Saturday, March 22, 2014

Are CEOs exempt from participating on LinkedIn, part 2 (The Waldo Factor, part 25)

"The most important thing is to forecast where the customers are moving and be in front of them."  Philip Kotler

Last September I posed the question "are CEOs exempt from participating on LinkedIn" and I'd like to revisit that and answer the question -

The simple, direct answer is no.

At this point, no one can successfully dispute the fact that LinkedIn has integrated itself into not only the B2G market, but the entire business landscape. This is not to say that some won't try to dispute this, but arguing against using LinkedIn more fully across your company is simply not defensible. 

The market is here,
your competitors are here, 
your customers and prospects are here, 
and if you have a minimal presence you will lose marketshare.

In my 29 years as a B2G marketing consultant, I have never seen or envisioned a platform as robust as this: 

- a marketing tool that can be used for sales and business development support; 

- a platform for positioning you or your company as a subject matter expert or thought leader; 

- a mechanism that allows you to grow, manage and communicate a targeted network of business professionals; 

- a lead generation and appointment making machine; 

all this and more.

In the September blog post I pointed that some executives still ignore LinkedIn, have minimalist profiles or have someone else manage their social networking. Each of these is dangerous and short-sighted.

Executives have a definite role on LinkedIn, different than that of their sales, marketing, BD and HR people - all of whom need to be active on LinkedIn and encouraged by executives to use it well.

The role of the executive in social networking is to look and act like a leader, to showcase what your company offers and the quality of leadership that company has in your market. A bad profile and little or no legitimate activity diminishes your role in the market.

A minimalist profile shows a lack of respect for the market as if you are assuming they know who you are and what your company does. This is dangerous ground to tread.

LinkedIn is the ideal platform so showcase your company and your role at the company. As you leverage LinkedIn to display areas of expertise, not only can you solidify your position with companies and agencies that you already have relationships with, you can develop relationships with other executives and federal managers who may require what your company brings to the table.

You can do this online and for minimal expense.

This is not a plea to get you active. It is a shot across the bow of your ship, warning you that if my clients are your competitors, prepare to lose customers.

To paraphrase Philip Kotler, "LinkedIn will create the winner(s) and bury the laggards."