Friday, 3 March 2017

LinkedIn Steps For B2B Best Practices In 2017

With 433 million professional online users, LinkedIn has overtaken Twitter in terms of average monthly users. Today there are now more than 4 million company pages online.

And whilst LinkedIn may still be perceived as the preferred social media platform for B2B companies, B2C companies continue to rely on the platform for sharing branded content, recruitment and talking to a more professional audience.

This content provides best practice guidelines on appropriate employee conduct on LinkedIn and includes useful tips that can be used in your company’s social media policy.

It also highlights potential risks and threats to your company pages and advises on appropriate moderation activities where necessary.

Influencing Employee Conduct

Companies are finding there is a fine line between the professional and the personal use of LinkedIn by employees.

Social media governance has become a growing concern for most HR departments and Communications teams.

Whilst employee profiles are self-managed, employee advocacy in terms of sharing the latest company news, achievements and industry articles can act to further enhance the reputation of the company as a whole. So, LinkedIn has become an extremely effective B2B marketing tool in this sense and its use is wider than ever.

In order for employees not to blur the boundaries of personal and professional use, the following advice can be taken and incorporated into social media guidelines and governance:

        Remind employees of your social media policies regularly. Ensure your policy is clear in explaining their obligations.

        Remove recently departed employees as admins to your company page. The management of company pages is often attributed to employee’s personal LinkedIn accounts, so it’s important to remove former employees – particularly any disgruntled leavers – ASAP.

        Provide training on LinkedIn’s own guidelines regarding privacy and the setting up of secure accounts – their guidelines for this are very useful.

        Provide further guidance and training to Executives and key company spokespeople who may be required as part of their role to be more active across social channels.

Managing Risks To Company Pages

Exposure During Recent Data Leak

There are approximately 4 million company pages on LinkedIn, which means there are at minimum 4 million employees who are registered as ‘admins’. And admin has access and rights to manage all aspects of the company page.
During a recently publicized LinkedIn data breach (one that resulted in 117 million usernames and passwords being leaked and for sale on the dark web), serious issues around data protection and privacy emerged.

Should the sale of user data fall into the wrong hands, it becomes far more damaging to an organization if that user happens to be the manager of their company page.

With account takeovers, impersonation accounts, and faux profiles becoming more of an issue, the breach increases the risk of account takeover at this point in time.

The advice To Take

  • Remind employees who have admin rights to change their passwords as a priority. Whilst the data breach occurred in 2012, it is still recommended to amend passwords for any admin user for both personal and company protection.
  • Remind employees using LinkedIn to send messages to clients to regularly delete ‘aged’ or ‘confidential’ messages.
  • Ensure employees are aware of and are using LinkedIn’s ‘two step’ verification layer for additional security. Instructions can be found on the LinkedIn website, but this additional security step will send verification codes to a stored mobile where LinkedIn does not recognize the signing into an account from a device not recognized.
Moderating Content For Company Pages

Content moderation on LinkedIn is the management of content on your own Company or Brand page or on posts made to external LinkedIn Groups.

Comments can no longer be moderated on company or brand pages, but they can be reported if they exist on LinkedIn Groups. Users usually follow companies and rarely go back to the company page to review posts, as the posts are usually viewed from their own news feed. The largest risk area for inappropriate posts being made to a company page is through employees or third party agencies responsible for the content of these pages. If any comment is made on a post that is damaging to the brand or company, the original post can be removed.

Opinions should be allowed online, if the comments are not high risk, it may be that an alternative suggestion would be to re-order the posts on the company page (which is possible by an admin user) so that the sensitive post appears lower down.

If inappropriate content or comments do occur, the below section highlights the reporting tools that can be used to remove inappropriate content contravening LinkedIn’s community guidelines.

Reporting Inappropriate Content

LinkedIn has a comprehensive reporting center where users can report issues of concern or queries on:

1. Spam
2. Inappropriate profile photos
3. Inaccurate profiles
4. Fake Profiles
5. Inappropriate groups
6. Phishing or suspicious messages
7. Safety concerns

It is also possible to report inappropriate comments within a group.

Removing Deviant Comments

LinkedIn has removed the ability to report a comment, which used to be a feature whereby any visitor with an account could report an inappropriate comment.

Other Areas of Risk

Fake profiles have become a growing area of concern, particularly for many high profile individuals – professional and those in the public eye. Because LinkedIn profiles are public and rank in the search results, it is recommended that HR departments and Communications keep an eye out for imposter accounts and report them through LinkedIn.

Also, adult content and graphic sexual content is not permitted on LinkedIn, so no company or brand should have any images of this nature on their pages.


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