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How to Use LinkedIn As a CEO: Turning ‘Connections’ into ‘Profits’

After seeing my content on LinkedIn, a friend whom I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years connected me with a lead who trusted his recommendation and became a high-value client. Had I not made that post on LinkedIn, my company would have lost out on a $50,000 business opportunity. 

CEOs and other C-suite leaders are hesitant to put themselves out there for any number of reasons: They don’t have enough time, it’s not a priority or they don’t want to seem full of themselves. But companies that don’t activate their CEOs on LinkedIn lose revenue opportunities by failing to connect a key thought leader to their brand, meaning that they are quite literally leaving money on the table by staying silent. 

The costs are more far-reaching than just missed revenue. Let’s dive deeper: 

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Unrealized revenue and investments 

LinkedIn and the broader business context revolve around forging human connections. Instead of anonymous corporations, individuals seek meaningful interactions with real people. They desire conversations with industry leaders, the chance to relate to each other’s work or personal challenges, and a sense of belonging to a community.

CEOs often possess natural networking abilities and charisma. Consequently, they can establish a more profound emotional bond with their audience through their personal profiles, as opposed to official company pages. Research underscores this, with 93% of respondents agreeing that CEOs actively engaging on social media can cultivate stronger links with customers, employees and investors. These emotional bonds and virtual connections frequently translate into tangible outcomes, such as business transactions, attracting investors or forming other enduring relationships that pay dividends over time. 

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Poor or nonexistent brand identity

The CEO is an extension of and often the face of your company. Being active on LinkedIn can help CEOs build the credibility required to be regarded as a thought leader or subject matter expert in their industry, which is key to building a positive, transparent brand identity. A striking 91% of surveyed employees recognize social media as a potent tool for nurturing thought leadership and enhancing the credibility of C-Suite executives among various stakeholders, including the press and media.

Additionally, 75% of respondents believe that C-Suite social media engagement makes a brand seem more honest and trustworthy. Creating this kind of visibility elevates the entire brand image and can open doors to speaking engagements and media opportunities. 

On the flip side, an inactive LinkedIn profile may indicate to potential customers, investors and employees that the CEO is a mysterious figurehead in an ivory tower who isn’t concerned with interacting with his or her stakeholders. It may also give the impression that your company isn’t a forward-thinking organization that values social media marketing and regular connection with its audience. Failing to cultivate a brand identity means that your audience won’t be able to distinguish your company from your competitors. Or worse, they’ll prescribe their own perceptions of your brand. 

Isolation from important industry conversations

LinkedIn serves a greater purpose beyond aiding job seekers and salespeople seeking prospects. It’s also a place where important conversations about leadership, business, specific industries, consumer trends and the future of work are happening.

CEOs who remain inactive on LinkedIn risk being uninformed about pivotal news that could directly impact their company. Furthermore, they might find themselves excluded from vital conversations that offer insights for navigating various business, economic and political landscapes.

Neglecting to participate in these important conversations happening in the zeitgeist can be costly. A telling instance is the CEO of PagerDuty, who invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in an email announcing company layoffs. Her email attempt to link the fight for civil rights with her leadership challenges went viral and resulted in damaging backlash and media coverage. Had she paid attention to conversations happening on LinkedIn around the all-too-common phenomenon of co-opting social movements for corporate gain, this tone-deaf catastrophe could have been avoided. 

Lost opportunities to attract top talent

Posting regularly allows potential applicants to get an inside look at the company culture and who they would be working for. One of the companies I work with hired 18 people who cited the CEO’s LinkedIn posts as the reason they applied. That’s because people want to work for companies with leaders who are visible, approachable, and have clear values. A radio-silent CEO lacks the means to personally connect with potential candidates, ultimately failing to motivate top-tier talent to seek opportunities within the organization.

The power of personal connections forged by a CEO on LinkedIn cannot be understated. Opting for LinkedIn silence might not appear overtly detrimental. However, just as I hadn’t realized my friend-turned-customer was following my content, you might be unaware of who isn’t engaging with yours and the unrealized value of a missed connection. 


Justin NassiriJustin Nassiri is the Founder and CEO of Executive Presence, a full-service social media management provider for CEOs and top executives. He has served in the U.S. Navy onboard nuclear submarines, founded and sold three companies, and holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BS from the United States Naval Academy.

Top Entrepreneur Finalist: Jenn Knight, CTO and Niji Sabharwal, CEO

The wife-and-husband duo of Knight and Sabharwal met working together at LinkedIn in the Bay Area. “We really liked working with each other and were hoping to find another opportunity to do that,” says Sabharwal, 37. “I never would have thought it would be regulatory compliance software for the insurance industry.”

Knight, 36, concurs: “We worked together at LinkedIn, building things, and I never expected this would be the thing we built together, but it was a fun moment as we realized we had something we could probably make an impact with.”

But that’s what they did when they started AgentSync in California in 2018, then moved to Colorado with their startup in 2020. “It was a fantastic transition for us,” Knight says.

The company has scaled from three people to about 100 at its Denver office (and 130 total) in 2021 as it landed $100 million in VC investments since moving the HQ. Knight and Sabharwal forecast 2X growth in 2022 while hiring at least another 100 employees. Four new products — including “a pretty big, game-changing one,” Sabharwal says — are also on the calendar.

Another big event for the founders: They welcomed a baby to the family in late 2020. “I can’t even imagine doing that in San Francisco or really any other bigger city,” Sabharwal says. “The work/life balance here is exactly what we were shooting for.”

They live and work in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, and the commute is six minutes by foot. “Being able to walk our daughter to school is not something we ever would be able to do — and that’s been pretty miraculous,” Knight says.

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? Be patient and persistent. “The first year is always really hard and really lonely,” Knight says. “When you get through the first year, you start to get traction, things start to change, and things go forward.”


Agentsync Jenn Knight Cto And Niji Sabharwal Ceo
Niji Sabharwal, CEO | Jenn Knight, CTO

AgentSync’s mission is to create efficiency for the nation’s insurance industry – one more step forward among many in lowering insurance costs in the U.S.