General It’s time to get serious – LinkedIn – the professional network June 2, 20145 minutes Erik Eskedal LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. You can’t choose if you want a presence there or not. But the network is a very good tool for recruiting and to show of your product and service. So it’s time to get serious. You don’t have a choice – you have a presence already When it comes to social media, you have a choice; do we want to be a part of it? Do we want to open a channel so that we can interact with our customers and markets? On LinkedIn you don’t have a choice. You already have a presence, but do you use it and do you know how to use LinkedIn as a company? Its professional LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 300 million users worldwide. It’s not just a network of CV for people in the IT and oil industry. It is a thriving network where people interact, share information, does research, and find new jobs and new employees. People are looking at people on LinkedIn, and when they look at your employees, what do they se about your company. Many LinkedIn users want to know more about the company that people in their network works at. How do you present yourself, what do you share and how are you working in regards to attract people to work for your company. Recruiting is an always ongoing process One of your key people in your organization has just left notice that she is leaving the company. Most companies react with a ”what now?” attitude. The will spend some time to figure out what to do with the position, how can we replace this person and how can we get someone fast? What if you had a pool of people, who you knew would like to work for your company, in stead starting at scratch every time you need a new position filled? With LinkedIn you can work with your employer brand, your companies reputation as a place to work. 80% av all working people are passive in regards to looking for new jobs, they are not out there applying for vacant positions, but they might be willing to speak to the right company if they call. The time where you could put out an ad telling that you are hiring and expecting the best people to apply is over. Today it is all about making the company attractive for the possible employees, not the other way around. So you have to make your company attractive as an employer, all the time, and not only when you are in desperate need to fill a position. Constantly working with your employer brand helps you keep people interested in your company, since recruiting is an always-ongoing process. It’s about the employees Employer branding is all about your employees, sales to. All your employees are potential marketers for your company, its products and its employer brand. They are the living proof of the company. Without your employees, your company is worth nothing. All employees in your company is the proof of your capabilities and competence. By empowering all your employees to have a professional presence on LinkedIn, your company’s presence will also become more professional. Since the employees are the proof of the company’s capabilities, you need to let your employees proof that they have the skills, experience and competence to solve your customers problems. By posting good content that shows the company’s ability to solve customer problems, showcasing the people behind the logo, and their skills will result in internal pride in sharing that content, using the employees as ambassadors and marketers for your brand. Showcase your brand, products and employees LinkedIn is THE channel to showcase your company. With more than 300 million users worldwide, the reach is great. In Norway we have seen an explosive growth in users with nearly 1 million users added to the network the last 14 months. That’s over 2000 new users EVERY DAY. The growth is nearly similar in other countries as well. All these people are potential buyers of your products or a future employee. Many companies solemnly rely on LinkedIn as their recruiting channel, and more and more companies and people see the value in LinkedIn as a sales and marketing channel. With Company pages, you can showcase your brand and products, employer brand and your employees. LinkedIn has just removed the product and services tabs on the company page, but with the new feature Showcase Pages, you can have subpages in regards to products or sub brands, so that people can follow things of their interest. And you have to possibility to share stories, insights and engage the followers in specific topics of their interest. But are you using this possibility? People want to hear from you Because people want to hear from you. Time and time again I see that companies have many followers, but haven’t said or done anything in this channel. One company, in the oil industry, had a strong need for many engineers and spent lots of money on traditional ads to recruit new hires, but they ignored the fact that their LinkedIn company page had over 100 000 followers from all around the world. These people, who all wanted information about the company, did not get anything. How much money and effort do a company need to spend to get access to 100 000 inboxes? How many followers have your company, what do you want to communicate to them. Make that plan and use this channel which is there and where people want to have an professional interaction with you, and your employees. So, its time to get serious. Get serious about your and your employees professional presence, and use LinkedIn to get your information out there, where the professional people are.