Article: Should employers show their softer side on LinkedIn?

Life @ Work

Should employers show their softer side on LinkedIn?

From the CEO who shared his 'crying selfie' to recruiters who vent about being ghosted by job hunters, we're seeing a diversity of personal stories on everybody's favourite professional networking platform. But is it too much?
Should employers show their softer side on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is known for being THE social media site for professionals.

If you’re looking to network with people in your industry (or beyond), then LinkedIn is the place for you. If you’re also looking for great talent to join your company, then it can help your company attract the right employees.

Every now and then a post goes viral on LinkedIn, whether that’s an inspirational anecdote from a CEO or a horrible experience from a job hunter. Sometimes, however, the post becomes controversial and receives backlash.

Such is the case of the CEO who posted a crying selfie in August. Braden Wallake went viral after he posted his selfie – crying when he announced employee layoffs at his online marketing firm HyperSocial. He said posting it was one of the most vulnerable things he had ever done. He said that he loved his employees, wishing that he was only a business owner who was driven by money and did not care about others.

Read more: Out of touch? CEO posts crying selfie on LinkedIn

However, several users on LinkedIn criticised Wallake and said he was “out of touch.” Commenters said the CEO should have focused more on the conditions of the laid-off employees and not on his own feelings.

With this as an example, should employers on LinkedIn share personal stories on the social media site? Or should they stick to sharing articles relevant to their business or industry only?

Why employers SHOULD NOT post personal stories on LinkedIn

Maintaining a professional reputation on LinkedIn is vital if you want to strike good deals with clients or attract top talent. The truth is that everything you post on LinkedIn, as a CEO or an executive, can reflect your company’s brand or image.

Garnering attention for your brand is also important but posting anything without putting much thought into it may be harmful. Remember that social media attention is not just about the numbers. The saying that “bad publicity is still publicity” may damage your company’s relations with others down the line.

With all these, think twice before you post anything on the social media site. The question you should keep in mind is: “Will this improve or hurt our company’s reputation on LinkedIn?” If you’re in doubt, then perhaps posting it is a bad idea.

Why employers SHOULD post personal stories on LinkedIn

There are those who believe that sharing personal stories on LinkedIn may not be a bad idea. SEO writer Jen Flatt Osborn explained in a post why she disagrees with keeping “personal stuff” away from LinkedIn.

The most basic thing is that we’re human, she said. While LinkedIn is all about networking, there’s a need to remind your closest friends on the site of what you do and keep up with each other’s lives. She said that knowing each other’s personal job descriptions can be helpful when mentioning each other in conversation with others.

Read more: LinkedIn study: Which connections are better for job search?

There are times when users on LinkedIn post stories of them overcoming personal struggles. Osborn said that these are the kind of stories which remind her of a person’s strength. She admires those kinds of people and it motivates her to help others who need it.

Aside from your company’s image, the image you portray on LinkedIn reflects your personal brand as well. For instance, Osborn explained that the things she shares on the site and how she writes (her personal voice) are all part of her brand. Indeed, what you share will carry over the professional side of your work.

Lastly, sharing personal stories on the site can help give clients a peek into how you think and what things are important to you. These things can be deal-breakers, Osborn said.

The most essential takeaway is that, if you share personal things on LinkedIn, you must be cautious with how you depict what needs to be said. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be calculating – you must be sincere in what you share and post. But you also must keep in mind that what you share can reflect poorly on you or your company in the long run. Consider the consequences of what you post: “what impact will this make?”

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Topics: Life @ Work, Culture

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