It’s time to step away from the countless social media webinars for a minute and face reality: professionals already know how to create a LinkedIn profile.

They recognize what constitutes an appropriate headshot, and they understand the language to use when describing their experience and goals. So why does it seem like most resources only offer direction on these areas? What about actually using the site?

What people really want to know is the “how.” How can my company use this profile to build brand? How do we increase our influence using this platform? How do we use this to generate leads?

While every campaign will be different, there are several key pieces of advice to consider when incorporating LinkedIn into a strategic communication plan. In order to be successful, there are three components to recognize: the expectations and goals for using this platform, the resources provided by LinkedIn and how to leverage them, and the necessary time needed to implement and fuel this campaign.

In the first part of this 3-part series, we will move beyond decoding the best header for your profile and look at how companies can use LinkedIn to see real results by setting realistic goals and strategies.

Map Out the Finish Line

GRAND BARA DESERT, Djibouti (Dec. 8, 2011) A runner sprints for the finish line during the 29th annual Grand Bara 15K race in the Grand Bara Desert, Djibouti. More than 250 members from the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa and Camp Lemonnier competed in the race. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Before spokespeople and brand advocates start posting and sharing any content, it is necessary to establish short and long-term goals expected from using the platform. Are you looking to increase brand visibility? Use the site as a recruiting tool? Or, leverage content for a way to establish thought leaders and company spokespeople?

Ideally, a comprehensive social media campaign will include elements of all the above, but setting a clear end goal that can be tracked and measured will keep your campaign focused. LinkedIn makes this easy by providing clear metrics that show the level of engagement, follower count and impressions – among others. After reviewing LinkedIn’s analysis, it will become apparent the kinds of content resonating most with the community and how many followers each post brought in. Using this intel to continuously tailor content will allow you to expand online reach and influence.

Lastly, it is important to remain realistic about the goals being put in place. Most people will not become a LinkedIn Top Influencer overnight – or even at all. (This coveted feature is operated as an invite-only process, and only so many people are handed an invite.) Remember, realistic goals will allow for a more streamlined and effective campaign – and keep social media teams from collapsing under the weight of unrealistic expectations.

Stay tuned – in the second part of this series, we will be discussing the big “networking gala” that is LinkedIn and tips to gaining visibility on the platform.


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RH Strategic is the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated traditional, digital & social media strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets.