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As a marketer I shudder when I see a valuable communications channel like a LinkedIn company page being misused by non-marketing people such as human resources (HR).
What a missed opportunity to engage, inspire and market your company.
Would you let your HR team create your corporate website? Of course not.
So why are they allowed to be anywhere near your LinkedIn company page where they can do untold amounts of damage to your brand by not engaging and communicating?
The difference is that there are 300m people on LinkedIn who can see your company page 24/7 and are left with a lasting impression of your company and your brand.
In your wildest dreams you couldn’t reach that many people in a lifetime with your company website. So why is HR effectively being put in charge of your LinkedIn marketing strategy?
I was presenting at the Next Bank Asia event recently and in doing so I researched how banks across the world use or misuse their LinkedIn company page. Singaporean banks in particular came off very badly in clearly having their LinkedIn company pages mismanaged by HR.
There’s at least five reasons why HR teams should not write, engage or try and market their company through the LinkedIn company page:
1) Would you let your marketing team do your HR?
No of course not. So why do you let your HR teams run amock with your brand on LinkedIn through the company page?
They simply aren’t qualified to do it. Take a look at some sample pages from Singapore but there are many more across the world: CIMB, OCBC, Maybank, DBS, all massive Asian banks whose LinkedIn pages are clearly run by their HR teams and it shows.
2) Putting lists of links to 'jobs' without actually saying what those jobs are or explaining anything at all about the company is just a waste of time
That’s negative brand marketing on LinkedIn not positively engaged content marketing. How are people supposed to know anything about these jobs if you don’t try and tell people about them? Why should they click on links that just say “jobs"?
Even worse, if you look at the OCBC example these jobs were posted three and four months ago! So even if you wanted to apply the chances are that they have now been filled.
Maybank just appears to be desperate with its communication of “walk in” interviews. This does imply that the company will take anyone. Maybank communicates this without saying anything about the bank, the brand or why it might be a great place to work there.
3) Creating pages with no pictures, no links, no content, no updates and only jobs is lazy marketing
In a tight and very competitive labour market such as Singapore, where all the major banks compete for the best professionals, these companies do themselves no good by failing to engage or market themselves on LinkedIn, a place where all their potential employees are.
Global banking brands like HSBC and Citi among others do a great job on their main pages of engaging with relevant content to the target audience. This means not just ramming jobs or products down people’s throats but actually talking about industry matters, trends and information. This is the way to engage on LinkedIn and on B2B social media in general.
LinkedIn says that there is a 4:1:1 engagement strategy needed. That is for every one hard selling post there should be one soft selling post and four engaging posts that are unrelated to the brand but relevant to the target audience e.g. about industry trends, case studies, best and worst practice, interviews etc.
That’s the way a brand gets views (LinkedIn’s most reliable measurement), likes, shares and engagement. Think about that next time you just post job after job after job.
4) Your LinkedIn company page is also not your local community bulletin board as banks like DBS appear to think they are
What does a local event that your chairman/CEO visited for some PR stunt say about your brand to your customers, clients, partners and potential employees globally?
Even worse, if you’re using your LinkedIn company page to market local events that 90% of the people viewing can’t visit. You won’t see Citi or HSBC doing that, so why do banks like DBS do it?
What does this say to people in other countries and even in other parts of the same country about your priorities? Especially when you don’t even to market your SME services to relevant businesses on that same platform.
The exception to the rule in Singapore is Standard Chartered, which has created a great content marketing strategy for its LinkedIn company page and is actively using it to engage with partners, clients and employees across Asia Pacific.
5) The best examples are those that have clearly been run by corporate communications or marketing teams
Corporate comms and marketing teams have brand awareness and know about B2B social and content marketing. Check out Citibank, Morgan Stanley, American Express, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs which are all great examples of content driven, brand focused LinkedIn company pages.
Citibank in particular really understands the holistic way of marketing and engaging on LinkedIn. Not only does it have one of the select few official LinkedIn influencers, Frank Eliason, but it has replicated its offline female-only 'Connect: Professional Women’s Network' in a very vibrant and active group page.
This is full of great content, brand advocacy and engaging discussions. Citi also has very active company pages too.
HSBC and Deutsche Bank both have very engaging LinkedIn company pages. In Australia NAB, ANZ and Commonwealth all do a great job with their LinkedIn pages. The difference between all of these pages and those of most Singaporean banks is a complete lack of job notices and local community announcements.
Even the big banks aren’t immune from a poor content marketing though. HSBC Private Bank has 25,000 followers and yet no content, no updates. What a wasted opportunity to engage.
The same applies to many others too, their off shoot service pages seem devoid of any content engagement as if they don’t matter or there was no resource to manage them. If that’s the case then don’t create it or get rid of it.
The criticism of them all is that none of them have the new Showcase Pages that LinkedIn has introduced. Only two of them have SME company sites and only one of them (AMEX Open Forum) is actually using it to engage with content. ANZ has created one but hasn’t bothered to engage with updates or content.
The criticism here of HR taking over company pages related to banks is only an illustration. I could apply exactly the same criticism of any industry. You just have to look at retail, leisure, food & beverage, fashion, or entertainment to see exactly the same kind of misuse of the LinkedIn company page. No content, no engagement, nothing of value and just job posts.
If all you see is jobs, jobs and more jobs you can bet that HR manages that company page. There is of course a halfway house where marketing manages the page and posts the jobs in-between compelling content. This way both marketing and HR come up winners.
The more attractive the company looks through a content engagement strategy the more likely people are to look at the company, engage and apply for all those jobs. But that would be common sense wouldn’t it?