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Is LinkedIn the next big wave you should be riding?

During the last few years, we have been going absolutely ga-ga over mainstream social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. We seem to always be snapping pictures of our vacations or the fancy desserts we are having or sharing memes and more. But, as companies look for new ways to engage with their customers, employees and stakeholders on mainstream social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a surprising number are turning to LinkedIn. All of which raises the question: could LinkedIn be the next big thing for brands?

What makes LinkedIn so attractive to professionals? For one, it is more straight to the point and delivers a no nonsense experience. Whereas about a decade ago, it was merely a place you posted your resume, it has organically grown into a very reliable network on which individuals can “network”, showcase their talents and experience, look for new business, share their opinions and learn new things. Companies and brands on the other hand can not only look to recruit talent, but also create awareness for their brand as something more than just a logo or a website with static and boring content.

LinkedIn has matured over the past decade and a half that it has been around. In fact, most of us tend to forget that it is one of the oldest social media platforms out there, even older than Facebook and Twitter. After Microsoft’s acquisition of the platform, it has really managed to change its strategy to become a more “business content” driven aggregator, where you can teach and learn a whole bunch of stuff.

At of the end of 2017, LinkedIn had 260 million monthly active users, most of whom are serious users. Perhaps more to the point, these users are by definition: business professionals. They’re generally upwardly mobile and turn to the network for serious engagement, not to share memes or launch rants on politics or bad food served at their local pizzeria.

In today’s competitive employment marketplace, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to showcase their reputation as great places to work. Companies that are able to send a message that they’re a genuinely progressive, engaging and even fun place to work often have an advantage over rivals and LinkedIn which is filled with professionals looking for jobs is the optimal place to convey that message. By relaying stories about building culture, employee perks and leadership, companies can project themselves as a brand and give themselves a uniquely human face that prospective job seekers can identify with.

For individuals, apart from just listing their roles and qualifications, there are the premium data analysis and targeting capabilities that many users never see. The detailed info provided to LinkedIn members means it’s possible to gain insight into exactly who’s viewing your profile and content, right down to current company and job title. Of course you get more detailed and targeted data if you are a premium user but even the basic information like who has viewed your profile and their company and title (depending on the degree of connection) can prove really useful.

The platform has also built its own stack of powerful influencers who command a presence and following. Business stalwarts like Bill Gates and Sallie Krawcheck who never got as popular on mainstream social platforms, have huge followings on LinkedIn and post a lot of content that is encouraging, engaging and enlightening. Even the popular business influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk and Richard Branson are big time users of LinkedIn and post great content on a regular basis.

Here are some basic tips for brands wanting to maximize their reach on LinkedIn:

- Work on a company page and create showcase pages within your main page to focus on individual departments or business units. Make sure it is updated regularly.

-Post content consistently, things like your annual company outing, staff awards and training seminar are great to give your company some character.

- Post organic content specific to LinkedIn users, avoid funny memes or anything that sounds or looks trivial, people don’t have time for jokes on LinkedIn, they are there for quality business related content

- Instead of embedding video from YouTube or Vimeo, post videos directly to LinkedIn.

- Encourage employees to contribute to your pages. This promotes thought leadership and the more content you’ve got on your page, the note there is for users to discover.

- Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Pulse blog to distribute your content, as more users search the blog, that your company’s actual feed, chances of then finding your content are much higher.

If you haven’t had the chance to dig your heels into LinkedIn yet, I suggest you do so right away. It would be a great time to catch the wave, while it is gathering momentum just before it gets too big to chase.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

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