The other day, I was browsing through LinkedIn (something I do at least once a day, for various reasons). I came upon this post from Dustin McKisson, vice president at something called First Resource.
It’s a familiar story.
Person starts publishing on LinkedIn out of curiousity. Person published one story that nets thousands of hits. Ego is stroked. They publish more. And more. Until, they are basically blogging on LinkedIn, as I like to call it.
And, most importantly, these folks who are publishing on LinkedIn are seeing real business opportunities, as a result.
Sure, there’s no direct line of sight to ROI. There’s no links to sign-up forms. No e-newsletter sub links. Nothing like that. After all, that’s what blogs are for, right?
But, I’ve heard this same story over and over again for the better part of the last 6-8 month.
I heard it from Shel Holtz the other day on our Talking Points Podcast. Shel made a great post in Feb. defending the internal/employee communications function. On his blog, the post had 7 comments, 29 likes, and 92 retweets. Not bad, but nothing crazy for a guy like Shel who’s been blogging for years and who is widely considered a thought leader in our industry.
Then, he cross-posted to LinkedIn. There, the post garnered 1,247 views, 126 likes and 24 comments. Not bad.
Again, this isn’t a new story.
So, why aren’t we seeing more company leaders using LinkedIn publishing as a tool to drive awareness and leads for organizations?
We’ve seen a few–notably a lot of “LinkedIn Influencers” (I blogged about this before).
And, after Target CMO Jeff Jones brilliantly used LinkedIn publishing to share the company’s perspective on a culture-issue last year, I really thought we’d see more.
But, we really haven’t.
And that perplexes me.
Clearly, LinkedIn publishing is a tool that holds great value and promise for people that use if often and well.
Clearly, it can lead to developing new relationships and nurturing existing ones (think: employees for company leaders).
Clearly, it can also lead to new business. After all, LinkedIn is still THE social network for the business world.
Yet still, many leaders aren’t publishing that often.
My hunch: Three factors are at play.
1: Time. Most company leaders simply don’t have the time. That’s legit. But, who said they have to write the posts? Corporate communicators have been penning memos and messages from company leaders for YEARS. How is this any different? I mean, what are the chances Jeff Jones wrote that message last year all on his own? (I’ll take that one–nil and none).
2: Skepticism. Despite the stories I hear, and the stats from LinkedIn, I still think leaders have a healthy dose of skepticism about the platform and tool. And, despite anecdotal claims that it can lead to business, I’m sure ROI is an issue. It’s hard to measure. Sure, I can look at those impression/like/comment stats. And those are great. But, is it going to move the business needle? That’s what leaders are probably wondering.
3: No/Limited LinkedIn profile. The sad reality is many corporate leaders (especially at the C-level) don’t even have a viable LinkedIn profile. Brian Cornell, new CEO at Target? No profile. Doug McMillion, CEO at Walmart? A ghost of a profile. Mark Fields, CEO at Ford Motor Company? No profile. Now, I know we’re talking about the biggest of the biggest companies, but you see similar results at lower levels. Pretty tough to publish on LinkedIn when you don’t even have a profile.
I’m hopeful we’ll see corporate leaders use LinkedIn publishing more in the year ahead. I continue to think there’s a HUGE opportunity here from a recruiting and retention. But, other opportunities exist from a business perspective. Think about Walmart’s recent news on wage increases. Wouldn’t that have been a perfect opportunity for Doug McMillon to share that news on LinkedIn (especially since they so deftly used a create integrated model to share that news)? It would have–if he had a LinkedIn profile. See #3 above.
Guess we have a ways to go…