LinkedIn looks a lot different than it did in recent years; it’s no longer just a place to post your professional history and never return. Recent features allow companies to be more social and have more control over their profiles.
But still, a lot of your company’s LinkedIn success depends on how your employees use it. Fortunately, there are simple changes employees can make to their profiles that can immediately improve your company profile. Encouraging employee activity in certain areas of LinkedIn can also help grow your brand on this network.
With a well-informed, active employee base, LinkedIn can be one of the easiest social networks for a company to manage and build a strong presence. Before we walk through the 8 ways employees can enhance your company on LinkedIn, let’s review how employee profiles are aggregated into a company profile…
How Employees Affect Your Company Profile
If someone has listed your company as their current employer, their information is pulled into your company profile. This information can show up in 2 different places throughout your company profile: (a) your company statistics page or (b) in the activity feed on your company profile (this activity also shows up in the main feed of anyone who is following your company).
I’ll use our company profile as an example since we’ve had some recent additions to the team and title changes, so we’re a good example of the employee activity that shows up here.
Company statistics can be accessed from your main company profile. Anyone can view these statistics, which include your employees’ education, years of experience, job function, and skill set. If only one person in your company has filled this information out, that one person will be the sole representative of your company make up. In other words, the more employees who fill out their profiles completely, the more accurate reflection of your company.
For example, this is how your employees’ years of experience is displayed (blue= your employees, green= employees at similar companies):
When someone changes their title or leaves the company, this is shown at the bottom of the company statistics page:
And this is how your employees’ skills are displayed:
The main page of your company profile includes an activity feed that shows your most recent status updates, new employees, title changes, and departures.
For example, when someone joins your company, they appear in the company activity feed at the bottom of your company profile (this also appears in the newsfeed of anyone following your company):
Step-By-Step Guide for Employees on LinkedIn
Below are ways your employees can change their profiles or participate on LinkedIn that can help make your company shine on this network. The best part? You can just forward your team this post and let them do all the work :)
1. Stop Treating LinkedIn Like a Resume
LinkedIn is a professional social network, but that’s no reason to have a boring profile that is nothing more than a copied and pasted résumé . Personal profiles can be personalized using applications and the summary section can be more lighthearted than, say, a cover letter.
While listing accomplishments and past job duties show someone’s breadth of experience, a good profile summary isn’t trapped in the past. This is where employees can focus on now, and update their summary continuously to reflect what they’re working on, like current projects, speaking engagements, upcoming events, etc.
What would a potential customer want to know about your employees? Employees should also use their summary to explain how their role at your company benefits the customer experience.
2. Use the Correct Company Name
This needs to be an exact match of your company profile name. For example, on LinkedIn we are “BlueGlass Interactive, Inc.” Anyone who just puts “BlueGlass” is not counted as an employee.
When editing a job description, a dropdown menu will appear with a list of possible company matches. Make sure your employees know which of these they should select.
3. Fill Out the Important Stuff
The most important sections your employees should fill out are the parts that are pulled into your company statistics, which are:
- Job Functions are lumped into four broad categories: research & development, sales & marketing, general & administrative, and executive leadership. This is determined by a user’s job title, so it’s important these are accurate and not misspelled.
- Education is reflected in the company statistics based on degrees obtained and universities attended.
- Years of experience are the total number of years of all of the jobs listed on an employee’s profile.
- Skills are hyperlinks that can be added to profiles (more detail below).
4. Add Skills & Expertise
A newer feature to LinkedIn is called Skills & Expertise. A user’s chosen skills will appear as hyperlinks in their profile and also get pulled into the company statistics. Clicking on the skills in someone’s profile pulls up a list of influencers with that skill, along with related skills and companies.
To add skills, you can search for a skill, then click Add Skill. Keep in mind your employees’ skills show up not just in your company statistics, but if enough of your employees have a certain skill, your company will show up in the related companies under that skill.
Once skills have been added to a profile, more can be added and removed by going to Profile > Edit Profile, scrolling to the skills section and then choosing to add a skill or edit to remove a skill.
5. Include Customized Links
Up to 3 links can be added to a profile, but it’s not widely known that the titles of these links can be customized. For example, instead of using the default “My Company Website” to link to your site, employees can actually put your company name. The ability to customize this text is a plus not just for the sake of appearance, but also for SEO.
These links appear in the top section of a profile:
Links can be customized by going to Profile>Edit Profile, then scroll down to Websites and click Edit.
Select Other from the Websites dropdown menu and you can then add in custom text and the accompanying links.
6. Share Your Content
LinkedIn Today is a news aggregator that features the most popular links being shared on LinkedIn. When someone signs into LinkedIn, they see the most-shared articles from other people in their profession. Users can also create a highly customized LinkedIn social news aggregator, which will show top headlines from any industries or sources the user follows.
For example, here are marketing headlines that appear on my home page:
In a nutshell, by sharing your content on LinkedIn your employees can help increase your number of shares and potentially catapult your articles to the top headlines. How content ends up in the top headlines is best explained in this guide about the algorithm used on LinkedIn Today.
7. Update Your Company Status
Company updates show up not only in a company’s activity feed, but also in the newsfeed of anyone following the company, right alongside updates from individuals.
Updating a company status isn’t limited to the profile admin, you can handpick any employees to be admins and have access to posting updates. You can even allow anyone with a company email address to post updates to your company profile (I do wonder if any company allows this).
Whether you don’t have the resources for one person to man your LinkedIn company profile or you want several voices representing the brand, making this a collaborative effort among a few employees can increase the frequency and diversity of your company updates. For example, letting team members from several different departments post updates can help give a better overall picture of your company.
You can add other employees for company updates by going to Admin Tools > Edit. After selecting Designated users only, type in the names of anyone you want to be allowed to update the page under Manage Admins.
8. Participate on LinkedIn Answers
LinkedIn Answers is a place for users to ask questions and receive assistance from industry professionals. Different industry categories are given their own Answers pages which include the questions, experts, and related categories.
For example, here’s the Graphic Design Answers page:
As you’ll notice, there are Graphic Design “Experts” listed on the page. So, how does one become an expert?
Whoever asks a question can later select the “best answer” to their question. By acquiring a lot of “best answers,” a user can be featured as a subject matter expert. The 5 top experts for a given topic are featured on that category’s main page.
Encouraging your employees to become active on LinkedIn Answers is a no-brainer: if you’re trying to gain visibility in an industry, it would certainly look good to have your employees appearing as experts in the answers sections of all your industry’s topics. Additionally, users can display their expert categories in their profile.
Instead of constantly revisiting an Answers page, it’s easy to keep track of new questions by subscribing to the RSS feed for a given topic (located in the bottom right of the topic page).
Since a company profile is directly impacted by how employees are represented and act on LinkedIn, it’s crucial to educate employees on how to make the most out of LinkedIn if you plan on growing a strong presence on this network. The good news is, most employee activity can actually benefit your company and brand. The trick is getting your team to dust off their profiles and start particpating more. Using the 8 tips above, employees can make a huge difference in how your business is perceived on LinkedIn.
How do your employees participate on LinkedIn? Have you seen success with any of the above tips?