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Why aren’t more company leaders publishing on LinkedIn?

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.

LinkedIn Leader

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…

Talking Points Podcast: A Conversation with Shel Holtz

In this week’s edition of the Talking Points Podcast, Kevin and I had the distinct pleasure to sit down with a PR podcasting legend: Shel Holtz. We talked a bit about Shel’s work, the surge in podcasting recently, and his recent post that discussed the widening skills gap in the PR industry in terms of digital/social chops.


SHOW NOTES – March 5, 2015

Shel Holtz


For Immediate Release podcast


“The Infinite Dial 2015″


“Podcasts: Next Frontier for PR”


“Paucity of digital/social skill at senior PR levels is a threat to the industry”


“The case for internal communications”


4 Employer Brands that Get Social Media Marketing

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about why so many Employer Brands continue to struggle with social media.

As I researched these Employer Brands, I noticed a number of brands (big brands, mind you) making some fairly common missteps when it came to how they used social media.

My friend, and recruiter by trade, Paul DeBettignies, brought up some really good points around “why” this is happening in the comments of that post.

Paul said:

“Recruiting tends to be under HR and not Marketing. Regardless it does not usually have a direct like to the C Suite.” (Good point)

“HR tends to be an entry level point to a company. (Another great point; junior-level folks are most likely running these accounts with minimal, if any, oversight).

“Recruiting is not a degree program.” (So, not only are junior folks running these accounts, they may be junior people with no college degree and junior people with varied backgrounds that aren’t in HR).

“Most marketers do not get that recruiting is an actual two way conversation.” (And, even when marketers ARE involved, they’re looking at social from one-way push mentality; I have to agree with Paul here, too)

But, even with those drawbacks, there are a number of brands doing interesting and productive things with social media. I thought we might take a closer look at those brands today.



PwC is one of the very accounting firms–and actually, organizations in general–to have an Employer Brand-focused Instagram account. Makes sense as a channel though, right? Younger people are there–and that’s a key audience for accounting firms. But, I liked a lot of what PwC was doing on Instagram. They include a heavy dose of employee/culture-focused photos, but also play on popular internet memes in a relevant way–like taking advantage of historic PwC pics as part of #ThrowbackThursday.


Even though they stuck a URL in the caption (um, you can’t click on those PwC–you know that, right?), I like this mini-campaign. Great way to put a face on a sustainability program and make it a recruiting tool. Taking a page out of Marriott’s playbook, if you remember their recruiting effort on Instagram a while back.


Microsoft 1

OK, so sure, not everyone company has the luxury Microsoft has here. Not every company has employees posting pics to Instagram of their experience at work. In fact, I would probably argue very few do. But, that doesn’t mean Microsoft shouldn’t do it. And, I love that they are. Sure, they post their own pics from time to time on IG. But, they consistently regram employee pics when appropriate. Excellent way to demonstrate employee engagement–and show how Microsoft is a great place to work (in an employee’s own words–and pics).

Microsoft 2

Love how Microsoft is providing value to job-seekers with this easy “service.” All they’re really doing is aggregating the best (read: most sought-after/urgent positions, most likely) jobs across the company, throwing them on a blog/site and positioning it as “Hot Jobs” via social. Simple, but brilliant because it makes life easier for job seekers, and it also put the top jobs Microsoft probably needs to hire for more than others at the top of the list.


Walmart 1

Employee pride should almost be a key part of any Employer Brand effort on social. After all, employees probably make up a decent chunk of your fans/followers on any social network. So, why not play to that employee pride once in a while? It will help spark employee engagement–and show how prideful and happy your employees are, as a result. Who doesn’t want to work for a company like that? Walmart did this well in this Instagram/Facebook post featuring it’s employees on Black Friday.


General Electric

GE 1

One last really good idea–and example–from GE. Up top, I talked about how employees probably make up a decent chunk of your fans/followers on social media. I’m guessing that’s true for most brands. So, why wouldn’t you address them publicly in a post every now and then? I love what GE did with this post, specifically asking its engineers what they would add to this list. As you can see from the comments, a number of employees weighed in. Doesn’t that look good for GE? Think if a prospective employee sees and read this post. Don’t they feel good about the fact that so many employees (and others, of course) chimed in on the post? Doesn’t that employee engagement signal that those employees are happy and in tune with what’s happening in the industry and with the company? I tend to think so.


What will PR technology look like in 2025?

A few weeks ago, the MN PRSA folks asked me to present at the local APR study session on “technology.” It’s always a fun thing for me to do since once upon a time I was APR certified (different story for a different day).

I love going back and 1) Giving back to the an organization that gave me so much over the years, and 2) Seeing who is going through the APR process.

I’m not sure I’m the right person to talk about “technology”, but I guess given my business and its connection points with digital marketing, I may know enough to be dangerous.

In my presentation, I tried to set things up by taking a look back at where we’ve come from when it comes to tech in PR.

Just look at what PR tech looked like in 1985:


Everyone remembers where they were when they got their first word processor, right?

In 1995, technology looked like this in the PR world:

Apple Computer 1995

The Mac Classic is one of the computers I grew up with. This model was actually on the scene earlier than 1995, but it gives you a good sense for what tech was like 20 years ago.

Now, what about 2005?

YouTube 2005

This is what YouTube looked like just 10 years ago. THIS! Can you imagine?

Or, think about what cell technology looked like 10 years ago…

2005 phones

What does PR tech look like today? We now have access to technology like smart watches:

Apple Watch

And, virtual reality, which was laughable 10 years ago:

Oculus Rift

Pretty crazy to see how far we’ve come in the last 30 years, huh? From word processors to virtual reality that is so damn real it actually makes you sick.

Where will tech be in another 10 years? That’s the question you hear most often. And, it’s the one everyone wants an answer to.

While I’m no technologist, I think it’s fun to take a peek at the future from time to time. After all, who could predict that Facebook would become an essential took for PR pros in 2005? Or, that you would be able to produce entire brand videos right from your smart phone?

Safe to say, technology can amaze us, and exceed our wildest expectations fairly easily.

So, predicting what will happen in another 10 years in 2025 is next to impossible.

But, I’ll take a shot :)

Wearables will completely transform the way we tell stories

From the get-go I was a pretty big Google Glass doubter. It just seemed too early. The hardware was too geeky (and offensive in some cases; you remember “glassholes”, right?). And the software needed fine-tuning (if you ever tried one on, you know what I’m talking about). But, the second, third and fourth generations of such wearables will improve. And, when they do, they’re going to start to completely change the way we tell stories. You saw a glimpse of it with Victor Oladipo at the NBA Draft last year. My feeling is we’ll see much more of that by 2025 as wearable tech gets better, and people start to open up a bit more to the possibilities.

Facebook won’t exist, but social media will still be key to PR success

It feels like we’re almost at a tipping point with Facebook. I know the stock price is crushing. I know user numbers continue to grow. I know it continues to be the dominant platform in social media marketing. I know all that. But, I just can’t shake this feeling that Facebook will take a big plunge in the next five years. And, when it does, it’s going to take a BIG plunge–like a MySpace-like plunge. It’ll fall completely off the radar. Remember, for as fast as tech can enter our lives, it can leave our lives even faster. Case in point: Blackberry (remember when Blackberry was THE mobile phone a while back? Look at them now). But, when Facebook falls off, social media won’t go with it. Social media and its landscape will merely shift. Another platform will step in. Another tool will shape our experiences. I have no earthly idea what that platform or tool will be, but I guess the idea here is to keep paying attention. Because when the landscape shifts, it is going to SHIFT. Big time.

Virtual reality will become a key PR tool (but only in spots)

Look, I’m no virtual reality bobo. And, I’m not an expert either. I’ve really only tried it a couple times (including Oculus Rift at a MIMA event last year, which was downright incredible). But, I do know two things: 1) Right now, motion sickness is the biggest issue to mass adoption, and 2) It’s still pretty expensive for a headset (save the Google Cardboard option) and fairly futuristic in the minds of *most* people. So, VR has to fix #1 ASAP. And, they will. And, they need to win folks over in #2 (and they will), and bring the prices down (which they also will). Given all those issues are addressed, VR will become a key tool for PR folks in 2025. Heck, it’s already happening in very niche spots (check out what the folks at space150 and Victory Motorcycles did with VR at a recent trade show–pretty effing cool, and the only way I’d EVER ride a motorcycle!). VR is coming folks. So, start thinking of how you can use it NOW.

Video technology will render conference calls useless

The funny thing is we’re already there with the technology. You may have heard of it–Google Hangouts. But, many organizations (big and small) need easy video conferencing that can exist behind a super firewall where employees can discuss proprietary information. That’s the key. And, I think it will eventually happen. It HAS to happen, right? I mean, for those who have been on an audio con call (OK, that’s everyone, right?), you know how frustrating a audio con call with 5 or more people can be. People talking over one another. Awkward silence. The inability to read body language. And, we HAVE the technology NOW. We’re just not far enough along yet. But, it’s coming. And when it does, it’ll put an end to my taking conference calls in my sweat pants and Homer Simpson slippers :)

The fall of content marketing tech

Content is king. Right now. But, what about five years from now? Will companies still be investing millions in content marketing? Or, will we be knee deep in what Mark Schaefer refers to as the “content shock?” I tend to fall closer to the latter. And, when that happens, all these content marketing tech companies are going to dry up pretty quickly. I get it–content marketing operations like Scripted have their place. You need fast, cheap content. You hire it out at a lower price. Makes sense. But, it only makes sense in the current content marketing arms race culture. When that goes away (and, I tend to believe it will), the companies that support it go away, too. And, we largely go back to employees within organizations developing good, quality content. The way it really should be.

Twin Cities PR This Week – March 2

I was out of town late last week, so I’m getting this to you all a day late. But, as usual there’s been a lot going on here in the Twin Cities the last couple weeks.

See below for the full list of comings, goings, promotions, events and open jobs.

Fenced In, Part 3


Congrats to Derrick Shields who was recently appointed as vice president on the MIMA board.

Also: Congrats to Aimee Reker for accepting the position as Treasurer on the MIMA board of directors.

Karen Seal, formerly the manager of health and wellness communications at General Mills is now client relationship manager-Creative Services.

Laura Krinke, former account executive was recently promoted to senior account executive at PadillaCRT.

Kendall Bird, former online community specialist, was recently promoted to associate social media manager at Collegis Education.


Join me next Tuesday as MN PRSA and Macccabee PR host “Content Marketing for Communicators.” Register here: http://www.mnprsa.com/content-marketing-communicators/

Great non-industry event–the next Ignite Minneapolis will take place on April 23. But, the Ignite folks are taking talk submissions through March 15. Got what it takes? http://www.ignitempls.org/


Thomson Reuters is seeking a director-technology communications at its Eagan campus: https://toc.taleo.net/careersection/2/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=JREQ036722

The Catholic Community Foundation is seeking a strategic director of communications: http://www.ccf-mn.org/uploads/ccf_dir_of_strat_comms_final_2_17_2015.pdf

Work for the Fair! The Minnesota State Fair is seeking a marketing and communications specialist: http://www.mnprsa.com/marketing-communications-specialist-minnesota-state-fair/

Dream of teaching? University of St. Thomas is looking for a full-time PR instructor: http://www.mnprsa.com/clinical-instructor-strategic-communication-university-st-thomas/

Thrivent Financial is seeking a digital marketing specialist: https://www.mima.org/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=275337