Applied Reputation – Part 3
Guess what???… Facebook, for business, is dead. You wanna know how I know?
Coca Cola boasts more than 63,000,000 Facebook followers, yet averages fewer than 8,000 ‘likes’ per post. That means that literally 99.987% of their total following either doesn’t see or doesn’t interact with any given update. If you add all activity up for an entire month, you come to a whopping 1% total audience engagement… again, meaning that 99% of everyone they have spent millions upon millions of dollars attracting is blind to their efforts. What a bargain! And the results are consistent, from beloved brands like Hershey’s and Target to entertainers like Rihanna and Taylor Swift, virtually none of them exceed 2% user engagement in any 28 day period. That’s amazing.
Yet, most “internet savvy” businesses today, large and small, feel compelled to maintain a profile on Facebook because “everyone is doing it.”
Well kids, that’s not what this blog is about. If you have the time and the resources, I say go for it. Heck, I’ve got one for my own company, it just doesn’t drive any business. None. I use it to post interesting things that make me look smart. I get a few likes. Everybody wins. Except for my wallet.
Prepare To Be Enlightened
Ok, so you know how I talk about LinkedIn all the time? There’s a reason. I believe that it is the most powerful networking tool of all-time, yet it remains a mystery to most. Even fewer companies grasp its potential to build their brands, recruit top talent and attract new customers. This is part 3 of a 3-part series on applying the reputations we work so hard to build, but this one, as you might have surmised, is about company-level branding.
Now, there are a zillion, trillion articles about “corporate branding,” from logo design to the use of slogans, jingles, commercial advertising and more. I’m going to assume that you are proficient in the art of googling words for yourself, so feel free to give that a shot if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m about to blow your mind though, with a model I doubt you have seen anywhere else, and yet, it’s been sitting right in front of you the whole time.
You know that friend of yours that makes you feel fancy just for knowing them? Maybe they work at a luxury goods company like Tiffany’s or Versace, or a sexy high tech powerhouse like Apple or Google. Maybe it’s the friend from high school that moved to the big city and is living the dream, or perhaps it’s a buddy that runs a successful business locally. In any case, these friends make us feel like we are more successful just for knowing them. It’s human nature, and it happens everywhere in the world. Success is attractive. Success attracts success. Successful people want to work for successful companies. I have never used the word success so many times in a single paragraph. (Success!)
Well, guess what… that same phenomenon can be engineered.
Let’s use a small business with 10 employees as an example. They have a sharp intern named Johnny that had the bright idea to set up a company page on LinkedIn, and he has done a good job of making sure that the latest news is up to date. Great. That’s a good start there, Johnny. But Johnny and his 9 coworkers, who all work for the exact same company, all say very different things about that company on their own personal profiles. Designer Jane just lists her title and how long she’s been there. Developer Dave lists his primary accomplishments in chronological order. But Communications Specialist Susan is one smart cookie. She knows that when she brags about how awesome her company is before she even mentions what she does there, she is making herself look good just for being there.
Susan is promoting the company by promoting herself and vice versa.
You would think that companies would at least offer some standard text for their employees to use for their own LinkedIn profiles, right?
Almost none of them do. It’s one of the greatest missed opportunities in the modern business world. Period.
According to Harvard Business Review (April 2013), the average number of LinkedIn connections is at least a few hundred. “Casual users,” the largest segment identified in the study, have an average of 250 connections each, while “enthusiasts” are rocking 700+. I don’t mean to brag, but yes I do, and I have more than that.
Even if you only have 10 employees, if each has just 250 contacts, you have 2,500 direct connections through your staff to potential customers and new recruits. If you’re a mid-sized business of 300, you’re looking at a whopping 75,000 direct connections between you and the rest of the world… and that doesn’t even count the number of times those people appear in LinkedIn searches. Coca Cola employs 146,200 people and spends almost $3 billion every year on advertising, yet there is virtually zero continuity amongst their employees’ profiles, including the chief executives themselves.
People… I don’t know why I geek out on this stuff. I really don’t. I have been semi-obsessed with LinkedIn for 7 years now, and the network has come a very long way in that time. While everyone else is clamoring for worthless Facebook followers (well, 99.987% of them, anyway), smart marketers are working the angles.
I hope you have enjoyed this 3-part series. It’s not the ultimate guide to personal branding or anything, but I hope it has jogged a few thoughts in that old noggin of yours. In a few weeks’ time, I will be revamping this website and UpriverSolutions.com to focus specifically on career advancement and corporate communication strategies. I am bailing out of the Facebook hype machine, using Twitter just for fun, and focusing on building businesses through the people that run them. That includes leadership training workshops, speaking at conferences & conventions, and one-on-one employee counseling for companies big and small. My aim is to help people tell better stories… about themselves, about the products & services they sell, and about why they do what they do for a living, when there are so many other options out there.
Adios for now, and see you again real soon.