A man walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I loved that article you shared on your LinkedIn.” The man has nothing to say: he didn’t read it, he didn’t write it, and he certainly didn’t share it.

So how did this mystery article get in front of this highly respected leader’s connections? Was his profile hacked? No, he simply decided that his profile and his connections weren’t worth his time.

While most senior professionals have accepted that building their personal brand online has many benefits alongside more traditional networking, some are still grappling with how to find the time and develop the skills needed to effectively manage their profiles with their connections top-of-mind.

So what’s the solution?

Some have taken the perspective that their professional social media presence can be delegated to someone else in the office who has the time and digital skill to manage it for them, often a more junior team member. While this might be a great solution in the short term, what happens when that person moves on? Or has their own growing profile to manage? You wouldn’t delegate a conversation with an important contact at a networking event in this way, so how can it be appropriate in a digital environment?

I know of one business that linked the LinkedIn profiles of every professional who worked for the company with the corporate account. They automatically shared everything from the corporate account to the personal accounts of their people. Sounds good so far, right? Takes all the time and effort out of having an active LinkedIn profile? Correct, but it also takes all the value out of the content appearing in the news feed of your connections. Imagine being connected to a few people from this same organisation and flooded with the same content every time something was posted by their digital marketing team to their LinkedIn company page. Annoying! You’d soon make a mental note to skip over anything they shared – they’re obviously automated and probably not relevant to you.

I’m sure this business isn’t alone and you may be tempted to follow a similar path, but there are many benefits to managing and growing your own personal brand online, here are just four:

  1. You’re in complete control. You’re not relying on someone else to post on your behalf and you can be 100% sure that you stand behind any comments posted in your name.
  2. You’re able to use the time you invest in growing your professional brand and network on LinkedIn to stay abreast of current events in your industry – you need to spend the time reading anyway, so why not share our insights and opinions with your network.
  3. You will better understand what’s important to your connections. You’ll see what they’re sharing and interacting with and be able to tailor future content to their interests.
  4. You will be able to build better relationships in the real world, supplemented by ongoing interaction in the digital world.

The skill-gap is often a real stumbling block, but there is help available. Many businesses are now investing in mentoring-style arrangements where more digitally-savvy team members help to build the digital skills of their leaders. If you’re in a small organisation or don’t have access to this kind of support and would like some assistance to ‘pimp your profile’ and share relevant content with your connections, I can help – contact me today.

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