I was asked recently what a Personal Assistant (PA) or a Virtual Assistant (VA) could do to support their Key Person on LinkedIn, hence the role title of LinkedIn Assistant. Having supported several business owners to move them up a level with LinkedIn I offer the following tips.
The suggestions below could equally apply to someone who is a member of staff supporting a director, or a marketing or sales assistant supporting members of the sales team, or an external person who is primarily taking phone calls. Providing Social Media Support, as a Social Media Assistant or Social Media Manager is an emerging and rapidly evolving profession.
Having someone else responding to or initiating social media conversations is a sensitive topic too, primarily around the expectations that the reader might reasonably have about who is viewing their profile, commenting into discussions and communicating. A cautious approach, and a clear brief and parameters for the assistant, is recommended to create a positive start to build on.
One way, for example, to adjust the expectations of the recipient when a LinkedIn Assistant is introduced might be to add a line in the Personal Profile LinkedIn Summary to the effect that the profile is being monitored and managed by a LinkedIn Assistant or similar phrase to make it clear that it’s not always the key person reading or responding all the time.
LinkedIn Assistant for a Personal Profile
With those thoughts in mind, here are ten tasks that could be done by an assistant in LinkedIn. The starting position should be that the Key Person already has a good personal profile and network of contacts on LinkedIn. If not then these should be addressed first. These tasks do require that the Assistant logs into the primary persons LinkedIn Account, so trust is a requirement.
- Monitoring and filtering LinkedIn In-Box messages – including connection invites and various emails promoting products and recruitment
- Monitoring notifications generated by LinkedIn highlighting discussion comments, job changes, birthdays and many other potential trigger events, filtering and responding
- Create TAG Categories (once agreed) and allocate current contacts to them
- Create and send out emails (drafted by the key person) to TAG category groups of people.
- Send Connection Requests to an agreed list of known people (eg. Customers, Partners etc.)
- Monitor agreed discussion groups to identify topics and contacts to follow-up
- Send a message or connection request to an agreed list of contacts in a discussion group
- Identify companies that meet the target profile of a prospect organisation via Search
- Schedule agreed Status Updates to go out during the week
- Monitor who visits the Key Person’s profile and highlight people worth inviting to connect
- Post discussions into Groups on a pre-arranged schedule
- Monitor discussions started in LinkedIn, respond appropriately, and highlight conversations opportunities to the key person.
By starting from the top of the list a degree of understanding can be built up so that the LinkedIn Assistant has an increasing understanding of the expertise and value of the Key Person, and is able to progress to tasks towards the bottom of the list as mutual confidence develops.
LinkedIn Assistant for a Company Page
Since the LinkedIn Company Page is less personal and can be administered by several people there is more scope for this to run by LinkedIn Assistants, who could be internal or external. The starting position should be that there is a good company page and product/service pages. If not then these should be created or updated first.
- Schedule agreed Company Page Status Updates to highlight company content
- Schedule agreed third party content to be included as Status Updates
- Monitor comments and discussions and take appropriate steps to respond or refer
- Invite agreed customers to provide recommendations for Product / Service pages
- Invite customers and others to Follow the Company Page via LinkedIn Emails/Messages
- Monitor Company Page Followers and identify ones who could be reached out to
Being an effective LinkedIn Assistant requires many of the skills, attributes and the close working relationship that effective Personal Assistants need. A good starting point is to consider what works off-line, and look for the equivalent online. Answering the phone, managing correspondence such as the email in-box, and managing the priorities and time of the key person are just some of the elements to consider.
For the Key Person they are able to gain benefit from Social Media while still being focused and effective in their decision-making and activities. For LinkedIn Assistants, whether employed or external people, they are able to support the Key Person and help them achieve their objectives, while having an expanding and fulfilling role adding Social Media to their current skills and responsibilities.
I’d be interested in your feedback, to hear whether this is already working for you, or any additions or amends that you can suggest.