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1 in 3 Ain’t Bad, Don’t Miss the Train

April 2014

Evolving with LinkedIn Is Key to Business Success

Colleen McKenna, LinkedIn Expert

Colleen McKenna, LinkedIn Expert

“Has LinkedIn hit its saturation point? I’m thinking it might be plateauing.”

“Really? What gives you that impression?” I asked.

“Well my kids tell me they are not sure it’s here to stay.”

LinkedIn’s latest report states that one in three people on the planet are now on LinkedIn. In other terms that’s 265-milion-plus as of this writing (3.12.14), more than one-third of the more than 600 million business professionals
worldwide. Every second at least two people join.

So, no, I don’t think it’s reached its saturation point. Most people are not even clued in on how to use it properly. There’s plenty of room for growth and as LinkedIn continues to develop the platform, there’s no doubt its stickiness will continue.

How?

LinkedIn is more than social media; it’s a business platform for furthering business initiatives. Period. How that occurs varies based on sophistication, upgrades, product selected, intent, time and just the right champions.

LinkedIn has evolved beyond the individual. Companies are now on board and determining their best course of action. Finally. Exciting. Unleashing potential is always interesting to watch. There were more than 184 million unique visitors on LinkedIn in Q3 2013, and a good majority of those people were there because their managers, CEOs and recruiters have seen the vision and woven LinkedIn into their go-to-market strategy. Now more than ever, people are on LinkedIn with a specific purpose network – build relationships, recruit for great talent, build brand awareness and generate new leads.

And now, with several new features, there’s even more reason to stand up and stand out on LinkedIn. Let’s look at how content plays well in the LinkedIn sandbox.

Sharing content now outpaces job postings on LinkedIn. LinkedIn members, by and large, are curious, forward-thinking, open-minded learners, experimenters and business practitioners. Perfect for great articles and thought leadership.

Today, content is an integral component to a marketing strategy. The longer businesses wait to jump onto the content bandwagon, the harder it will be to catch up and rise above the noise. If content is king, LinkedIn is the queen. There are more than 1.5 million unique publishers actively using the LinkedIn Share button on their sites to send content into the LinkedIn platform (Q1 2013 earnings). That is significant.

Most small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can’t garner a strong following to their website, but individuals on the team may have a strong network and can share the businesses’ content with their network. That works. That creates new conversations and new opportunities. Great content with no distribution resembles having a great outfit but nowhere to go. It sits in the closet, admired by the person who paid for it.

Develop great content, one or two pieces of anchor content suffices, and break it up in snackable pieces to share. One great piece of content can go a long way … a bit like that great outfit that lasts beyond a season and wears, oh so well. In the end, its value surpasses the trend and always guarantees a complement or two.

In between developing and sharing your own thought leadership, LinkedIn serves up Pulse. Head to the top section of your homepage and tailor the “channels” or industry topics that interest you the most. Read, share, “like” and comment.

Most recently, LinkedIn has released a new Influencer feature that allows all LinkedIn members to be able to create and publish their own content from within your LinkedIn Profile. This will demand a strategy, thought, discernment and good editing. I see this as incredibly liberating for some and sheer hell for others. This also has significant HR issues and guidelines will be critical for companies to consider. Remember, good common sense goes a long way. By the way, LinkedIn is rolling this out slowly (you have it if you have a shaded out pencil in the status update box on your homepage). Keep an eye out but don’t jump in too quickly without a plan.

So when I think about the question I was asked earlier today, I think we are in the early days of how to use LinkedIn well, of what it will become, of leveraging an ecosystem with the sole purpose to bring people together to further their professional livelihood. Those who will reap the rewards of LinkedIn will be those who integrate it in to their daily work practice and process. Regardless of your role, there are 15 minutes to jump in and connect.

Interested in learning more about LinkedIn? Jump over to our website or consider following us on our LinkedIn Company Page; we’d love to see you there.

After a lifetime in business development and marketing, Colleen McKenna launched her own business in early 2011 focused on helping business professionals use technology to reposition themselves and grow their business with a strategic focus on LinkedIn. She has worked with more than 3,500 business professionals to help them craft and navigate their professional brand for awareness, business development and recruiting. Contact her at colleen@interoadvisory.com or www.linkedin.com/in/colleenmckenna. I95

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