This year, I was lucky enough to lead a digital marketing panel for the 2021 United Showcase, MRI’s annual virtual conference. The panel brought together some of the best and brightest voices from across the Network to discuss how they optimize LinkedIn as talent access professionals.
From building their personal brands, to staying consistent, Ashley Minelli (The Newell Group), Krista Whiting (Parkwood International), and Travis Miller (Miller Resource Group) shared their invaluable perspectives. Here are a few of my major takeaways.
On Personal Branding
“Reputation is everything, because reputation manages who is going to work with you and who does not.” – Krista Whiting
LinkedIn is perhaps best known as a vehicle to drive and establish your personal brand. But it’s not always clear what exactly constitutes your “personal brand.” Does it differ from your own personal voice? How about from the brand of your employer?
According to these talented speakers, your brand doesn’t need to be overly complicated — it’s best when it’s an authentic reflection of who you are. “Don’t be afraid to use your voice,” shared Whiting. “Be the most professional version of your genuine self. People like that way more than an inauthentic voice that feels like more of the same noise.”
That means posting what feels right, even if it doesn’t match with what you see other search professionals in your network share. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and create content which resonates with your audience — this is how relationships begin on LinkedIn.
Keep in mind that your personal brand shouldn’t feel like a carbon copy of your employer’s — although if they’re at odds, something is probably wrong. A successful digital marketing strategy focuses on authenticity and Minelli feels that staying relatively true to your search firm’s brand should be effortless.
“You associate people’s names with companies — it’s not just their products anymore,” she says. “If you think about your company’s core values and… they don’t resonate with you, we’re all in recruiting — it’s time to find a new job.”
On Getting Started And Keeping At It
For many of us, the most challenging part of staying active on LinkedIn isn’t knowing what to say — it’s actually saying it. Keeping up the consistency it takes to show your network that you’re credible and reliable can be intimidating, but as these experts shared, sometimes you just need to start.
“Everybody thinks there’s a silver bullet for when you post or how you post, and unfortunately, there isn’t one. It’s about consistency,” says Whiting.
Travis Miller assured our audience that once you take the leap, things do get easier over time, and that if need be, bringing in some professional help in the beginning can be money well spent. “Starting out on LinkedIn takes significantly more time than once you get the ball rolling,” Miller emphasizes. “The best thing you can do is to make it easy on yourself. Invest in professionals who can help you and don’t let perfection get in the way of good.”
This was a sentiment echoed by the other panelists — when it comes to content, inspiration is everywhere. “I don’t care if you’re only sharing content and commenting on it for now, just get going,” said Minelli. “Get your feet wet and get comfortable with putting yourself or your candidates or your career advice out there. If you always stay curious in what you’re doing, in your industry, and in what’s going on in the world around you, you’re always going to have ideas for content.”
Others may worry about the time commitment of posting on a daily or near-daily basis, but for Whiting — a master of the platform — doing so doesn’t feel like a burden. Instead, she engages with other users throughout the day, while she’s making calls, and shares that it takes up much less time than one might think.
Whiting also shares content organically, as inspiration or ideas come to her. I’m someone who knows what type of content I want to create, but doesn’t always prepare it ahead of time, so it was a relief to hear that Whiting often posts in the moment, too.
Tips From the Network
In addition to these overarching perspectives, our panel shared plenty of specific, actionable tips to help search professionals get the most value possible out of this platform. Here are a few I’ve started incorporating already — I suggest you do the same:
- Whiting endorses people on LinkedIn before she calls them. This takes the call from cold to warm, because they’ve already seen her name online and received the positive reinforcement of seeing her vouch for their skills.
- Minelli’s firm employs a broad content mix on their company page, including blog posts from their recruiters, motivational content with business lessons, and plenty of open opportunities.
- To help your firm stay active on social media, consider designating an office “content facilitator” to help pull information out of recruiters and turn it into valuable social content. This strategy works especially well for recruiters who don’t yet feel “social savvy” or tapped into personal branding.
- Every day, Whiting suggests investing 30 minutes into your social media, and maxing out your available connection requests.
- Personal, inspirational, and aspirational content seems to outperform other subject matter on LinkedIn. While that may seem surprising, it’s actually highly intuitive, because people prefer to do business with professionals they relate to and feel like they know.
Marketing yourself on LinkedIn can feel like an uphill battle — and when you’re first starting out, it’s not always clear if you’re making progress. “ROI on [LinkedIn] branding is hard to measure,” says Miller. “It’s like a billboard advertisement — don’t expect a phone call immediately, but, the more you do it, the more familiar people will be with your brand.”
The group agreed that if you put in the work, LinkedIn is a powerful platform that can bring some pretty incredible results. Just ask Krista Whiting — she started out as an industry newbie with just 250 followers. Today, she has 25,000 followers, and she credits billing over $230K in one year to her LinkedIn content.
The secret? Being yourself and being consistent. With a willingness to get started and the determination to just keep going, there’s no reason LinkedIn can’t become a cornerstone of your talent access practice.