Will LinkedIn’s Repositioning Work?

linkedin-linkedin

It used to be that when someone mentioned that they had an account on LinkedIn, people’s response was ‘so you’re looking for another job then?’

LinkedIn has moved on from just being a recruitment website, but this repositioning has not been without its challenges. It has developed into a website which is still heavily used by recruiters (as it should be, it is a great platform for identifying talent), but also used by prospectors.

If you are a regular LinkedIn user, you will be familiar with receiving a LinkedIn invitation from a contact who seems to have an industry / interest in common, only to receive a pitch email within minutes of connecting. In a lot of cases, this makes LinkedIn more beneficial for the prospector than the (potential) customer. If regular users start to disengage with LinkedIn, the network will disappear. Not only that, but the pressure is already on with the rate of revenue growth slowing at the end of 2015 / start of 2016. So what have LinkedIn done to rectify this?

They have realised that they have a large number of accounts on the network, many of which on a daily basis are sharing content from all around the internet. So LinkedIn is acting as a powerful referrer. Also, while they have been encouraging users to upload their own content (through the write an article feature that was introduced a couple of years ago), visibility of that content is fairly low.

So, LinkedIn has introduced a feature to allow people to search through the huge amount of content that is published from within LinkedIn. Previously, using the search function to search for, say, ‘content marketing’ would firstly show you people who work in content marketing. However, you can now search ‘Posts’, so your search will show all posts about content marketing. A nice addition to the network I think.

So, will it work? Regular users of LinkedIn will still share their content on LinkedIn, particularly if they can see the benefits of posting to their connections and having their article indexed by search engines (all LinkedIn articles are public). Access to this content will need to outweigh any of the perceived disadvantages of spending time on LinkedIn, e.g. being sold to by an irrelevant product.

I fear it may be too late. If you are looking for an article on content marketing, where are you likely to start? Twitter already has thousands of communities which share content on all sorts of subjects from all over the internet. And of course there is also the small matter of Google which is the go-to resource for search (in the UK anyway).

If LinkedIn’s articles can rank well in Google’s search results (from a straw poll, this seems like an opportunity to improve), it can pick up traffic from this source, but I don’t think LinkedIn will develop into a go-to website for content. Which means that while LinkedIn has added a nice feature, I think it will take more to reposition such a large social network.

7 Tips for LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn is a unique social network. It is where a broad range of professionals spend their time online, and there are a lot of them who do so! The perception that people set up their profile and then forget about LinkedIn is unfair too, as in April 2015, there were 187 million unique monthly visitors to LinkedIn.

But what are these people doing when they are on LinkedIn? It is one of three things:

  • Connecting and engaging with their individual connections
  • Participating in LinkedIn groups
  • Checking out company profiles and updates

If someone is checking out your company page, then you want that to reflect what your business is all about. To help you do that, here are 7 tips to impressing the audience with your LinkedIn company page:

1) Set up your page correctly – Make sure that the description of your business on your page is accurate, and that you display all of the products and services that you sell. You can add some rich media here, so make sure you use it – it’s more engaging.

2) Target your updates – If you are lucky enough to have a large company page following, you will soon realise that sending one message to all of your audience will not work – you need to segment. And you are able to segment by company size, seniority of role, location and more. And when you do share your message, include good wuality images: stock photos won’t do it!

3) Sponsor key posts – Ensuring that your update is seen by your audience is not easy. Not everyone is online at the same time particularly if you have an international audience, although digging into the analytics will help you know when best to post. So for your most important posts, consider sponsoring them.

4) Careers page – LinkedIn is more than just somewhere to find a job – but having said that, it is still somewhere that people go to find a job! You should set up a careers page to promote your business and attract the best calibre of candidate. Again, this can be sponsored if you are trying to recruit for a particularly important.

5) Your staff can help – A great way to kickstart your LinkedIn company page is to ask your staff to interact with your page. They can help to share your posts, which will expose your messages to your staff’s connections, and can even get involved in creating content for the page.

6) Don’t always be selling – When you do some research into why people unfollow social media accounts, one of the key reasons is because the account is always selling their product. You should have a mix of content about your industry, your business and content that your audience would find useful or entertaining.

7) Know your analytics – The LinkedIn analytics package is getting better and better after every update. In the package now, you will be able to tell what posts were engaged with, so you will be able to work out pretty quickly what day, time and style of content is working.

Do you have any top tips for LinkedIn company pages that have worked for you?

5 LinkedIn Mistakes to Avoid

LinkedIn Mistakes Wordpress

LinkedIn Mistakes WordPress

LinkedIn is a massive social network – with over 350 million members, it is the world’s third largest social network, behind only Facebook and Twitter.
However, lots of members does not mean that everyone is doing it right – for example, 50% of Twitter users have never actually sent a tweet.

And only around 50% of LinkedIn members actually visit LinkedIn each month.  But despite your LinkedIn profile reflecting who you are professionally, there are some mistakes which millions of people are making.  Here are the most common ones:

Incomplete Profile: Completing your LinkedIn profile is actually quite a big task.  There is a lot of information that LinkedIn would like you to share.  And I’m not referring to people filling out 100% of information; just filling in the basics will mean that you are ahead of most LinkedIn members– name (not nickname), your current role, photo and summary.

But this doesn’t just apply to individuals – a lot of companies have not completed their profile by explaining what they actually do.  This, along with creating showcase pages for your key products / services, should be a minimum for any company page.

No Photo (or the wrong one): This is probably the most common mistake, and the least forgivable.  Not having a photo on your profile screams out ‘this is a spam account’, so what sort of impression do you think this creates?   But don’t just use any photo – avoid photos of you at a party, with your kids (if not relevant to industry), overly arty or just of a poor quality.  You shouldn’t need to hire a professional photographer, but if you’re going to take the photo yourself, make sure it doesn’t look like you are taking it yourself – no duck-face selfie please!

No interaction: One of the features that I really like about LinkedIn is that there are lots of ways to interact with the community.  So not doing so is not making the most of LinkedIn – you can interact via groups, by following and interacting with companies, with your connections and even by posting your thoughts in a status update or an actual post.

It’s called a social network so get social!

Poorly Connecting: There are two big mistakes when it comes to connecting with people.  Firstly, receiving unexpected invites to connect from people with whom you don’t have any common ground is unsettling.  Have I met these people in the flesh or online; are they a friend of a friend; or are they a completely random stranger?  It’s normally the latter!

The second problem is using the default connection request – ‘I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn’.  If you over-type this and explain why you would like to connect, then not only is it more personal (and more likely to result in a connection), then it also explains who you are.

Unsolicited InMail: Like regular email, there is etiquette for LinkedIn InMail.  But unlike regular mail, InMail doesn’t have a Spam filter so you can expect people to drop you emails requesting all sorts of things!  InMail is a powerful marketing tool, but only if the recipient is open to being communicated with.  Otherwise, it is spam and deserves its place in the Trash folder.

LinkedIn Company Pages New Features

LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn

This week, LinkedIn introduced some new features for its company pages.

Post custom images:

If you have posted a link on a company update, then you may have had the frustration of not being able to select an appropriate image to accompany the link, particularly when you are linking to a website that you don’t run, and one where you cannot control the featured image. This issue is now solved, as you can select the image from your computer which will over-write the default image. A very nice feature which will allow companies to show off their creative side, as a more striking image should drive more engagement.

LinkedIn Image Upload 1
Click on the symbol in the top right hand corner
LinkedIn Image Upload 2
You can upload an image from your computer here

Like and Comment as a Company:

This is being rolled out and has not been implemented on the company pages that I manage, but I presume that this will work in the same way as Facebook, where you can switch whether you are using the network as yourself or the company. This feature a pretty clever move by LinkedIn, as it encourages companies to send more updates. The better quality content that is being posted, the better the likelihood of engagement, which means the better the chance of being able to use this new feature. I follow around 100 companies and very, very rarely receive any updates – so I think LinkedIn is using this feature to drive the number and quality of company updates.

New Company Feed:

If you go to linkedin.com/company/home, then you will see a news feed of your company updates. This is a great feature, and separates this feed from your regular news feed which will include all manner of updates, some of which are more interesting than others. This is a good opportunity to showcase the content that they post from their company page.

It’s pretty clear that LinkedIn is putting a lot of emphasis on company pages. From my experience of LinkedIn, the weakest part of the network. Personal networking is excellent, the groups are a great way of finding new information and networking, but the company pages are infrequent and often poor quality. Let’s hope that these new features change this situation.

Get more from LinkedIn

LinkedIn

LinkedInIn my opinion, LinkedIn is one of the most under-utilised social networks around today.  Lots of people have a profile on LinkedIn, but there is so much more to it than just that!  So, what else can you do on a social network that has almost 250 million people on it?

Get the basics right:  The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you are representing yourself as you would like to.  So, make sure that your profile has a good amount of information on it (not too much, not too little!), and make sure that you have a photo – there are a lot of spam LinkedIn accounts and a profile with no photo is one of the red flags.  Show that you are a human!

Who do you want to hear from?  There are a lot of companies on LinkedIn, so if you have an interest in a company, or they are a competitor of yours, then follow them and see what they are up to.  This will not only give you their news (assuming that they are sending updates!), but also a chance to interact with the company by commenting on their update.  This can be useful if you are trying to get on a company’s radar.

Groups are awesome:  Groups are my favourite part of LinkedIn.  Nowhere else on the web can you find groups of such specific people – whatever your job, it is likely that there is a LinkedIn group where you can get all of the latest news and make some new connections.  But don’t just sit back and read then news, get involved.  Add comments, start discussions and interact with people on groups – they are a great way of professionally meeting new people.

Take the hard sell elsewhere:  As with any social network, if you are selling all the time, then you are going to turn people off.  So, instead of just commenting on posts where you have a platform to sell your product, add some value back into the network too, e.g. by offering useful advice – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell where it is appropriate, but remember to change the record!

Consider the audience:  This is one of the pillars of marketing, and it is very important on LinkedIn.  I would guess that the majority of people who are on LinkedIn also have a Facebook account.  But they will post about very different subjects because they are portraying different sides of their personality, and are open to different messages.  So, don’t post about your friend’s stag do on LinkedIn, trust me, I have actually seen that!  LinkedIn is a professional network, so tailor your content accordingly.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

There are a lot of people who are looking to get the most out of LinkedIn.  There are millions of professionals on the network, and surely it can’t be too difficult to get the attention of the right people?  Well, there are lots of ways of doing this, but is a LinkedIn Group the answer?  And if so, what do I need to think about?

First Impressions Last:

The name and description of your LinkedIn Group is crucial.  Like search engines, LinkedIn uses the words used here to organise search results to people who are searching for groups.  If you are in a specialist industry, then use the keywords that people in your industry use.  And don’t forget the call to action in your group description – join, apply, click, etc., will all encourage people to join.

Rule 1 – Obey The Rules:

Although LinkedIn is comfortably the least trolled social network, it is still worth spending time pulling together your group policy and rules.  If you don’t think you need it, how would you deal with the following – someone who constantly posts spammy links; someone who is selling their product on your group; someone uses inappropriate language.  You need a policy and there are some great examples on the web that you can use to help you with your structure.

Lead from the front:

The group manager is a very important role, and should be someone who has the expertise to keep the conversation going.  They need to welcome new members, post new and interesting content, questions, polls and articles, recruit new members and become the face of the group.  In short, a lot of work, so be prepared!

So, we have answered some questions about LinkedIn groups, but should you create one?  Well, if you have a unique proposition, want to engage with a clearly targeted audience and are prepared to commit the time to recruit members and keep them interested with fresh and relevant content, the answer could well be yes.  But you must be committed to the long-term – failure to do this is the reason why so many LinkedIn groups just don’t work.

How LinkedIn Works

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

So, you’ve created your LinkedIn profile, and uploaded a photo, so you can tick the LinkedIn box right?  Wrong!  Congratulations on taking the first steps, but you haven’t even scratched the surface of what LinkedIn can do for you.

LinkedIn is a great social network, but unlike Facebook and Twitter, it has a number of different elements which you need to understand to get the most out of this social network.  Whether you are looking to hook up with people you know in the off-line world, nurture relationships with new contacts or generate leads, an understanding of the different elements of LinkedIn and how they work together will help you on your way.

Your Profile Probably Isn’t Finished:

  • I read last week that over 50% of LinkedIn profiles are incomplete.  That is a high number (over 100m people), but I don’t necessarily think that you need to complete every part of your profile.  You may want to ‘keep your powder dry’ with some parts, and I think that’s OK.
  • However, there is one part of the profile that you really must complete, your summary.  This is what’s used when someone searches for people on LinkedIn – so include the key words and phrases for your industry.

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth:

  • There are millions of companies that have a profile on LinkedIn.  You can find out what industry they are in, where they are based, how many employees they have and what products / services they sell.
  • To receive updates from that company, you can follow it – useful if you are looking for a job at the company (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone!).

Where My Target Audience Hangs Out:

  • LinkedIn Groups is where LinkedIn really comes to life.  Whatever your industry, there is a LinkedIn group where people are talking about your subject.  Groups are where people with something in common talk network and discuss – it might be location, industry, skill, anything!
  • You can use groups as a research tool, or even better to contribute towards the group – ask questions, answer questions and develop relationships with highly targeted groups of individuals.
  • They are great for lead generation and relationship building.

I’ve Got Something To Say:

  • If you want to share a message (either publicly or just to your LinkedIn connections), then you can send a message from your home page.  It is this content that keeps LinkedIn an interesting place to hang out, so make sure you contribute!
  • If you’re not feeling confident enough to post your own content, you can like, share or comment on posts from others.

Sharing the Love:

  • LinkedIn lets you tell others about how great you think someone is!  You can recommend someone by writing a quick recommendation for them, or an even quicker way of commending someone is to endorse them – you don’t need to write anything, just click on their profile, page down to get to the Skills and Expertise section, and click against all of the areas of expertise that that person claims to have.

Contributing towards LinkedIn doesn’t need to take hours every day, a mistake that a number of blogs make.  Being able to fit these elements of LinkedIn together in your mind and prioritising where to spend your precious time (which will depend on your objective) will help you get the most out of this great social network.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about LinkedIn by leaving a comment.