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I love marketing people. I am connected to more than 390 marketing professionals and most of them I know reasonably well. I appreciate their skills, perspective, knowledge and creativity. They are often the person in the company to inquire about LinkedIn training, coaching or consulting. They are usually in the know and are among the most connected in the company.
I say this because I don’t want this post to be misconstrued. I am not throwing marketers under the bus in this post. Rather, I’d like to call out how silly it is that they are expected to be specialists in EVERYTHING that comes their way. And this is especially true of technology, CRMs, metrics and online platforms that are always changing their feature set, rules, and the need for specific strategies and well thought out tactics.
They are responsible for so much. And, it must seem to most marketers that if there is a project, conversation or task that doesn’t clearly fall under HR, operations, or finance it must head over to marketing. Their inbox is a burgeoning mess, their desks cluttered and their minds swirling.
So when someone who I had a conversation with in order to discuss LinkedIn later called me to say that he actually had a marketing person who “really knows it well” and didn’t need to talk any longer, a couple of thoughts came to mind.
First and foremost, “if that person has been available to you before today, why haven’t you or they written your LinkedIn profile or shown you how to use it properly?”
Take a few minutes and ask them some of these questions:
- How well do they actually know and use LinkedIn?
- Do they consider LinkedIn social media? (btw…we don’t)
- What does their LinkedIn profile look like? Anemic or well thought out and well written?
- How do they use LinkedIn to build their own brand, leverage their network and share their professional expertise? (yes, that’s a three in one question)
- What is their plan for sharing the marketing and employment branding message of your organization?
- How have they helped your colleagues?
- How have they helped to install a LinkedIn mindset within the organization?
- How have they organized original and curated content for your use?
- Ask them to explain social selling to you.
- Ask them to share how you might better use LinkedIn for your own branding and selling plan.
- If you are in a different office than they are, how will they support you?
- Have they created any documented resources for you to use?
- Does your company have guidelines for how they should be using LinkedIn?
Consider their answers and if they can provide specific answers to these questions with anecdotes, both qualitative and quantitative, then consider working with them.
Choosing the Right LinkedIn Strategy Resource
In 2012 I wrote a blog post on choosing the right LinkedIn trainer, consider the points in that post, they are still valid.
You see, to us it’s less about the mechanics and more about what you convey, who you are and why you want to use LinkedIn. It’s about building and developing your best professional self so others can find and vet you and your company and make an informed decision about whether or not they should Connect with you, even if you are a colleague, client or vendor.
Two of our clients were named among the top 125 companies in the country who excelled at employee development in 2014. Both of these companies have marketing and learning and development departments and the professionals in these areas are among the best and most knowledgeable. And yet, they engage outside consultants who are specialists because they recognize they can’t possibly know enough these days.
The days of “our intern”, “our marketing person” or our “social media guru” knows it all, is over (if it ever existed). The notion that they will be able to take LinkedIn on is foolish and bodes trouble if you and your company are serious about moving from a novice to proficient and beyond.
If you have a rock star marketing person who gets that LinkedIn is not social media, is intentional and strategic with how they use LinkedIn and if they actually recognize each platform’s intent and potential, you may be in good shape. If they infer or say, “LinkedIn…hmmm, it’s like Facebook for adults,” run fast.
By the way, the questions above are often the same questions that prospects ask us. Likewise, we qualify our conversations with many of these questions. Not all of them though, we don’t have to. We can often answer most of them by what we see on LinkedIn.
Marketers are overwhelmed and under resourced or so the studies say.