There are many reasons why stores have closed at a rapid pace. For example, when baby boomers were leading consumers, they wanted commercial products that brought mass purchasing as well as brand names that came with prestige and a higher status within their personal and professional communities. Today, consumers want to buy from companies that are authentic, local, environmentally friendly and have a human touch rather than a fancy name or logo. They also want transparency and authenticity.
Even more so, if you work in the education space, you collaborate with teachers, parents, and students. The human connection between brands and their consumers is more critical than any other time in history.
A company-wide voice and social presence effort should start from the top–the CEO.
One of the most comfortable places for a CEO to start connecting is within LinkedIn’s community.
Here are five reasons why CEOs should use LinkedIn for business growth:
- Humanize the executive and personal connection
- Build mutually beneficial relationships and land potential partnerships
- Find serious investors
- Work with teachers for product service and feedback
- Join groups and take part in discussions to connect with investors, consumers and other startups.
Humanize the Executive and Personal Connection
When leaders are online sharing advice, tips, and talking with their customers, connection and respect can begin to flourish. Consumers like to know that a company’s executive leaders care about them and their products or services. For example, Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, tends to share comments and ideas with members of the LinkedIn community. He connects with them by talking about sports, listening to suggestions, and sharing some of his own personal business wisdom.
Moira Alexander states,
“Startup founders and CEOs, especially within the education field, must recognize their role as educators and mentors in helping to inspire, empower, and further the intellectual growth of others. LinkedIn is a powerful tool in enabling two-way knowledge sharing with a broad or focused audience. The platform can help leaders to establish and maintain an authentic human connection with people from all walks of life. It is the responsibility of all leaders to find ways to impart valuable knowledge, and LinkedIn provides a professional network to do so.”
And Divya Parekh says,
“In recent years, people are moving away from branded content on LinkedIn. Instead, micro-influencers and influencers are shifting towards authenticity and relevancy. When startup founders and CEOs (in education) act as influencers providing value-added content consistently, they build and maintain trust with their audience. Value-added content, whether it may be video content, research studies, blog posts, tutorials, case studies, or white papers–have all gained popularity, allowing the influencers to stand out. The continued trust inspires people who resonate with the influencers’ message to take action.”
Adam Mendler shares,
“It is impossible to stay in regular contact with all of your LinkedIn contacts through traditional means like picking up the phone or grabbing lunch. By actively using LinkedIn to share meaningful and personal content, leaders can reach tons of people they never otherwise would have and can do so in a way that feels human, even though the interaction – and in many cases, the relationship – is firmly rooted online.”
Build Mutually Beneficial Relationships
CEOs who use LinkedIn can build relationships with their consumers, potential employees and they can also find partnerships. Growing professional contacts is a win-win for everyone, and can bring forth many unknown opportunities.
Jeremy Knauff shares,
“LinkedIn is a powerful tool for expanding your relevant network because its refined search capabilities enable you to identify people who meet a specific set of criteria. It’s critical to remember that LinkedIn is only a tool, and it’s just half of the equation. The other half of the equation is to connect with these people in a meaningful, personal way that adds value. The mistake a lot of people make is they start off with the expectation that the people they’re connecting with should do something for them before they create a relationship. Instead, find a way to do something valuable for them before you ask them to do something for you.”
Startups tend to look for investors both online and offline. When you do a search on LinkedIn for the term, “investor,” you will find over 236,500 people who hold this title. Startups can find potential investors, mentors, and funds for their company.
Vanky Kataria says,
“LinkedIn shared a survey conducted by Greenwich Associates about investors on their platform. The study claimed that for more than 250 investors, LinkedIn was the most preferred social media source with 48% of all institutional investors using the networking service. Therefore, using LinkedIn could be an ideal place to find the right investors for your startup.”
And, Michael Maven states,
“If you’re looking for education-related investors, Linkedin is a great resource. Your target audience is already there and engaged in the platform. Not only can you get in front of the right people, but you can single them out and research them first. Using LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity to find your audience and learn about their interests within the education space. Once you build those relationships, you can start interacting from a data-driven springboard, instead of just hoping you say the right things. You can also carefully craft smart and thoughtful content based around your background in the field. Then, you can reach out and ask them to comment with their thoughts. If you write something insightful about the education market, with an opinion behind it, they will respond. This information is not theory; I’ve used this strategy. For example, a venture capitalist recommended that I write for a serious business publication because I shared a few revenue growth case studies.”
Find Teachers For Product or Service Feedback
It is no secret that teachers don’t make a lot of money. If you are the CEO of a startup, odds are that you are looking for educators to pilot your product or service to garner valuable feedback. A search for the term “teacher,” on LinkedIn yields over 7.9 million results. If you need teachers to help you develop a product or to hire as a consultant, you have a wealth of educators at your fingertips. And, because they could always use some financial help, working with teachers is a win-win for both parties.
Groups are Coming Back
I’ve been active on LinkedIn since 2012. Six years ago, LinkedIn groups were a critical component within the platform. Over the past few years, groups faded a bit while other areas of the platform came to the surface. However, in a recent news release, LinkedIn is bringing groups back to the forefront. This initiative provides leaders with a chance to grow their own private communities, connect with consumers, find potential employees and engage with other CEOs.
How to Begin
Transparency and human connection drive consumer loyalty, and that loyalty can bring endless benefits to your business.