Jobs and career advancement may be the carrot that gets people to join LinkedIn, but the site has grown well beyond that into a more basic business tool for sales, marketing and networking. That reality is compounded by the fact that activity on social media is not exclusively personal, but also increasingly important and reflective of the larger organizations of which they are a part.
"The problem is most employees don't really know what they're doing. They're not presenting themselves particularly well on social," says PeopleLinx CMO Michael Idinopulos.
Attorneys and sales representatives with unimpressive profiles can quickly destroy the credibility of their employers, he says. Employers and employees are both rising to the occasion as they grasp the importance of a smart strategy for social media, but most have no idea what they should be doing to improve their profiles and outward-facing perceptions, Idinopulos adds.
Performance-Enhanced Social Networking
"I think the biggest difference with these tools is they're like traditional networking on steroids. It's not like the activity itself is fundamentally different. People have always met each other in social gatherings and exchanged business cards and other information," he says. "What's new is that people can now do it on a much grander scale than they could before."
Still, the benefits to the employer are usually secondary. "It is quite role-dependent, but in the end it all comes back to personal brand. Regardless of what my specific job is, I as an individual will benefit from having a compelling and personal brand on social networks," says Idinopulos.
"You would never show up for work or a work meeting with your shoes untied and your clothes messed up. It's kind of shocking that people are still willing to do that online," he says.
Must-dos and Don'ts on Social Media
Idinopulos and Moor shared the tips they give clients for the successful use of social media. First and foremost is building a compelling and complete profile. Then it's time to build a relevant network of people you actually know who would return a call from you, for example.
After making those connections, the primary objective should be to engage your network with valuable content. At least half of the content shared should not be about you, they advise.
"I think the biggest mistake people make on social is social narcissism, just talking about themselves nonstop," says Idinopulos. "It's just like any social interaction. People are not interested in people who only talk about themselves. Just don't try to dominate the conversation and make it all about you."
These opportunities are made possible by a fundamental change: Professional marketers are no longer the only professionals with access to business marketing tools, he says.