My exciting journey to the six year anniversary. A highlight was visiting the Linkedin headquarters in San Francisco.

Graphic Design by Laura Cunningham, San Diego

It all started in Zurich, Switzerland in early 2015. I decided to be my own boss and founded my business focused on Social Media Marketing. At that point, I had no idea where my business would take me in the first five years.

Celebrating with people who supported me in growing my business through good and challenging times.

Thank you very much, Cordula Rieger, Michaela Geiger, Franziska Kunz, Juerg Koller, Christoph Hilber, Marcel Rupp, Marcus A. Bergagård, Ewa Ming, Martina Dalla Vecchia, Dr. Carsten Henkel, Urs Kohler, and Andreas Jäggi.

Where my business started…

I founded Kessler Social Media in Zurich, Switzerland.

The next step was to extend my knowledge globally and find my niche. So, I flew to the heart of social media, the United States, where I attended the largest global social media marketing event in March 2015 in San Diego.

During a virtual Skype coffee, Andrew Smith recommended to me the Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, founded by Mike Stelzner. Taking part in this event has changed my private and business life – Wow, what an amazing experience! I was one of 3,000 participants in the world’s largest social media marketing event. I had fun and learned about new marketing opportunities for acquiring clients and strengthening our network through personal branding. The openness and warmth of people in California touched my heart and inspired me. A few months later I went back with a business visa to learn more about Linkedin marketing.

After my time in San Diego I focused on Linkedin only which was admittedly risky.

Everyone connected with me in San Diego using the Linkedin mobile app where they talked about the possibilities for job seekers, HR, and sales teams on how to attract talent and acquire leads. This was an eye-opener and I realized immediately that I’m neither using Linkedin strategically nor to its fullest potential in Switzerland. That knowledge was missing there at that time in our home country. Friends, colleagues, lecturers, and many more told me there is no need, especially in Switzerland, and that our business model would not work. But now, for more than five years, I have trained, inspired, and educated CEOs, Board Members, headhunters, recruiters, HR, sales and marketing teams, individuals, job seekers as well as students globally, both in person and with zoom video.

Great discussion with Mike Stelzner, Founder of the Social Media Marketing World, at his office in San Diego in December 2019

My speaking journey from a start-up event to large organisations and universities

I was a speaker at the IFJ Start-up event in St. Gallen in April 2015, and with more than 200 participants I shared my story and how Social Media can help start-ups to be known and grow their business. In the beginning, it was challenging to be on stage, but soon it was flowing nicely. I spoke at exhibitions like SuisseEMEX, Talent Pro and Swiss Online Marketing, events which led to more speaking engagements at large organizations. And since 2017 I was a guest speaker at the University of Zurich, ETH, AISTS Alumni, and the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden. I love to speak, inspire and then connect in real life or on Linkedin. Feedback from lectures is very apparent that participants not only come away motivated and encouraged from my presentations, but they also note how enthusiastic and energizing I am with the topic and what I have to say. My next goals are to speak to large audiences and to have a speaking engagement in San Diego (I was invited to speak at an annual event there but, unfortunately, no speaking slot was available).

I continues to share my unique vision and experiences as a speaker, primarily focused on educating professionals through presentations and keynotes about the power of Linkedin.

From speaker to lecturer

In November 2016 I was a guest lecturer at the FHNW in Basel, at the invitation of Professor Martina Dalla Vecchia. I addressed the students on how to build a strong and professional personal brand and reputation online. This led to more guest lecturing at HWZ and AISTS – International Academy of sport science and technology – in Lausanne. Starting in April 2020, I will be a lecturer at HWZ in Zurich, where I studied “Social Media Marketing and Strategy”. I will train the students on how to build their personal brand and find a job on Linkedin. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with students who are inspired and have the courage on Linkedin to take it to the next level(s); which is, of course, not everyone.

“Visiting the Linkedin Headquarters in California was a highlight”

A highlight was visiting the Linkedin headquarters in downtown San Francisco

How it happened… I was again attending the Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. I really wanted to visit the Linkedin headquarters. In the Linkedin article, you can read how my network helped me after posting in the newsfeed. Thanks a lot, Jared Vincent and Viraja Prema.

Globally featured in magazines

I was featured in the INC. Business Magazine, New York, on why Linkedin matters for businesses. Thanks to Rebekah Radice. And I was featured in Persorama the Swiss HR magazine, NZZ am Sonntags Zeitung “How Linkedin matters for job search” and many more.

My learnings as the founder

It was challenging to grow a business focused on Linkedin only when, in Switzerland in particular, only a handful of people and organizations were ready for this. Other Linkedin trainers in English speaking countries told me on Zoom Video calls that I was a pioneer in Switzerland.

Organizations, entrepreneurs and individuals were not ready to use the global social media tool strategically and through the help of external training, they did not have the right and long-term mindset it needed quite some time to convince them through our client success stories.

At the beginning, I only offered profile quality checks for job seekers and sole entrepreneurs. For me, everyone’s reputation is very important. That is why I’m now only offering premium team and one-to-one training with quality checks of every single personal and business profile. Linkedin is complex and so many underestimate this powerful tool. And, yes, it is completely different from other social media platforms (so many do not understand it or they do not have the knowledge or skills). In addition, it needs a clear strategy and consistency to be successful.

My deepest gratitude to my clients, friends, colleagues, family, lifestyle and business coaches and business partners

I would like to thank all my clients in Switzerland and globally (I can only name a few publicly and therefore we will not list any). I enjoy very much working with my clients and learning about their business, culture and much more. It is always exciting to travel to the clients’ offices and meeting them at the reception. A special thanks to my friends who have been there for me every time. Further thanks to my family who believed in me and supported me, especially in the beginning. And a thank you to our business partners who helped us with marketing.

Marcus Bergagård has been a great supporter and brought me my first clients and is a Linkedin early adopter. He introduced me to Frank Weber who gave me an introduction to the Linkedin Management team in Munich which opened interesting opportunities also at Linkedin Dublin. Thank you very much.

My awesome Linkedin community – thank you so much. I really like how you engage and build relationships with me in the newsfeed or Linkedin messaging – Keep it up!

Linkedin Switzerland team in Munich and Dublin – thanks, thanks, thanks!

A thank you to the Linkedin Management team and employees who are responsible for the Swiss market and for the great meetings in the past. It is great to work with you all. Looking forward to what comes next.

A special thanks to Stefan Ehlebracht (I saw his Linkedin article – Die besten Schweizer Personaldienstleister 2018 – Handelszeitung) for the great meetings in Zurich and the introductions to employees at Linkedin Dublin and Munich.

My leisure time with the middle poodle flake

As some of you know, I’m a dog lover since I returned from San Diego. One day I was walking to the train station in Männedorf. Flake was looking at me and wagging his tail. This is when I met the middle poodle and its owner Judith for the first time. This led to dog sitting and walking.

Flake and I are deeply connected and we have a nice friendship with Flake’s family. He cheers me up when we are relaxing together, going for walks or having fun at home.

Dogs touch my heart and put a big smile on my face, especially this one – Flaky-Boy.

Time to wake up the CEOs, the members of the management team, the board members and thought leaders

The power of Linkedin offers plenty of opportunities which are not yet used globally by the c-level. You can make yourself stand out as a CEO and sustainably strengthen your personal brand. Maximise your Linkedin presence strategically! Do it just like in real life: position yourself, build relationships and maintain your network with the Linkedin Mobile app (which is the most efficient way for c-level). Yes, it also works that way in Switzerland. Be a Thought Leader and an Influencer on Linkedin to support your company goals and attract talent. How could the CEOs leverage Linkedin to accelerate the implementation of his strategy? And in which areas of his organization could Linkedin add value to a winning overall communication smartly integrated with all other channels at hand.

Where will my journey lead me?

I would like to share my story in San Diego and Switzerland on a big stage about how I built my personal brand globally and how I have grown my business successfully with Linkedin.

From now on, I will be focusing on CEOs, leaders, executives, and mid-size SME’s and organizations and executive job seekers, who want to use Linkedin strategically and in the long term. Contact me if you are interested in working with me.

Erica Kessler

I’m the founder of Social Media Leaders GmbH. I’m a Linkedin marketing strategist, trainer, lecturer and international speaker. I empower and consult CEOs, business people, companies, universities in Switzerland and English speaking countries to boost influence, earn more business, identify potential clients, and find top talent using Linkedin marketing.