How to Make the Most of LinkedIn as an Executive

By: Becky Harris

Digital Marketing and Fundraising Professional

LinkedIn is synonymous with Facebook and Instagram as a popular social media platform, but serves a drastically different purpose.

Are you an executive considering creating a LinkedIn profile, but not convinced you need one? Do you have a profile but barely use it? Do you just want more tips on how to make your LinkedIn flourish? I asked four professionals from different industries how they make the most of their LinkedIn profiles. Here are their responses plus some additional tips.

If you are ready to build your LinkedIn strategy, be sure to contact us to start your consultation!

Dwan Dandridge, Chief Executive Officer, Black Leaders Detroit

Q: When did you first start using LinkedIn and why? What encouraged you to get on the platform?

A: I got on LinkedIn about two years ago because my colleagues strongly recommended that I have a profile to advance my business and thought leadership.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone considering creating a LinkedIn profile?

A: Get one. LinkedIn is the first thing people check when they are considering you as a business connection.

Q: What are the benefits of using LinkedIn in your opinion?

A: I primarily use LinkedIn to keep up with what’s going on with colleagues in their professional lives. Facebook and Instagram give you information on everything personal and professional, but LinkedIn is strictly for your professional life. I also use it to get updates on what’s happening in the local business community, keep up with community members and past colleagues, and to find synergy in how I may be an asset to these connections.

Madeline Geffert, Marketing and Practice Development, Collins Einhorn Farrell PC

Q: When did you first start using LinkedIn and why? What encouraged you to get on the platform?

A: I began using LinkedIn after starting a job at a large company. After many rapid introductions to team members, LinkedIn was the perfect way to solidify connections with individuals as part of a global team.

Q: Have you seen any significant growth in your business and/or benefits for your business since you started using LinkedIn?

A: Yes! Utilizing LinkedIn is a critical strategy for generating leads. This platform is a great place to form new relationships. When you engage in thoughtful conversations with companies, potential clients, or other industry experts, you’re increasing your visibility with a broad audience that will likely visit your page.

Q: What are the benefits of using LinkedIn in your opinion?

How to make the most of LinkedIn as an executive
Your network on LinkedIn is similar to any other social platform, except it is used almost exclusively by users with a business mindset.

A: The top benefit of using LinkedIn is in maintaining professional relationships with alumni of your university, former and current coworkers, and clients. It can open up a world of possibilities.

Second, LinkedIn provides the perfect environment for staying sharp on industry trends and insights. By connecting with industry leaders and joining groups of your interests, you will be exposed to a wealth of knowledge.

Finally, for those in executive roles, LinkedIn can assist in the humanization of leaders behind great companies! Corporate leadership, which can sometimes feel inaccessible, now can engage directly in a conversation with its network of supporters. This approachability can foster relationships and, in some instances, generate leads.

LinkedIn is the first thing people check when considering you as a business connection.”

Greg Sterling, VP of Market Insights, Uberall

Q: When did you first start using LinkedIn and why? What encouraged you to get on the platform?

A: I was an early adapter of LinkedIn before it was mainstream. I was reading about business networking sites and I was curious, so I signed up with no business objective in mind originally.

Q: What are the benefits of using LinkedIn as an executive-level individual, in your opinion?

A: One benefit of LinkedIn is its stability. People change jobs, emails get outdated, but you can always find them on LinkedIn. I never used LinkedIn as a marketing tool for myself. I use it as more of a “digital Rolodex.”

Additionally, there is a wealth of experience on LinkedIn to tap into, rather than using it as a sales platform. There is a lot of potential on the platform to get information, perspective, and share ideas. The “brain trust” on LinkedIn is underutilized. The best way to tap into this wealth of knowledge is by creating engaging posts. 

Q: Do you use LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator? If so, what are the benefits of these tools in your experience?

A: I had LinkedIn Premium for a time. It allows you to contact almost anyone, even if you don’t have a direct connection to them. It has definite value, but only for people who have specific objectives like marketing or recruiting. LinkedIn Premium is not for someone who is just there to have a profile.

Glenn Stevens, Executive Director, MICHauto

Q: When did you first start using LinkedIn and why? What encouraged you to get on the platform?

A: I joined LinkedIn not long after it started. I am a big advocate for the power of connections and I saw it as an extension of my ability to connect in person— digitally.

Q: Have you seen any significant growth in your business and/or benefits for your business since you started using LinkedIn?

A: Yes, LinkedIn is a way to build your brand, credibility, and garner mutual respect. I have been able to connect with people strategically for work on the platform. However, I encourage anyone considering using the platform to grow your business to be strategic about making connections. You have to be authentic when seeking to make connections and not too pushy. Otherwise, you will come across as sales-y. You must be intentional and try to contribute something beneficial to the platform.

Q: What are the benefits of using LinkedIn in your opinion?

A: The benefits to using LinkedIn have evolved over time. At first, the major benefit was having a presence online to stay connected with individuals and have a voice. It was an online resume, essentially. As I grew my voice on the platform, I wanted to start using it to help people. I connect college-level and high school-level individuals with prospects and opportunities.

My latest evolution on LinkedIn is in posting being a contributor, not just a consumer. I try to collect people’s thoughts, get people to think differently, and contribute actual, substantive content rather than just fluff. I use the platform to advance my thought leadership and spread as much positivity as I can.

Q: Do you use LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator? If so, what are the benefits of these tools in your experience?

A: I do have LinkedIn Premium, and it allows me to do a little bit more with inMail messaging. I have a “no strings-attached” ability to establish relationships. I would recommend Premium to someone who is looking to build a following for their organization, or using it for a sales purpose.

Key Takeaways

Here are some suggestions to make the most of your LinkedIn presence. These combine the experiences listed above as well as our recommended best practices.

Pay attention to the basics

Have a good profile picture and strong basic statement of who you are. This is your digital brochure for yourself. If you’ve committed to being on it, keep the basics up to date.

When building a new LinkedIn profile, start by connecting with individuals you worked with in the past. Be sure to include a personal note with each invitation reminding them of your relationship. You may also seek out individuals you do not know to connect, but these should be less frequent and purposeful. Do you want to interview them for an open position? Invite them to speak on a panel you are hosting? Make sure you have a direct intention in mind and be up-front about it.

Beware of random connection invitations

Do not blindly accept every invitation to connect that comes your way. Some people use LinkedIn primarily as a way to sell their products or services. If you want to make genuine connections, only accept invitations from people you know or who you think could help advance your business and career.

Salespeople will gravitate toward executives to pitch products or services. These people are very good at the “cold message” and if you accept every invitation, you will get bombarded with sales pitches. There are other methods by which they can contact you (i.e. inMail messages) but if you screen new connection requests, you will avoid most unwanted pitches.

Post content on a regular basis

If you are seeking to advance your thought-leadership on the platform, you should consider posting at least two to three times a week. Share your opinions on business news, comment on others’ posts, or even share your own best practices.

As an executive, you will be viewed as a thought leader. Your connections want to see your opinions and learn from your experiences.

Considering what other social media channels your organization might want to adopt? Read these articles on our blog about Twitter for business and the top social media sites for small business.

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