There’s plenty of information out there about the importance of a strong LinkedIn profile for job seekers and sales teams. But what about CXOs and VPs? Do you really need to bother?

The answer is, without a doubt, yes. And the reason is simple: 78% of C-level executives say they google someone before meeting with them, which means most of your leadership team is being googled on a regular basis.

Every time you meet with a prospect, customer, partner, investor, job candidate, reporter, or talk to someone about a speaking engagement opportunity, chances are that person is checking you out online.

Creating Powerful — and Consistent — Executive Profiles

What does this mean for you and your executive team?

First, remember that Google will almost always bring these people to LinkedIn. Do a quick Google search of yourself and you’ll see that your LinkedIn profile shows up near the top of the search results. So every executive’s profile page should tell a strong story.

By using LinkedIn to highlight their work experience, achievements, and insights about the way they approach your business, each exec contributes to your company’s overall online presence and reputation. Prospective partners, key hires, and customers will see the depth of your pool of talent and will better understand how they could find success working with your business.

In addition to their individual stories, your executive team’s profiles are prime real estate for sharing your company’s value proposition — the mission, values, and culture that make people want to work with you and for you. Seeing a consistent message across multiple profiles impresses people and makes it clear that you pay attention to the details.

5 Tips to Brand Consistency

For all of these elements to work in harmony, it’s smart to set some ground rules for your team.

1. Start at the Top
Because executives (think CEO, COO, CRO, CTO, CIO, CMO, CFO, and CHRO) set an example for the entire company, they should be the first ones to adopt this LinkedIn strategy. When the top tier gets their profiles right, it sets a standard for the rest of the company and gives other employees examples to follow.

2. Provide the Basics
Take the initiative to craft a paragraph or two about your company that team members can modify when completing their own LinkedIn profiles. Typically, one paragraph for a person’s about/summary and a slightly different paragraph in their job experience entry will work well. Also, develop a standard set of keywords (ask people to put them in their headlines) and company-related skills. These basics will get your team on a unified track. Then everyone can customize their profiles with their experience and details about their role, responsibilities, and accomplishments.

3. Be Specific with Media
Take a look at your company’s website and social media pages, and choose the best introductory pieces of media — videos, PDFs, presentations, articles — for your team to include in their profiles. You can also provide them with one or two branded header graphics, so they don’t have to create their own. Having these media elements in common will bring instant, visible consistency to your team’s LinkedIn presence.

4. Never Stop Teaching
From the moment a new hire arrives, show them how your company uses LinkedIn, even showing them a collection of stand-out employee profiles. Create talent development programs specifically focused on personal branding and LinkedIn. This will give your people the skills they need to build exceptional profiles and use LinkedIn to do their jobs better.

5. Consider Outsourcing Employee Profiles
Keeping employee profiles consistent can be a challenge because each employee owns their individual profile. Some terrific people struggle with talking about themselves; others prefer not to write about their accomplishments because it feels like bragging.

While you can’t force people to post specific content — you can make it easy for them. Start with these tips. And consider outsourcing the creation of LinkedIn profiles. A professional team will not only deliver consistent, high-quality profiles — that sound transparent and authentic— but will make your team feel invested in and well-served.

To see how your leadership team is doing now, consider a LinkedIn Team Audit. We’ll evaluate profiles and engagement for five team members (you tell us which executives to include) and provide scores for each individual, with an explanation of how the numbers were derived, plus a graph that shows how they compare. Each person will get feedback on their strengths, as well as their greatest opportunities for improvement. Email for more information.

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