Did you know that LinkedIn launched in 2003? Yes, that’s right. Come fall, LinkedIn is 15 years old.

LinkedIn is not new, novel or a fad. It is well established with more than half a billion members and will continue to grow as part of Microsoft and their family of 1.2 billion Outlook users.

If you haven’t taken the time or invested some effort into learning how you, your business and career can benefit from the world’s largest professional network, it’s time. If you don’t have time, find someone who can help you, teach you, manage it for you. In 2015, I wrote about how you should choose who should manage LinkedIn and your social platforms. It’s still a valid post and will help you determine who is best suited to manage LinkedIn for you.

So, as you enter 2018, I want to encourage you, hmm….implore you— CEOs, business owners, marketers, recruiters, sales professionals and entrepreneurs, to stop considering, discussing and planning and get busy planning the LinkedIn coaching and training you and your team needs. I haven’t met a CEO or team yet that doesn’t benefit from developing a better LinkedIn profile and strategy. Answer the questions below. Your answers will inform how you move forward and celebrate you and your team’s good work.

Review your executive leadership team’s LinkedIn profiles (CEO or business owner included) with the following in mind:

  1. If your largest client’s CEO reviewed your leadership team’s profiles, would they be impressed?
  2. Would your client understand how your company serves their clients?
  3. Does their profile look like their resume?
  4. Do they have an up to date professional photo?
  5. Do they have few connections?

Review your sales team’s LinkedIn profiles with the following in mind:

  1. Would their clients and prospects understand how your salespeople help solve problems, provide a superior product or service, and add value?
  2. Do their profiles look like resumes of quota-crushing salespeople who are going to “sell” as soon as they talk to someone?
  3. Do they have an up to date professional photo?
  4. Are they connecting with the right people (clients, prospects, centers of influence etc.)?
  5. Are they sharing the content your marketing team is creating, (assuming you are creating original blogs, white papers, ebooks, and videos)?

Review your hiring and talent acquisition team’s LinkedIn profiles with the following in mind:

  1. Are they leveraging their LinkedIn profiles to talk about why your company is a preferred employer?
  2. Are they creating a potential bench of candidates for your company?
  3. Does their LinkedIn profile and network include a company description or value proposition?
  4. Do they have an up to date professional network?

Over and over, people tell me they use LinkedIn every day. In fact, I was recently working with a group where well over 75% of the group said they were on LinkedIn every day and felt rather confident with using LinkedIn. When I asked them to check their Social Selling Index score, which is based on their professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights and building relationships, only one person had a score of more than 50.

Why use the Social Selling Index score as a barometer to determine how effective someone is on LinkedIn? It’s objective. It’s not my opinion but LinkedIn’s algorithm at work. It level sets an individual or team quickly and focuses people’s activity so they can become more effective. I talk with people every day who think their profile is perfectly acceptable until they begin to understand how their profile could look. It’s all relative.

Controlling your story and building your brand and network, whether one individual or a company of 10,000, requires ongoing insight, coaching and training. Don’t let another year slip by without thinking strategically about how you and your team can increase your sales and recruiting funnels through LinkedIn.