Opinion

Chris Reed on how people and companies should brand themselves on LinkedIn

Chris ReedDigital marketer Chris Reed has just left Mig33 where he was CMO to start his own LinkedIn marketing consultancy.

In this Q&A, Reed tells Mumbrella Asia editor Robin Hicks about the most common mistakes marketers make on LinkedIn, who has the best LinkedIn profiles in Asia, and why it’s important to be less English and more American in your approach to the business social network.

You’ve launched a consultancy that specialises in how individuals and companies should market themselves on LinkedIn. Why should a client go to you for advice when they can just ask LinkedIn themselves?

Most people need more than just advice. Most of my clients know what needs to be done, they just don’t have the time to do it.

They tend to be CEOs, MDs, COOs, CMOs of SMEs and MNCs and are high achievers running successful businesses. They simply don’t have the time to manage and develop their own LinkedIn profile on a daily or even weekly basis.

LinkedIn themselves are great at giving advice, I am constantly talking to them about new elements of the product and new things that I could be doing. But ultimately someone has to turn the advice into action, and that’s were we come in.

What in your view are the common mistakes people in the media and marketing industries in Asia make in their approach to LinkedIn?

Underestimating LinkedIn, assuming it’s just for talent searches and headhunters and not updating their profiles or adding visual content.

It’s a sales and marketing tool and when people use it properly they can reach anyone on LinkedIn for business. For such a visual industry, marketing and media people have been very slow in adding visual content to their summary and job sections of their profiles. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your work.

People also don’t invest time in developing their personal brand on LinkedIn when it’s so easy to do so, and they have worked so hard and achieved so much in their lives. Yet they are let down when it comes to how their personal brand is presented on LinkedIn because they haven’t updated their jobs or haven’t added content or don’t update or don’t post their own blogs, for example.

What’s the best piece on advice you could give someone from the media and marketing industry setting up a LinkedIn profile for the first time?

Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and what you have achieved, don’t be very English and be reserved, be more American and be open and confident with your achievements. You have worked hard for them and for your reputation – communicate that on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t hold back.

Use all the aspects of LinkedIn that they allow you to the max. Add visual content to your summary, it’s the most read section of a profile – add it to your job sections too.

Really make LinkedIn work for you, fill it up and see it as a constantly changing story that you’re adding chapters too. It’s dynamic, just as the business world is, so maximise all the potential opportunities of it for your benefit.

Also, your LinkedIn profile never sleeps in a global market and if you’re in Asia and working with multi-nationals or partners across the world, or you’re recruiting or hoping to be headhunted you need your LinkedIn personal profile to be positive, and assertively marketing your personal brand as well as your company brand every day. If you’re not, your competitors are.

Who do you think has the best LinkedIn profile in Asia, and why?

That’s a great question. I would obviously say that mine was up there in terms being a dynamic story that is constantly being updated, due to the number of connections I add and have, my content communication, presentation of my work and my content, general updates, the number of groups I engage with, my blogging content and general engagement, as that’s why I believe that I am in a good position to help other people. I practice what I preach.

Miguel Bernas

Miguel Bernas

Apart from that I would say that Damien Cummings [the former Samsung Asia regional marketing director, digital and social media] has a fantastic profile. Other great ones are Miguel Bernas at Singtel, Nicholas Kontopoulos from SAP, Hari Krishnan is leading by example at LinkedIn, as is Olivier Legrand, who is also setting a great example at LinkedIn.

But many others from big tech firms and big creative agencies have no content, no profile, no summary, no updates, no visual content and are really missing an opportunity.

What’s the most unusual LinkedIn profile you’ve ever come across and why?

That’s a very difficult question because LinkedIn pages have a set format which people can follow to the max or the bare minimum. But there’s little room for additional features that would make a page unusual or additional creativity. So the most unusual tend to be those who have used their creative and content interestingly or outstandingly.

This could be where people have a particularly interesting photo or intriguing slides or their descriptions are anti-conservative business and focus more on personality. They could also be those that really use their rich media to market what they do well.

We ran a piece last year on the most ridiculous LinkedIn profile pics within Asia’s creative community. What’s the silliest pic you’ve come across on LinkedIn?

Rob CampbellRob Campbell’s has to be the weirdest, but also funnily enough still on brand for him!

Do you think there’s a need for creative types to be wacky on LinkedIn to stand out?

No I don’t think it’s the place for it. I think your professional reputation, experience and work should speak for you.

If what you have produced is funny, creative, interesting, thought provoking and outlandish then that resonates with your personality and your profession if it demands it and can be presented as such.

You can be witty in your summary if that is the personal brand that you are selling and your rich media can also communicate humour and many discussions about campaigns can end up being very funny.

However I think it’s very hard to be “wacky” and then still expect to be taken seriously in business on LinkedIn. Let your personality shine through by all means, but this is your future, your career, your sale at stake. So you have to ask yourself: how are other people are going to perceive this “wackiness” and will it help your in your business objectives?

Ultimately what you have done and what you can do for someone speaks louder than anything else.

You are the most prolific poster on LinkedIn I’ve ever known. But don’t you think there’s a danger that, if you post so often, you’ll be seen as spammy?

No, because people have the choice to stop connecting with me or switch off the feed. I get emails every day from people who say that they love my news feed and find it interesting. It becomes their business news updates a bit like The Pulse/LinkedIn Today is just from a different perspective.

I am always very careful not to just promote either my business or me, and most of my posts are relevant and interesting business articles that have nothing to do with me. Of course I promote my blogs through my network, but that again they are based on relevant and interesting business topics. I think that my network finds the posts interesting and can help them in their daily business lives or just find them revealing and something that they may not have seen for themselves. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. The fact that people tell me all the time they like it and to keep on posting tells me that it’s a positive thing.

Also, you have to remember that most people don’t use LinkedIn every hour, every day, so they will only see a fraction of anyone’s posts. As your network grows, ironically you also see less posts from individuals as more people are posting. Therefore by necessity if you want to create awareness for your content or promote your services you need to be more creative and post more but at different times to catch people’s attention.

LinkedIn is popular but not perfect. What do you think it could do to improve the platform, particularly with the media and marketing industries in mind?

Well, I think they should reinstate people’s updates on their profiles for other people to see which they’re phasing out. This was great as it really told other LinkedIn users 1) how active someone is, and 2) more about their business personality, which you can really get from a series of profile specific updates.

Apart from that I think that the Company Pages need more work.

You should be able to create additional features or apps for your company page which help demonstrates a company’s brand and work or creates a call to action as with Facebook.

You should also be able to send inmails from your company page for example, and people should be able to contact someone on the company page automatically. There should be a ‘contact us’ tab for each company page.

I also think that the analytics on the company page are fantastic and you should be able to have that on your personal page too. They’re getting better, allowing you to see page impressions for updates, but no where near the detail of the updates on the company page.

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