The Opportunity Cost of Not Having an Executive LinkedIn Profile

June 28, 2019

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Today executives are challenged more than ever before to keep pace with the ever-evolving workplace. Digital transformation, the gig economy and the rise of the next gen workforce are more than just buzzwords – they’re proof points that the business world is radically and rapidly changing all around us.

According to a recent eMarketer report, US digital ad spending is expected to reach $129.34 billion in 2019, accounting for more than half (54.2%) of total media ad spending for the first time ever. While companies are spending more on digital and social media to generate awareness, drive brand preference, manage their reputation and grow their business, their leaders are notably absent from the game.

While 54% of Fortune 500 CEOs have at least some presence on social media, that means that 46% have no social presence whatsoever.

Time and attention are among our most precious resources – particularly for executives, and engaging on social media requires an investment in both. But when executed properly, that investment can yield big dividends – both for leaders and for the company. If you’re an executive and you’re not actively engaged on LinkedIn, here’s what you’re sacrificing:

  1. Share of voice. Chances are your competitors are leveraging LinkedIn to elevate their leaders and communicate their vision, mission and values. If you’re not a part of the conversation, you’re not in the consideration set of your potential customers.
  2. Relationships. For many years LinkedIn was (rightly) perceived as little more than a place for your online resume and rolodex. Today, LinkedIn is the number one social network for business professionals. By publishing content and engaging in an authentic and human way, you’re earning credibility and favorability with the stakeholders that matter most to you.
  3. Speaking engagements. If you want to be considered for a speaking opportunity or keynote address at a top-tier industry conference or event, you’re hurting your chances by not having an effective LinkedIn profile. Conference organizers are looking at everything from videos of previous speaking engagements to social media profiles when evaluating who to book for their events.
  4. Media coverage. Google is often the first place that reporters (or anyone else for that matter) turn to for information about a company and its executives. When you Google yourself, what appears above the fold? For those with effective LinkedIn profiles, this typically appears among the top search results.
  5. Employee morale. Employees nowadays expect their leaders to be effective communicators. According to Dynamic Signal’s 2019 State of Employee Communication and Engagement Study, 60 percent of employees report that they wouldn’t confidently advise keeping their CEO because of the poor company communication they’ve experienced.
  6. Thought leadership. True thought leadership is achieved by articulating a clear and unique point of view that challenges the status quo and puts a stake in the ground. LinkedIn gives everyone the opportunity to essentially have their own blog without the constant pressure to publish. Bring your passion, priorities and perspectives to life by publishing articles on the platform.
  7. Business growth. Ultimately, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. Whether you’re in talent development, sales or in the C-suite, the most successful professionals focus on the needs, wants and beliefs of your audiences.

Becoming a trusted and effective leader requires a lot more than just an effective LinkedIn profile. Research from our FleishmanHillard Navigating Zero Gravity Report affirms that it isn’t enough for the CEO to say something in order to establish and maintain credibility. However, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to engage in dialogue and reinforce how you are addressing and advancing the issues that matter most to you, your company and your key stakeholders.

By dedicating just two percent of your time (one hour during a 50 hour work week) to building your personal brand on LinkedIn, you can generate a meaningful and measurable return on your investment.