The top of the social media iceberg is represented by Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, WordPress, and Flipboard. With dozens more, how do you choose which site to dive into? Which site creates the most memorable digital footprint? All of the key sites may be useful, but if you’re a leader, which site helps to build an individual’s leadership brand?

Over the years, LinkedIn has become the undisputed social networking site for professional purposes. Do you want a new job? Do you want to check out someone you just met at a tradeshow? Do you want to research the author of a new book? To find these answers, do not pass go, do not collect $200 – go straight to LinkedIn and search for the person’s name. 99% of the time, you will find the person you seek. 

Once on LinkedIn, you will quickly discover the person’s work history, published works, skills and expertise, education, and honors and awards. You will also gain insight into the person’s perspective about networking – whether he or she has a large network of 500 plus connections or only a few. If accessible, you will be able to read reviews about the individual. And lastly, you will be able to learn a great deal about a person from the titles and details of the groups he or she has joined.

As a leader, a LinkedIn profile – and a comprehensive profile – is critical. It sets the tone for all employees who follow you. You should be transparent and explain your company’s goals, projects, and results. You should also provide detailed recommendations for your employees – not just one or two sentences. These recommendations will go a long way toward developing positive employee morale. In addition, you can provide endorsements for your employees when they complete excellent work. Also, LinkedIn allows users to share their expertise by providing links to blog posts – leaders can capitalize on this by sharing posts written by employees.

So, while many social sites may be useful tools to build corporate brands and interact with customers and prospects – whether with text, images, or videos – LinkedIn is the best choice for leaders to build their personal brands and, in the process, develop their employees.

Debbie Laskey has 15 years of marketing experience and an MBA Degree with a concentration in International Marketing and Management. She developed her diverse marketing expertise while working in the high-tech industry, the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France, the non-profit arena, and the insurance industry. Currently, Debbie is a consultant to small businesses and non-profits in California, and specializes in brand marketing, social media, employee engagement, leadership development, and customer experience marketing. Since 2002, Debbie has served as a judge for the Web Marketing Association’s annual web award competition and has been recognized as one of the "Top 100 Branding Experts" to follow on Twitter.


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