“We’ve just expanded our company, and so now our mandate is to position our business to the marketplace,” he said. “We’re looking at the usual suspects of paid advertising above and below the line, yet we know we’re yet to unlock the untapped potential of our people.”

This whole conversation with my good friend, a CTO at an emerging tech company, was taking place while young children wove between our legs and party cake came and went at a recent fourth birthday party.

I took a sip of wine (yes it was that sort of party), “Agreed. The latent power of leaders within your organisation to become online brand advocates is an opportunity yet to be explored in most businesses that I see today. Those leaders who use platforms like LinkedIn to build their digital profiles are standing out, and will get known in their industry and beyond.”

“You’re right,” he said. “I need to talk to my leadership team about how we equip our people to build their profiles to speak on our behalf. And to help our people understand what aspects that will, in turn, benefit their own careers.”

Wow, what a discussion for a 4th birthday party. Once we found even the adults had abandoned our shop-talk I promised to send him my latest keynote and workshop to guide their conversation, and we moved back to the matters of the day.

Brands that Breathe

This conversation with my friend was in fact a fairly progressive view of his workforce. Beyond fear of losing talent by building a LinkedIn profile, he could foresee the business benefits of releasing his people as online brand advocates.

So how has this become possible today? The combination of Internet, social media and rapid technological advances has created a shift in the influencers who persuade our opinions and daily lives.

Traditionally a company’s public broadcast channels were so few in number they could be centrally monitored and controlled by the marketing department. Today the age of online influence has multiplied those channels to each and every employee and that has meant three things:

1. Your Brand Has a Human Face

Today a brand has many faces. It’s no longer solely up to the company marketing team to promote and sell their wares. With social platforms like LinkedIn, so pervasive with its 600 million users worldwide (and 10 million in Australia), there’s a willing group of individuals who can effortlessly promote their wares for them. And while clients and community may have lost trust or grown tired of corporate speak, your people put an authentic humanity to your brand. They walk the talk of who you are, and build meaningful relationships person to person.

2. Your Message can be Amplified

Employees had twice the average number of LinkedIn connections then the company profile, and that means approximately eight times the average number of shares, likes and comments of company content; according to a case study of Hubspot employees by LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman. Could that be true for your organisation? What is the ripple effect caused by a single employee and what they say about your brand, let alone tens, hundreds or thousands of employees? The people behind your brand have “people power” to amplify your business and its marketing message.

3. Your Leaders Need New Capabilities

What are the capabilities that leaders need in this new digital landscape? Once the professional development of choice was to do a speaking course, to gain confidence in front of clients and peers. Today, it’s vitally important to empower leaders to create a sharp, consistent and compelling brand presence on digital channels, with a predominant focus on LinkedIn. As one client said to her boss when justifying this professional development, “Help me to help my clients to ultimately help my business.”

Leveraging LinkedIn to Stand Out in Your Industry and Beyond

When you leverage LinkedIn you unlock the power of the people behind your brand.

Today your employee’s LinkedIn profile can be as powerful as a business card, coffee meeting and website all rolled into one. It’s often the first thing that’s checked when meeting a new client, seeing a speaker at an event, or meeting a new leader. What is the cost of no social presence?

Imagine unlocking the latent power of your workforce. Perhaps there are several employees who still see LinkedIn as a glorified CV instead of a powerful connector to clients, peers and future talent. Imagine lifting their capability to craft a credible digital presence that puts a human face to your brand and deepens your messages to your key stakeholders.

Of course, this approach should be crafted with the integration of both internal and external forces: an internal communication strategy and external marketing approach; i.e. the brand identity, tone of voice and communication guidelines.

And just like my friend – who is a leader of an organisation with impressive talent that are already creating powerful digital brands – unlocking the power of the people seems like an opportunity too good to pass up.

 

Want to find out how Meltwater’s tools can help you create a compelling brand presence on social media channels? Click below!

meltwater-social

Could you imagine the possibility?

If you’d like to explore this concept with your team, I’ve had a lot of demand for this topic as a 20-minute TED-talk style presentation or a 1-hour keynote, with options for workshops and an online course.

Want to coffee or chat on zoom? Send me a message, I’d love to talk more.

Watch the video for a glimpse into the topic or download some information.


About Kirryn Zerna

I’m on a quest to help ideas, leaders and brands stand out (without selling out) in this age of online influence. I’m a conference speaker, a masterclass presenter and creator of the Stand Out Effect: a modern-day quest to uncover what makes brands stand out without selling out. What’s unique about me is that I understand the nuance of business from a large corporation to a small business and can translate the challenges and opportunities of the power of social media in each context. I draw on deep experience of working within corporate and public sector environments, and I also have had the privilege of working with over 1,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs through state and federal funded programs in the last year.