Leaders Have to Lead, Especially on LinkedIn

By Jason Terry, talking about Owners, Partners, CEOs, Vice Presidents and everyone else in leadership roles needing to lead on LinkedIn.

We write a blog post every week. And my favorite source of inspiration is when we get feedback, suggestions or questions from our audience… in other words, YOU.

Recently, I got an email from my good friend Ken Bramble that became the inspiration for this story. He’s a fraternity brother and in one of my peer advisory groups. He’s also a leader for Truss in their Employee Benefits practice. This is what Ken said:

Good morning, Jason. I thought of you when I read this. Q4 is an organization I follow that helps Insurance agencies get better. The article linked below specifically talks about the importance of having leaders of those agencies maintaining a social media presence.
Q4: Who Leads Your Agency Communications?

I loved this article! It talks about one of the core truths we teach in our LinkedIn training sessions. Leaders have to lead, especially on LinkedIn. One of my favorite quotes from this article is, “Leaders lead. They lead their team and their clients. They lead by example. They set the standard. If the leader isn’t doing it, why should anyone else? If the leader is doing it, then everyone else should be showing up ready to keep up.”

Leaders Know a Ton of People

LinkedInLeaders are usually the most recognizable in their community as representatives of their company. And when I use the word community, it’s not just based on geography. It could be relationships across the country based on industry. In my experience, leaders know so many people. And the big problem I see is that some some leaders choose not to use LinkedIn.

Think about that. A recognized leader of a company choosing not to use LinkedIn.

Here are some reasons this matters…

The Sales Process

One reason that this is a problem is it makes the sales process harder. I’ve seen this happen so many times. The sales team is trying to do business with a new company but they’re having trouble getting a meeting. It turns out that the owner in the company is good friends with a decision maker at the other company. Sadly, they didn’t connect on LinkedIn. If the sales team would have known about the relationship, they could have asked their leader to make an introduction.

Company Perception

Another problem with a leader choosing not to spend time on LinkedIn is perception. When a company is considering doing business with you, they’re probably going to check out your website and LinkedIn profiles. Your website looks awesome, you just had it rebuilt last year. And then they start looking at LinkedIn. Imagine what their perception will be if the owner of your company has no profile picture and 12 connections? Or half the executives are in the same boat. What if the salesperson they’re talking to has 42 connections and a profile photo that looks like crap?

There’s a real risk of brand disconnect when people at your company choose not to use LinkedIn, or don’t use it well.

Employee Engagement

Finally, another big problem with leaders not leading the way on LinkedIn is employee engagement. This was in my quote from the Q4 article… if your leaders aren’t willing to spend time on LinkedIn, why should your employees? Salespeople often do a pretty good job because their work on LinkedIn directly impacts their bottom line. But there are LOTS of people in a company, and you never know when one of their relationships is going to make the next opportunity happen.

So Yes…

So yes, I believe that everyone in a company (especially leaders) should spend time on LinkedIn.
(And no, I’m not sponsored by LinkedIn, but I do own some stock.)

Business happens based on relationships. LinkedIn helps people understand the intricate layers of relationships that exist. Assuming your company wants to continue selling products or services, how could a leader in your organization choose not to spend time on LinkedIn?

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