You might be familiar with the LinkedIn sensation Gong.
It’s one of the most impressive social media marketing engines in the world. A few months back, I wrote about how they leveraged LinkedIn to create one of the most impressive footprints on the platform.
Since then, I’ve seen a lot of newcomers start to embrace LinkedIn and try to replicate their success. It’s not easy.
It requires a commitment to content excellence and a culture that empowers their team to develop and create assets that stand out in a sea of sales poetry and melodramatic status updates about the world coming to an end. Okay… that was kind of melodramatic on its own. But I do want to call out the fact that a cohesive team posting regularly on LinkedIn has quickly become one of the best ways to establish brand leadership with that audience.
One of the most basic yet important things that I’ve noticed organizations and their employees embrace on LinkedIn is a standard banner.
The team at Outreach has embraced the banner below across multiple employee accounts and it’s done wonders for them in driving brand awareness. I tried to count how many members of their team were using the banner and lost count at around 40. This is what it looks like:
Pretty straightforward, right?
The banner is powerful because it follows these individuals everywhere they go on LinkedIn. If an employee is posting on LinkedIn, they’re showing and waving their Outreach flag. If an employee is commenting on something, they’re showing and waving their Outreach flag. This is a great strategy for Outreach. It’s the modern equivalent of a LinkedIn ad except it’s built into the profiles of a handful of passionate Outreachers (not sure if that’s what they call themselves).
Here’s something else that is consistent across organizations that are winning at LinkedIn:
The People are Just as Active as the Company
This was probably the biggest takeaway from the success of Gong’s LinkedIn strategy.
Similar to Gong, the Outreach LinkedIn account is booming in comparison to most companies using LinkedIn. While most accounts will typically generate 1 or 2 likes per post, the Outreach account performs either slightly or significantly better than most company accounts. I’ve seen some of their posts put up ridiculous numbers with multiple hundreds of likes and hundreds of comments. The strategy that they embrace tends to be pretty straightforward:
- Engage people: Create content that lets people share their perspectives. This creates a trend where people engage with you and build a rapport. It’s also less intimidating to people because they feel prompted to create vs. coming up with content from a blank canvas. It’s clear that this strategy works wonders from the handful of highly commented posts on LinkedIn ending with the word “Thoughts?” It’s an easy way to stir up a dialog (which leads to more reach) and establish a sense of community on your content.
- Entertain people: People love to smile and laugh. It’s human. But for some reason, a lot of us stop caring about the human side of people when it comes to LinkedIn. We resort to keeping things 100% business all the time instead of injecting a bit of personality. The brands and people who show up with a bit of themselves are often the most successful on LinkedIn.
- Educate people: Give people information surrounding topics they’re interested in. Help them be better at their job by providing tips, tricks, and insights around how they can improve. Whether it’s educating people on strategies you’ve leveraged to achieve a specific result or a tactic that helped you achieve a goal, people want to hear it. You can also educate people on things happening in your life, at your company, or in the industry. People want to learn new things, so be the source for that information.
- Empower people: This is the newest yet slowly becoming one of the most powerful ways to grow an audience on social media. It’s the act of empowering others to shine.
You might be familiar with the 3 Es (Educate, Engage, and Entertain)… It’s a philosophy I’ve applied to marketing for years and preached about at conferences.
But over the last couple of years, I’ve started to realize and notice the power of empowering others as a marketing strategy. It’s the act of elevating the voices of others who are creating content or doing interesting things. It’s in this work that the brand is acting as an amplifier of other voices and giving those voices additional reach and exposure.
What does exposure look like in the wild?
It’s the act of amplifying brilliant people with whom your organization admires or is aligned. It’s the act of amplifying people who are doing great work in your industry and that you want others to learn about or from. The three graphics below are examples of this empowering effort in action:
Outreach is giving each of these people exposure to their audience and potentially adding real-life value to their careers. In many ways, it’s possible that these posts also provided Outreach with the ability to nurture a relationship with three people who they want to or have done work with in the past. The act of empowering your own customers, partners, or clients would be icing on the cake for social media marketing excellence. The point is simple…
Offering other people exposure to your audience is the social media equivalent of making an introduction.
Introductions are powerful because they connect two people together in a way that is meaningful and potentially mutually beneficial.
Empowering Your Team to Be the Voice of the Brand
What’s most impressive about Outreach’s LinkedIn presence is the number of followers that their team has been able to generate on their own as individuals. The company has 83,000 LinkedIn followers; a few of their most active employees have more than 250,478 followers. Sure, some of these may overlap, but this is where the magic happens.
Outreach’s employee activity on LinkedIn is more important and influential than the company’s activity on LinkedIn.
Because people will always and forever connect more with people than a logo.
Here’s a sample of one of the posts shared by Anthony Natoli, an AE at Outreach:
It’s not fancy. No graphics. No charts. No videos.
Just text telling the story of how he was able to move up the ranks from an SDR to an AE within 9 months. It has over 140 likes and 78 comments. Not bad, right?
And some of you might think…
Okay, but the post doesn’t have to do with Outreach…
Ah, dear Watson…
That’s where you’re wrong.
You see, Outreach is not only directly next to his name but it’s also a brand that strives to target sales execs. The people who would engage, interact, and be interested in this post are EXACTLY the people Outreach wants to connect with.
One of the simple things Anthony does here in this post that I’d encourage you to try is asking a simple question at the end of the post. He simply asks “thoughts?”
This is a minor addition to the status update but one that gives permission to the rest of the community to engage and interact. It aligns perfectly with the idea of creating content that “engages” your audience and stirs up a dialog with your community. So let me take inspiration from Anthony and ask you the same question:
What are your thoughts on this approach? What are your thoughts on the way organizations are starting to empower their teams and others in the industry?
I’d love to hear from you.