When it comes to employee onboarding, most companies have a standard protocol of training, paperwork and meet-and-greets they go through. Does the new team member understand our products? Check. Did they fill out their HR paperwork? Check. Have they been told the requisite groan-worthy pun from Jokester Jerry and heard all the dirt from Gossipy Gayle? Check, check.
Once all this is done, it may seem like they’re ingrained in the team. But if this is where the onboarding stops, you’re missing a key ingredient: brand representation. Specifically, have you given your new employee the necessary information and guidelines to update their social media and LinkedIn branding, to create a positive, public employee image?
For that matter, it’s not just new hires that need to follow the right protocols for their company-linked social media accounts. Your existing employees should be regularly updating theirs as well. After all, your team members are really your brand champions and need to reflect the same standards you’ve set for your business. Here’s what to focus on in order to achieve that.
On LinkedIn, your employees’ profiles will be linked to your business page when they add their title and select your company. But, after that, have you considered the job description they use? Oftentimes, these will differ from person to person. One salesperson at a mindfulness training company might describe themselves as a “champion of mindfulness, sharing the mission of XYZ Company, the leader in mindfulness training,” while another may call themselves a “salesperson, helping XYZ company change hearts, one mindful moment at a time.”
For the record, both of these descriptions are way too vague and jargon-y to make for effective LinkedIn copy. But, the bigger problem is that they sound like they’re two different positions at two different companies. You need consistency in your messaging, across the board. To this end, create guidelines for your employees. Give them long and short company messages to choose from, and let them know what exact job title to use. Also, make sure you’ve either created a short description of their position or that you approve a description they create.
The next key part of brand representation on LinkedIn is imagery. Most team members will already have a headshot in use on their profile and it may be ok for them to keep using it. But this is only if it looks professional and matches the tone and color scheme of other employee headshots.
Your best bet is to offer a headshot session with a professional photographer (and even a professional makeup artist, if you can swing it) to all new and existing employees, and then let them choose from those images. This way, your team members will look like a cohesive part of the team while still maintaining their own individuality. But hey, a newer smartphone can do in a pinch, just make sure to set some standards.
Some companies also like to create a branded banner for employees to use at the top of their LinkedIn pages. This is up to you, but it’s usually best if everyone uses it or no one does. Otherwise, your branding will look discordant and inconsistent.
LinkedIn has become a great place to share research findings, industry commentaries, infographics and beyond. But there’s a catch – the lines often blur in users’ minds between employee content and employer content. This doesn’t matter too much if an article an employee shares is mild or generally well-received, but if it’s more controversial, it could paint your brand in a light you don’t want to be in.
The best prevention for this is employee training. Show your team members what’s possible on LinkedIn and how to share articles and blog posts. Explain to them what’s expected of them, and how to differentiate their own thoughts and opinions from those of the company. Also, make sure you let them know they should avoid sharing content from competitors’ websites. It’s all too easy to find a great blog post and not check where it’s from before sharing it on their own profile. But this only validates your competitors (and makes your own customers confused).
No matter where they are online, your employees are constantly showing who your brand is by way of their profiles, images, copy and content. You can harness the power of a passionate team by inviting them to put forward their best possible employee image – and by putting guardrails around LinkedIn branding and other social media branding. Need help unifying your branding across all digital channels? We can help!