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Today's presidents and C-suite executives are faced with a harsh reality: They must decide whether to participate in social media or be left behind. Their competitors are more forward-thinking and are controlling their own messages while being viewed regularly on the Web. In addition, the competition recognizes the importance of presenting themselves in the most positive light via platforms designed to enhance their personal brands.

LinkedIn is dedicated to executives seeking to conduct business with other businesses and individuals. It's a marketing tool, a branding tool, a content-rich tool, a talent acquisition tool and a prospecting tool.

With over 310 million members and growing (two new members join per second), LinkedIn currently houses over 3 million company pages and 2 million groups. It's currently the go-to tool for 95 percent of all recruiters. According to Hubspot, as a lead generator it is 277 percent more effective than Facebook or Twitter.
So why should presidents and C-suite executives be actively immersed in LinkedIn?

Your Professional Digital Profile and Portfolio

Every president and C-suite executive should Google his or her name. With a LinkedIn account, their profile page will likely be in the top three search results. Companies and individuals seeking to conduct business with your company routinely seek to gain insight into the person at the top of the organization. Your profile should be optimized and creatively written to depict you in the most positive manner, while providing insight into you as an individual and businessperson. Make yourself approachable.
Add valuable content to your profile in the form of presentations, videos, documents, articles and photos. This enhances your opportunities for being discovered for collaborative opportunities, speaking engagements or talent acquisition.

Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader and Industry Expert

LinkedIn Publisher provides you with the opportunity to present yourself as a knowledgeable expert in your industry by allowing you to post articles and original stories. Pulse is the LinkedIn portal that permits you to see what's trending among professionals worldwide. By personalizing your feed from a variety of channels and influencers, you are able to select from news and professional content that you can easily share with everyone in your network and groups.

Your Presence Encourages Your Employees to Participate

By virtue of you setting the example, you are stating that your employees should be actively promoting your company on LinkedIn. Whether they see you posting content, participating in strategic groups, following companies or simply "being there" your actions are speaking volumes.

You should connect with your team, key customers, strategic partners and industry influencers. Encourage them to cross-connect. Collectively, their networks will easily range into the millions. Think of it as one large networking event within your organization where everyone has access to each other's connections for new business development.

You Will Find A-List Prospective Employees

If you are looking for new talent, LinkedIn allows you to find A-list 'passive' candidates. Top contenders are not always looking; it is likely that they are currently employed. Some of your finest potential employees can be found on LinkedIn through referrals from the connections that you and your current employees trust. Once you have identified the specific skills and experience needed for the position you have available, you have the ability to conduct a free search to narrow down the possibilities.
After you have found several top candidates, you are able to check their references and recommendations before you decide to invest the time to interview them. Then you can contact them and engage these 'warm leads' by asking them if they are interested in a possible career move.

You Will Gather Competitive Intelligence

Two key areas to stay current with your competition and gain industry insight are groups and company pages. Both can be invaluable resources to uncover up-to-the-minute company announcements.

Monitoring or participating in groups will expose you to trending subjects and developing strategic partnerships. Join groups related to your industry, geography, alumni or personal interests.

Following companies will provide you with competitive intelligence as it is posted.

Engage with companies of interest both competitively and for future collaborations.

Whether you conduct business locally, regionally, nationally or globally, it is imperative that presidents and C-suite executives in general participate in the largest professional networking site in the world.

Contributed by Ira Bass of Connect to Success


Larry Hart

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