Social Media for HR Executives
On June 12, Pearson Partners hosted the bimonthly DFW HR Roundtable, a networking and knowledge-sharing group of senior human resources executives in the North Texas area. The topic was “Social Media, Especially LinkedIn, for HR Executives,” presented by Terry Pope of Social Profile Masters, a social media consulting firm. Here is a summary of his remarks.
LinkedIn is the “Facebook” for corporate America. It’s how business and businesspeople are getting connected, and it’s how new business and new talent are being found.
People used to talk about “six degrees of separation.” It’s now down to two or three, largely because of LinkedIn. Take a look at any person you wish to connect with, personally or professionally, and he or she will very likely be, at most, two hops away from you via mutual connections. Asking one of those mutual connections for an introduction is infinitely more powerful than a cold call or email. So powerful, in fact, that in the past few years, the job boards have lost up to 70 percent of their market share to LinkedIn. Almost all recruiters are using LinkedIn, and nearly half of them are using it exclusively.
But LinkedIn is being used for a lot more than recruiting and job-hunting. It’s also being used for venture capital, making business deals, selling, marketing, branding and really, just about every form of traditional business.
LinkedIn for Companies
Having a LinkedIn company profile is a must. This tool is used for soft-marketing to your prospects. You can publish articles and share them with your connections. Every time you share an article, it keeps you top-of-mind. So bombard your customers with information. It will promote you as an expert in your field, and whether you are or are not, people will perceive you as such.
Every one of your employees should have a LinkedIn profile. This gives more exposure to your company, and each of your employees can become a cog in your network, providing more avenues to get to you. You never know who your employees know. Encourage your employees to actively seek industry peers to connect to. The top management, especially, needs to be visible to the public. If they are not, it can look suspicious in today’s fairly open-network environment.
Your team should update their LinkedIn profiles frequently. Every single update creates an alert to that person’s network, meaning more free advertising for your company. Even better, each profile update causes the search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to re-index that profile page and bring it higher in search results. This is also why you want to enable your public profile. You want to be found not just on LinkedIn, but by the public via search engines.
Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your profession, and actively work those groups. Post discussions, make comments, and further your connections in these groups. Again, this is free marketing and promotes your personal and professional brand, while adding to your relevance in search engines.
Everything you include in your profile will be used for “search engine optimization,” (SEO) which means the major search engines use this information to decide how “relevant” you are to various search terms people might be using. The more information you have in your profile that is relevant to your target audience, the higher you will appear among the search results.
At a minimum, the following are necessities to include in your LinkedIn profile:
- Public profile URL
- Locations and job titles
- Specialties and keywords. Use bullet points, which are more easily “read” by search engines.
- Full job history, with positions timeline. This is not critical, but adds more keywords for search engines (including LinkedIn search).
- Company links
- Summary, including keywords
- Skills and education
- Photo. This is important and fosters trust.
- Recommendations and endorsements. Again, this fosters trust and adds keywords.
Personal Branding via LinkedIn
Equally important to professional marketing is promoting your personal brand. This is something you will carry with you and develop throughout your career. One of the best tools is to purchase a domain name using your full name, such as philjohnson.com, called a namesake domain. These are inexpensive and easy to maintain.
Once you own your personal domain name, create a small web site that is a virtual reproduction of your LinkedIn profile, and cross-link from one to the other. This creates “back-links” and improves your SEO “score.” The more links around the web that link to your page, and your LinkedIn profile, the more relevance the search engines will attribute to you, and the higher you will appear in search results. This also creates repetitive content across separate sites, further increasing your relevance to the search engines.
Another benefit of a custom domain name is that you will have a personalized email address, such as , which is much more powerful than a generic Gmail or AOL address. Your personal web site also gives you yet another avenue to publish articles that you’ve written and share links to articles of interest to your network.
There is a wealth of social networking tools available, and the list is growing every day. Keep up with the technology to make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to grow and capitalize on your professional network and your personal brand.
Terry Pope is a social media consultant and the founder of Social Profile Masters, and has more than 25 years of hands-on creative and business leadership experience in traditional and social media. He focuses on social profiles for the business community, the design of corporate web sites, and the creation of techniques to boost search results across a broad array of search engines. Mr. Pope thrives in the challenges of merging the creative with the technical aspects of today’s communication requirements.
Mr. Pope’s early career included writing and producing commercials and background music for radio, TV and film. He served as a voting member of the Grammys for 12 years. He also developed and directed programs at the Art Institute and DFW area colleges. His career subsequently evolved into computer technology training for Fortune 100 clients and third-party vendors.