Honesty, authenticity and tact: Netflix and PSB Academy marketers on how to lead on LinkedIn

Marketers share wisdom on how to lead on LinkedIn

While much has been discussed on how social media has democratised information and empowered the consumer, the opportunity and disruption to the workforce is a lesser discussed forum.

LinkedIn has made significant changes to its platform over recent years to focus more on content and enabling connections around content out in the open, versus just allowing professionals to connect and message privately. It creates an immense opportunity for thought leadership at scale, but with that comes risk and responsibility to individuals and institutions.

However, marketers from Netflix and PSB Academy believe the opportunity is too good to miss and sat down with The Drum to share lessons on how they are making the platform work for them. In fact, they made the platform work so well for them that Linkedin awarded them Power Profile status for 2017 in Singapore.

Honesty

Honesty was a key theme for success on LinkedIn. Dipashree Das, partner marketing lead for Southeast Asia and India at Netflix, said a key driver for being on the platform was the belief that business leaders had to be more honest about struggles. She likened using LinkedIn to the same passion for speaking on stage at conferences.

She said she first started using the platform the most at her previous job at Singtel: “In Singtel it was also where I started speaking at a lot of conferences, because I’m very passionate about two things: one is marketing and media and anything to do with television or content and the second is that I really think there is merit in being honest with our struggles and what we have learnt, especially for women.”

Marcus Loh, VP of marketing and corporate communication at PSB Academy, gave the example of LinkedIn itself, as an example of where a CEO has used a social channel for honesty and it helped with bottom line financial results.

“I also admire LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner. The LinkedIn stock took quite a beating [over a year ago]. I think he put out his position very strongly, he addressed it and he even said ‘we don’t want you to experience that much of a loss, we are willing to compensate you’ and so on and so forth, and ensured the staff was paid. I thought that was an example that many CEOs could follow. I have experience with another friend of mine, a friend of friend, whose CEO decided not to do anything at all when their stock took a beating,” he explained.

Be natural

However, for Das, sharing and being honest is something that comes natural and the want to share with others is something that people will see as authentic, not forced.

“I think I’ve been accused of being too honest on social media platforms. I share quite a bit. Every role that I’ve been on has been an exciting journey, and it’s all part of a longer plan. I like sharing bits of that journey with people, to see their reaction,” she said.

Similarly, Loh argued that not all business leaders were natural public figures.

“I don’t think all business leaders are necessarily thought leaders and many of them unfortunately come across as mouthpieces. When that’s the case, you don’t have much to actually share. LinkedIn is a social channel that forces people to be authentic and it scraps away the pomp and pageantry. If you genuinely aren’t that kind of person to share and have those thoughts, it’s going to be quite difficult. It becomes a liability to the corporate brand more than an asset or extension to the corporate brand,” he said.

Give back

Another element to authenticity is that the use of the platform isn’t a one-sided action. Marketers and business leaders need to give back to the community, according to Loh and Das.

“What I would like to start doing more of is posts that you can read on the go and perhaps take one thing away from it. Let’s say if you’re in a negotiation, and let’s say that’s one of my worst strengths, like most other people, what is the one thing probably you should tell yourself before going into that negotiation? [Sharing with LinkedIn users] two or three things which I learnt in a value negotiation workshop that I can help with,” Das explained.

No one owes you a favour

However, the kindness of sharing shouldn’t be taken as a given and learning how to approach people for help is another key skill for LinkedIn.

“I have ton of people writing to me every day with ‘Can you help me with this?’. Is that really the right way to approach someone you don’t know?” Das asked, “They don’t owe you a recommendation, they don’t know you. Recommending you is putting themselves on the line and vouching for you. Is that really what you expect someone who doesn’t know you to do for you? What you really want is that person to advise you, and I’m more than happy to pick up the phone and talk to you if you’re new to Singapore, interested in a certain job, what your approach should be. That is what I think a lot of people miss.”

To see the full list of 2017 Power Profiles for Singapore, visit the LinkedIn website.

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