Self-dubbed as ‘the world’s largest professional network’, since it’s launch in 2003 it is estimated that LinkedIn now has over 400 million users. According to media opinion, ‘LinkedIn has been derided as the poor cousin of the social media family’, with many feeling that ‘the dull networking site [has] struggled to hold its own against its sexier relatives, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.’ Others such as Forbes have argued that even those who do use LinkedIn often make numerous mistakes, with unprofessional profile pictures and adopting a ‘quantity over quality’ approach to making connections among the biggest faux pas.
With these potential pitfalls and the safety of Facebook always alluring, it is little wonder that many remain inactive on the site or avoid LinkedIn altogether. While it is perhaps true that LinkedIn hasn’t captured the imagination of the masses in the same was as other brands, there are in fact many reasons why LinkedIn can, and should, be an extremely valuable tool for professionals the world over.
The value of networking for business, brands and marketing has always been high. According to theHuffington Post, LinkedIn is in fact ‘the most powerful marketing tool of the 21st century’ for three main reasons; media, partnerships and clients. The possibilities for partnerships that LinkedIn creates has in many ways superseded traditional networking, and according to the Huffington Post has levelled the playing field by ‘allowing business owners all over the world the opportunity to find, connect and build a relationship with their target market regardless of industry or location.’
When it comes to spreading the word and building meaningful relationships, marketers should be learning to tap into this huge, ready made resource. The Huffington Post continues, ‘rather than getting your message in front of 1 potential client, using this strategy you can broadcast your message in front of hundreds if not thousands of targeted contacts that have already built trust with the business or person you are partnering with.’
Keep coming back to content
With content marketing showing now sign of slowing as a marketing staple, the opportunities offered by LinkedIn to host and distribute content should not be ignored. And there are very few excuses for not maximising the potential offered by LinkedIn, as Econsultancy has demonstrated in a recent article. Econsultancy have highlighted the fact that LinkedIn has provided numerous tools built in to its platform to make it easier for marketers to share engaging, visual content to a wide audience.
Tools such as Pulse, ‘LinkedIn’s self-publishing platform which brands can use to post content for their subscribers’, are extremely valuable in enabling content to be ‘easily distributed to other communities such as relevant Groups or your own Company page to maximise distribution and viewers’.
Other tools highlighted by Econsultancy include SlideShare, which ‘was purchased and integrated into LinkedIn’s architecture in 2012 and has made strong progress toward LinkedIn’s goal of making it the largest repository of professional knowledge on the internet.’ By adding SlideShare to your personal profile page or by creating a company page, it is possible to use the platform as a central space for sharing content and monitoring engagement with this as marketing collateral.
The LinkedIn world’s your oyster
With so many under-explored opportunities available, the world really is your oyster when it comes to building your marketing strategy on LinkedIn. LinkedIn itself is keen to ensure that budding users have the inspiration they need to start their journey on the site, with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions sharing some of the most successful strategies of big names such as Adobe, HP, and Microsoft to act as insights for potential marketers.
If you want to learn more about top tips for getting started on LinkedIn, check out Forbes’ ‘Definitive Guide To Marketing Your Business On LinkedIn’ or entrepreneur.com’s ‘5 Ways to Generate Business Through LinkedIn’ for industry insights. Or why not explore exciting ways LinkedIn has been used by marketers with Mashable’s article on ‘8 Innovative LinkedIn Marketing Campaigns’?