connections receive a LinkedIn notification, which serves both to remind them that you exist and, hopefully, provides them with useful, engaging information. Should they decide to like, share or comment on your update, their first degree connections will receive a LinkedIn notification. And on and on. Here’s how to post an update.
5) Build your personal network. On LinkedIn, personal networks are the key to both access and visibility; and the more members you are connected to, the more people who will be exposed to your brand. Be strategic. Identify people who are relevant to your current goals and reach out to them. Here’s more on how LinkedIn personal networks work.
6) Engage with your network. Most company leaders strive to get connected to lots of the right people — and then proceed to ignore them. That’s a great way to get forgotten. Instead, stay active. What are your key connections are doing on LinkedIn? Like, share and comment on their posts. Occasionally reach out with a one-to-one message.
7)) Publish articles on Pulse. Pulse is LinkedIn’s internal content platform and it’s now open for any member to publish content to. When you publish here, you have an opportunity for exposure far beyond your regular status updates. But don’t just publish any old blog article. Social media technology company Epictions applied a little data science to the top 5000 Pulse articles and found that, among other things, interviews and HowTo articles are the best types to focus on; ideal headline length is between 5-9 words and ideal article length is between 2000-25000 words. Here’s more about what works on Pulse.
8) Get your employees involved. While there may be some overlap in personal networks, everyone has unique connections and the more people posting updates about your company, the further your brand goes. Find out more about an employee advocacy program here.
9) Pay. LinkedIn offers several paid ways to reach an even broader audience, among them: sponsored updates, sponsored InMails and ads. All are useful for raising brand awareness. You can find out more about those options here.
What you can do today
Take a look at your current LinkedIn presence. Start with the basics. Here’s a short checklist you can use:
- We have a company page.
- We post an update to that page at least once a week (preferably more often).
- We have assigned someone to monitor the page and respond to comments.
- My personal LinkedIn is complete.
If you’re not able to check all four boxes, take care of that right now – before you worry about actively generating brand awareness. Once that’s done, post a status update on your profile. Here’s some information about why, what and how to do that. Next, review tactics 5 through 9 above. Which one can you put into play now?