After interviewing two of the most prolific connectors on LinkedIn – Steven Burda and Sanjoy Kumar Malik – I decided to start growing my own network of LinkedIn connections. Surprisingly, as I have been traveling across various marketing communities on LinkedIn, certain patterns have started to emerge as faces and profiles begin to echo one another. As a digital anthropologist, I’ve made some interesting and educational discoveries along the way. I’ve also had a visceral realization of just how many people are on LinkedIn these days. So many potential links, so little time!
Naturally, every individual on LinkedIn is a one of a kind original, but I began to wonder if there are common threads that tie us together – beyond just job titles and career experience? Toward that end, I took some inspiration from Tom Kelley’s seminal book, The Ten Faces of Innovation, and have identified The Ten Faces of LinkedIn. While not everyone fits neatly into these categories, I’ve found these descriptions provide a useful lens for building teams, making contacts, as well as thinking about my own skills and abilities.
Whether you are looking to craft an innovative and meaningful marketing campaign, build a great team, or simply want to improve your own LinkedIn profile, consider this a basic field guide for spotting the many unique and unusually talented marketing professionals who can now be found in the ever-growing LinkedIn universe. Also, please note that while I focused on marketing, many of these roles apply across various industries in today’s project-driven world.
1). The Scout
Every marketing team needs at least one talented Scout – the person who instinctively spots the crucial trend, the key piece of customer information, the critical white paper or the latest technology that winds up driving exceptional results. Admittedly, this type of Scout can be difficult to identify on LinkedIn – keep your eye out for people who seem to share a steady stream of esoteric but deeply meaningful articles, leading-edge tips, and other content gems that you haven’t seen anywhere else. If you can’t get them to join your team, be sure to follow them!
Somewhat analytical and tech-driven by nature, Converters are obsessed with pulling in leads, and then driving people to take action. In today’s digital environment, all successful marketers need to have a little streak of the Converter in them – but there are certain people out there who absolutely thrive on testing things, making mistakes, moving fast, and most importantly – converting for growth. If you find one of these Converters, see if they have time to jolt your own campaign to the next level! Keep an eye out for words like “growth”, “conversion”, “lead generation”, “measurement”, “testing”, and of course “rapid results”.
Mashers love to mash up ideas, content, and cultures until something new and amazing cooks up. Mashers are voracious readers, trivia buffs, and cultural adventurers. They tend to congregate in unusual places and thus can be hard to uncover – but keep an eye out for multiple languages, varied career paths, and an eclectic set of groups and interests. All of these are a strong giveaway for spotting these invaluable mash up artists who will inevitably and effortlessly take your marketing content to the next level.
When you absolutely need to get the job done, who do you call? That person is likely an unstoppable Mucker who knows how to roll up their sleeves and dive into trouble, no matter how deep. Muckers typically do not have the most exciting profiles on LinkedIn – that’s because they are too busy rolling ahead in their careers like a freight train. When you are in the long march of a big and complicated marketing campaign, make sure to bring along some Muckers! They are often the ones who will carry everyone over the finish line. Look for a steady string of accomplishments, recommendations, and promotions. Chances are they will be too busy to respond to you, but you never know!
Sometimes frowned upon as trouble makers, Instigators make things happen and certainly don’t wait for permission. Most companies know they need Instigators – but don’t really know where to position them. Often hidden away under unassuming titles such as “project manager”, “designer”, or even “account manager”, Instigators are the mighty flywheels powering marketing innovation at every successful company. Look for profile stories of startup success, invention, and cross-channel marketing exploits of all sizes.
It takes a special type of person to lead a diverse marketing team, especially as marketing grows from its creative roots and starts combining with technology, social channels, analytics, big data, and more. Talent Whisperers are a special breed, combining the deep experience needed to recognize talent across a range of specialties with the Zen insight of how and when to inspire, cajole, and otherwise push their teams to the next level. Great Talent Whisperers are hard to identify from their profile alone, but look for a string of successful projects, productions and accomplishments, as well as recommendations from a wide range of people.
Just like method actors throw themselves into the lives of their characters, the elusive Method Strategist has an uncanny sense for setting the marketing strategy by throwing themselves into the challenge at hand. Analytical, imaginative, and diligent, Method Strategists immerse themselves in every detail of what customers might be feeling, thinking, dreaming, doing until they develop an unshakeable sense of what customers want, as well as insights into things customers don’t even know they need. “Customer obsessed” is a giveaway for these powerful customer advocates.
The Listener is another role that many people occupy in addition to their “official job title” – but their presence is essential to keep things moving smoothly – especially in companies undergoing rapid change and steep challenges. In other words, in today’s business environment, every company out there needs Listeners who can provide brief moments of empathy, words of encouragement, and a calming presence. Rarely will you uncover Listeners from reading their profiles, but they can easily be unmasked based on their glowing and heartfelt recommendations.
Content Crafters are those people who can make their lunch break sound like an adventure to the farthest reaches of the Amazon. This is a skill that all marketers need to cultivate, celebrate, recruit for, and put at the core of their teams. While to some degree, the skills of Content Crafter can be learned and practiced, be sure to keep on the lookout for those rare “natural storytellers” who often play in a league all their own. “Writer”, “designer”, “content marketer”, and “producer” are some of the titles under which these incredible Content Crafters are hiding.
Worth their weight in gold if you can find one, great Campaign Composers provide that certain feeling of je ne sais quoi to your content flow, ensuring that just the right content gets sent at the right time to the right person. With virtuosity across content marketing, customer analytics and marketing automation – these marketing Mozarts go about their calling with an expansive vision and intense detail, ensuring that your content flows in majestic harmony.
We are entering an era of LinkedIn Global Marketing. Driven by rapidly evolving technology, and ever-changing customer needs, today’s marketing teams need to constantly reassess the skills needed in order to craft truly meaningful customer experiences. In this environment, I believe these Ten Faces of LinkedIn are a great starting point for assessing gaps in your team, as well as thinking more creatively about your own LinkedIn profile.
The Ten Faces of LinkedIn
1). The Scout
2). The Converter
3). The Masher
4). The Mucker
5). The Instigator
6). The Talent Whisperer
7). The Method Strategist
8). The Listener
9). The Content Crafter
10). The Campaign Composer
P.S. Please add some comments, or get in touch if you’ve seen other LinkedIn faces out there that we should keep an eye out for.