“Especially in B2B environments, executive branding is now considered a necessity” — Steve Olenski & Kent Huffman, Forbes
The effects of COVID-19 on the world of marketing have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Many trends that were already in motion have sped up – video conferencing and e-commerce being the two most obvious examples.
Executive personal branding on LinkedIn is another strong example. While LinkedIn has long been popular with business decision makers, it quickly became the primary driver of many executives’ communications during lockdown.
The timing for this trend also coincided with the policies of the platform. LinkedIn’s algorithm was already favoring content produced by individuals over business account content, but the need to communicate when working from home was what truly propelled Executive Branding forward.
According to a recently released report, 56% of professionals are positively influenced to make purchasing decisions by a business executive’s personal presence on social media. The same report found that 66% of professionals would be more likely to recommend a company if they followed one of their executives on social media.
So, how can you take advantage of these favorable conditions and position yourself as an expert thought leader?
LinkedIn recently published a guide to using thought leadership as a point of differentiation on their platform. Thought leadership, when done properly, positions you as an expert guide in your field, offering advice and specialist insight to clients and potential clients alike. LinkedIn presents four archetypal personas that are common on the platform, yet all share a common thread: storytelling through thought leadership.
Storytelling through LinkedIn involves clearly identifying your target audience, then creating content designed to take them on a journey with you as their guide. Educate, inform and entertain your audience with industry insights while providing a window into your working culture and values.
There are many ways to measure the success of your Executive Branding efforts. An obvious metric is the number of relevant connections you have. One of the primary benefits of a personal account over a business account on LinkedIn is that you are able to connect directly with your target audience, which you can filter by job title, industry and location.
Ideally, you’ll be adding a few hundred new connections each month, each one fitting the precise demographic of your perfect customer.
Over the long term, when done right, increased sales and qualified enquiries are the inevitable result of positioning yourself as your industry’s preeminent thought leader in the eyes of your target audience.
As for more short term metrics, LinkedIn recommends prioritizing quality engagement over the quantity of engagement. That means comments over likes, as well as qualitative feedback over the number of views of a given post.
When clients and colleagues both show appreciation for your personalized LinkedIn content, that’s when you’ll really know you are delivering the right message to the right audience. However, a strategy is needed to ensure long-term consistency and quality.
At Lexicon, we manage executive personal branding for many of Thailand’s leading executives. If you would like to be positioned as your industry’s thought leader, get in touch.