I recently wrote a Handbook on using Linkedin for a larger company that has many such handbooks recording their processes and systems.
It was a fascinating experience. In researching available Linkedin advice and tips I found very little that was aimed at or relevant to business owners. The same is true for accountancy firms that need to advise and guide their staff on how to use Linkedin – from a ‘corporate’ perspective. And any such generic advice that does exist still needs to be tailored to the practice concerned.
There is plenty of guidance out there for one-man bands, for consultants and for job hunters. A lot of this focuses on how to optimise your Linkedin profile so that you will be found, be attractive and be contacted. Much of this advice is good in itself but it’s incomplete.
If you are responsible for a firm you need to consider a range of other issues including:
- How the firm should be described on Linkedin and on each employee/partner’s profiles?
- How the firm should be described on it’s own Company page on Linkedin – and who should be able to edit this?
- Whether to encourage a degree of consistency as regards references to the firm and to specific departments on everyone’s profiles?
- What guidance to provide re links from personal profiles to the firm’s website, specific pages and blogs thereon and the use of business or personal email addresses on Linkedin profiles?
- Whether to provide more extensive guidance as to the creation of professional profiles on Linkedin? (Do less than professional profiles reflect badly on the firm?)
- Whether to provide any guidance or training on professional uses and abuses of Linkedin?
- Whether to encourage use of Linkedin for lead generation purposes and what training to provide to facilitate this?
- Whether to encourage use of Linkedin to help raise awareness of the name of your practice and how best to co-ordinate this?
- What guidance to provide re staff who may want to connect with current, past and prospective clients and referers?
- How much ‘best practice’ guidance to share to help users to gain maximum benefit for the firm from their use of Linkedin?
- Whether to provide guidance or set policies re the provision of ‘recommendations’ for current staff, ex-staff, clients, collaborators and suppliers?
- Whether to provide guidance or set policies re the extent to which profiles can appear to be full online CVs?
- Whether to co-ordinate the involvement of users in different Linkedin groups and to collate and share lessons learned?
- Whether to set up one or more groups for clients of the firm, what settings and templates to choose and who should manage these?
- How can clients be best engaged and encouraged to see the benefits of involvement in groups established for their benefit?
- Whether to establish groups focused around key service areas, what settings and templates to choose for such groups and who to invite to join these?
- Whether to encourage current and past staff and partners to join an alumni group – and who will ‘manage’ this?
- Whether to encourage the use of status updates for specific purposes or to allow these to be completely personal and random?
- Whether to encourage or discourage the seeking of and publication of recommendations from clients and ex-clients?
- Whether to provide guidance as to the time that can or should be spent on Linkedin each working day/week?
I hope that gets you thinking. The list is by no means complete. What else do you think might figure in your firm’s Linkedin handbook?