LinkedIn may not make headlines as frequently as Twitter and Facebook, but if you’re looking for a social network to build professional connections, it’s far and away the best.
In fact, a recent study from Shareaholic found that though LinkedIn brings in fewer social referrals than its big competitors, it has a lower bounce rate and higher average time spent on site and average page visits than both Facebook and Twitter. In short, this translates to higher quality connections than you might find on LinkedIn’s more gregarious (and less professional) social siblings.
What’s more, there have been developments at LinkedIn over the past few weeks that make it even easier for you to build up your brand on the site and grow your network among professionals in your industry. Here’s a rundown of these new changes and how you can use them to your advantage.
In early October, 2012, LinkedIn announced the release of a new feature known as LinkedIn Influencers. This service allowed some of the most influential thought leaders – everyone from Barack Obama to Martha Stewart – to share insight with the LinkedIn community. It should come as no surprise that these posts averaged more than 30,000 views.
Now, however, LinkedIn has announced it is expanding its publishing platform, allowing anyone in any business, big or small, to share thoughtful, insightful content with not just the people in their network, but also individuals who choose to follow them without making an official LinkedIn connection. In essence, this gives you the potential to expand your audience far beyond those you reach with your status and profile updates.
GETTING THE CONTENT RIGHT
There’s no telling whether this new development will prove useful, but the idea is promising. That being said, if you want to see the benefits of the new publishing platform, then you need to make sure your content is hitting the mark. There are a few potential pitfalls with this new program, and if not done correctly, you could end up spending a lot of time creating content that no one will read.
First, LinkedIn is very clear in their blog post that this new development aims to encourage users to post thoughtful, industry-specific insights. That means it’s not a place to simply regurgitate news articles that interest you, but rather a space to host content that show you’re ahead of the game and on top of your field. It goes without saying that the content must be neat, reader-friendly and error free – so consider running it by a copyeditor before you post it.
SEPARATING THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL
What’s interesting about this new development is that it further blurs the lines between personal LinkedIn profiles and company pages. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as your personal page on LinkedIn should be a reflection of the company you work for, particularly if you’re in a C-level position. Think of the employee profiles associated with your company page as the personal side of your business.
The benefit of having this publishing tool associated with your personal profile is that it allows you to use your more “intimate” page to reach out to people within your network. Your post won’t be seen as some promotional company blog post, but rather as a unique and personal account, and that makes it a lot more shareable.
The main issue with this development, however, comes for those who are charged with managing both high-profile personal pages and a company page. It can be a complex endeavour to juggle these two facets of LinkedIn, which is why it may be in your best interest to use a tool that makes this balancing act less challenging.
For example, Buddy Media (which, I’ll admit, is part of my company’s ExactTarget platform) allows you to manage your content and various campaigns on all of the major social network platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. There are all sorts of content types you can manage with this tool, including interactive social apps, and what’s more, it allows you to monitor engagement, conversions and demographics of your fans and followers.
A TWO-WAY STREET
Even with a tool like Buddy Media in your corner, it will take some marketing savvy to leverage the posts you make on LinkedIn. You need to think carefully about whom you want to target, and come up with ways to create insightful posts that reach out to these individuals (without coming off as a total sales pitch).
Remember that social interaction is a two way street. You may have created some excellent content for LinkedIn, but if you’re not reading, sharing and commenting on blogs from others within your network and industry, then you’ll just be posting into an abyss. Devote as much time as you spend on writing to interacting with others, and you’ll likely see your social engagement on LinkedIn explode.
*Original Article by Ryan Boccini: http://www.brw.com.au/p/marketing/leveraging_linkedin_using_the_social_cF6aUUYFXwJq82lULg91kI