The Power of Social Leaders
I truly believe that in a world of shifting trust and negative news broadcasts, it is the bright and constructive voices of individuals that will generate positive impact and engagement - not only for them as people but for their companies and all of society.
C-level Executives look at their time and attention as extremely finite resources. For them to consider investing effort in communicating online through their profiles, they need to understand the potential impact clearly.
This article will explore some aspects of that impact and discuss what is possible with one personal profile - no advertising, no high budget content production.
I'm very grateful to Marcel for sharing the latest research they've done into the power of executive voices on LinkedIn. It's also full of practical advice for leaders on how to create impact with their content.
There are some really interesting numbers in there to cover and some useful takeaways for any leaders still on the fence about becoming active online.
The C-Level Conversation on LinkedIn is Ramping Up
One of the best ways to foster continuous engagement online is to interact with peers - other people of similar industry, seniority or location. People that can relate to your stories or problems and provide a valuable perspective. For executives, that would often be other executives, either from the same company/industry or outside.
LinkedIn's report excerpt below already shows a promising number of executives globally who have joined the conversation.
I wanted to check how that number has evolved since the first 6 months of 2018, so I loaded up LinkedIn Sales Navigator. (which gives you the best search filters available on the platform)
I combined the following filters to try to replicate what they did:
Company Headcount: 5000+
Years of experience: 10+
Activity: Posted on LinkedIn in the Past 30 Days
The result is amazing - more than 50000 executives globally have made a post in the past 30 days! You can easily replicate this search for yourself if you have Sales Navigator.
Their levels of activity and post quality will vary of course, but they are active!
This leads us to our first main takeaway: If you are a leader joining the online conversation now, you will not be alone. You have many people of the same level you can exchange perspectives and insights with.
The Activity of Leaders Goes Far Beyond "Personal Branding"
If you are consistently and authentically engaging, you will have much more attention going to your profile, many connection requests and new followers. These are the more classic, "personal branding" metrics on the left of the excerpt below.
The numbers on the right imply a much broader impact on both internal and external talent. And these are in the report from LinkedIn because they could actually be measured. The feedback we get from the executives we work with is that they get online and offline reactions to their activity from all kinds of different stakeholders. Those cannot be easily quantified but they are extremely important.
The way we explain this phenomenon is using the visual below and our second key takeaway: through a strategic approach to online content and network management, you can engage each of your stakeholder groups in a constructive way.
Content, Like Many Things, is About Consistency
The number below might be a bit confusing at first glance. There's such a staggering difference between the average numbers and the "top performing" ones.
The thing to recognize is that not everyone is a master of content. And not everyone has a team dedicated to help them manage their executive profiles.
Most active executives we've analyzed try to do a bit - share posts from their company pages, engage with employees, etc. And that's already a great start! It can generate thousands of impressions and hundreds of positive engagements with their teams and networks.
Other leaders handle it differently:
They sit together with their teams to plan out content.
They document their thoughts, experiences and meetings to speed up content creation.
They convey their thoughts and perspective through storytelling and specific examples.
They focus on the "Why" rather than the "What".
Usually they don't manage all this alone - they get supported by people. And that's ok - they've realized the impact of their profiles transcends the individual and help the entire company and mission.
Through dedication to consistent and valuable content, they grow their audience and engagement. You don't hit almost 2 million impressions overnight - it's a journey.
LinkedIn published their 2018 Top Voices lists recently - in case you are curious to go deeper into what content worked for some of the most followed people in the world.
We've gone through the process of analyzing the content and engagement of each of the Top Voices. Let me know if you are curious to get a breakdown.
That leads us to our third and final takeaway: Take some time to really think about the topics you care about. Write about the "Why" rather than the "What". And don't be afraid to ask for help.