How to Influence Your Employees’ LinkedIn Profiles (Without Breaking the Law)

Kristin Luke

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LinkedIn is a great tool for financial advisors to promote their business, research prospects, connect with centers-of-influence (COIs) and ask for referrals. Because it has so much potential, advisors often want their employees to use their personal accounts to promote the business. While this may sound like a great idea on the surface, you need to tread carefully, as 21 states have passed legislation banning employer access to workers’ social media accounts.

According to, state laws generally prohibit one or more of the following:

  • Asking applicants or employees to bring up their social media accounts in the employer’s presence;
  • Requiring employees to accept “friend” or other linking requests from coworkers, managers and supervisors;
  • Requiring applicants or employees to change the privacy settings on their social media accounts; and
  • Asking employees to advertise the company’s products or services on their own social media pages.

Even if you do not conduct business in one of the states that have enacted social media legislation, the tide is moving in that direction and it makes sense to assume that you will have to follow these policies in the near future.

While you need to obey your state’s legal requirements, it is also important to ensure that your employees, especially those who are client-facing, are accurately representing your company’s brand on social media. To satisfy both of these goals, establish and document LinkedIn profile recommendations for your employees to implement on their own if they choose.

Here are a few points to consider when establishing your recommendations:

  • Do you have a branded background photo you would like to use?
  • Do you have specific company headshots you would like to use?
  • Do you have a desired format for the headline?
  • Is there a specific way you want your company to be described in the summary and experience sections?
  • Do you have videos, images or brochures that you would like your employees to include in the summary section of their profiles?
  • Do you have a LinkedIn company page that you want them to link to?