3 July 2011

LinkedIn For Executives – An Intro

by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + LinkedIn Veteran…

Many entrepreneurs and execs have ineffectual LinkedIn profiles — if they have one at all. That’s because they think they don’t need one at this stage of their career. “I’m not job hunting — why should I bother?”

That’s because LinkedIn isn’t just for job hunting.

The Search is On

A LinkedIn profile can serve as a power base for an executive’s entire professional life. Given LinkedIn’s high SEO rank, it’s one of the first links people see when they Google an executive’s name. Add to that the many background searches conducted on LinkedIn itself. Those researchers may include journalists, recruiters, potential clients, and investors. With all the concern about personal reputations and misinformation online, executives should absolutely create and control their LinkedIn profiles to deliver an authoritative first impression.

The Way to Grow

We’re all tired of hearing it: yes, we live in a global economy. Yes, borders have evaporated. And, yes, international trade offers a wealth of opportunities — if we have the right connections in the right places. So who can we turn to for help setting up an office, hiring competent and trustworthy native managers, overcoming bureaucratic red tape, or simply making reservations at an appropriate restaurant in an unfamiliar city? An executive’s company may not be thinking expansion now, but when the time comes, she needs relationships with far-flung connections that can be found and developed on LinkedIn.

Marketing for Extracurricular Ambitions

Even if an executive is at the top of her game, she might harbor other ambitions, such as writing a book, appearing on TV as an expert, or running for political office. While some executives are well known outside their companies, most need a marketing boost to support these other pursuits. That’s why we need to network before we need a publisher, an entertainment attorney, a campaign manager, or other key connection. An executive should also use LinkedIn to promote her expertise and what makes her different (and more interesting) than the millions of other executives around the world.

Because You Never Know

One thing we’ve learned in this economy is that there’s no such thing as a secure job. Even at companies “too big to fail,” upper management and their teams are often replaced. An executive may claim she has nothing to worry about, but at some point she may be tempted to sell her company — or the company’s success attracts a takeover.

On a brighter, more poetic side, the executive may want a complete change of pace or career, or move to another city for the lifestyle or a relationship. To facilitate these changes, it’s again valuable to network before it’s needed. It’s too late to say, “Now who do I know here?” after the big move.

Those are just a few of the reasons an executive — or an aspiring one — needs to have a rich and strategic LinkedIn profile. (And, no, I don’t work for LinkedIn, nor do I own its stock.)

Finally, here’s my LinkedIn profile in case you’re wondering:

View Freddy J. Nager's profile on LinkedIn

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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