Walking a Blended Line: The Changing Roles of Marketing and Business Development

An Exercise in Reflection – A Closer Look at LinkedIn Personas

By: Caren Rodriguez

Recently I was invited to speak to an audience of industry financial professionals on the topic of “social media.” No small task for a subject that immense. Thankfully, the organizers granted mercy upon me and we were able to narrow the social media topic down to one platform, LinkedIn, along with a few workplace specific considerations and best practices. I organized my thoughts and focused the discussion on strategy. I wanted the audience to understand the upside of being deliberate and thoughtful in their communications. Sprinkling in a few words of encouragement for reluctant LinkedIn users, I spoke the words I’ve often had to say to myself over the years:  you can grow now or can watch others grow.

To prepare, I naturally wanted to do my due diligence. I hoped to practice what I preached and be more purposeful on LinkedIn. I did what we so often desire in communication; I listened before I spoke. I watched. I observed. I did not post a thing.  I saw LinkedIn for how it was being used versus what we hope it would be used for. And as a result, themes emerged during my time as a silent observer.

When absorbing massive amounts of information, it is a natural instinct to organize that information into categories. In the end, I saw the following 4 LinkedIn Personas emerge*:

Persona #1: The “Expert”

  • This LinkedIn user is very much aware of their niche strategy. They are not generalists, but rather gurus in their industry or subject matter of choice.
  • They strictly share thought leadership within a specific knowledge sphere.
  • They are the first to engage on that most crucial or important finding with a reasoned and detailed explanation.

Persona #2: The Connector

  • This LinkedIn user frequently tags others.
  • They most commonly use LinkedIn to make introductions and connect people to right place at the right time.
  • They highlight career and professional development opportunities.
  • If there’s event or industry social, they are using all the LinkedIn tools at their disposal.

Persona #3:  The Go-Getter

  • Put simply, a LinkedIn user on a mission.
  • These individuals highlight each and every professional activity.
  • They use the image and video options frequently, often to accompany a post of them in action.
  • They travel often and use LinkedIn as their online rolodex to maximize every opportunity.

Persona #4: The Cheerleader!

  • They like every post! They like that video! They like that inspirational quote!
  • They are the “like and share” champion of your firm!
  • They set the positive example for emerging leaders and others!

When looking at social media platform through the eyes of a persona, it echoes what we so often do in marketing whether it be through the personas of our target clients or audience group. It allows us to be in charge of the experience, to stay focused, and to remain on strategy.

I took my LinkedIn Persona theory to a group of professionals over lunch at my firm. I wanted to hear their perspective and emphasize key takeaways about using social media wisely through a new lens. I hoped to encourage them to think about how they communicated on social media and what the perception may be of them. What category would our clients, prospects, community leaders put them in?

The audience agreed with much head nodding (that’s quite enthusiastic for a lunch time CPE session) and I even was asked, “Was that you?” when I came to Persona #4.  (Yes, admittedly, I’m a LinkedIn cheerleader and partly because, I do look a bit like the avatar used in my PowerPoint at the time).

I’m curious, do you think my observations hold true? What personas would you add to the list?

*My theory holds massive generalizations for which I will ask both forgiveness and permission.



About Caren Rodriguez

With more than fifteen years’ experience in strategic marketing and communications, Caren is an experienced Marketing Director with a history of leading marketing and growth strategies in professional service firms and among their professionals.

As Director of Marketing at DMJ & Co., PLLC for more than ten years, Caren manages firm-wide marketing and business development initiatives that span three office locations across North Carolina. Her responsibilities include communications, public relations, brand development, strategic partnerships, marketing strategy, and digital media efforts. In 2014, Caren was elected to the Association for Accounting Marketing’s Board of Directors where she is currently serving on the executive committee in the role of Secretary. She has been awarded the Triad Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award and is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina. Caren earned her degree in Communications from North Carolina State University.

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