By Heather Baker, Director of PR at TopLine Communications.
The social networking platform LinkedIn is fast becoming the network of choice for UK professionals, with 1 million new users signing up during the first eight months of this year (bring the total to 4m current UK members, covering one third of the country’s professionals).
Historically, individuals have used the platform as ‘yet another’ space to load a static profile, simply detailing their current position, professional focus and little else. However, the savvy marketer is truly leveraging the power of this networking phenomenon.
LinkedIn is a tool for differentiating yourself in terms of employability and colleague-ability by building networks with colleagues and prospects and securing personal recommendations. These help develop your, or an organisation’s online presence. However, interaction is also an essential part of maximising what the benefit of LinkedIn.
The ‘groups’ function allows you to identify and join professional interest groups and take part in live discussions with other members, providing online hubs of advice on specific business issues, potentially leading to new working relationships.
Being able to connect with likeminded individuals (in the professional sense) is one of LinkedIn’s primary qualities – profile elements and group activities allow for networking to be refined down to connecting with the right type of person, with the right experience in the right place.
From a marketing perspective, LinkedIn provides a more reliable and ‘clued up’ cross section of opinion for analysis. The professional nature of the network means there is a natural appetite for discussing topical issues. The net result for clients is a focused source of research and intelligence amongst existing groups, where opinion and debate can help inform and support the development of campaigns.
Creating groups on behalf of clients helps position them as experts, but this needs careful planning and execution. Simply creating a group and targeting promotional material at its members is guaranteed to damage an organisation’s reputation.
Instead, ensure the basis for setting up the group is knowledge or advice, and that it remains an ongoing forum for discussing the issues that matter to end users in a specific industry. A regular flow of useful links, advice and questions addressed to group members will help push traffic to the group and stimulate pro-active discussion.
Keeping the content issues-based brings its own rewards – regular and accurate responses to individual queries (posted by members) means this dialogue can be followed up by the group manager on an individual basis, potentially leading to new business relationships.
LinkedIn is a highly valuable tool for individuals and organisations alike, offering the benefits of traditional networking from a credible and professionally focused platform. It can save time, save money and have excellent new business and other results.
Check out 12ahead, our brand new platform
covering the latest in cutting-edge digital marketing and creative technology from around the globe.
12ahead identifies emerging trends and helps
you to understand how they can apply to modern-day companies.
We believe 12ahead can put you and your
business 12 months ahead of the competition. Sign up for a free trial today.