Thursday, March 14, 2013

LinkedIn tells all: How businesses engage users and build a following

Laura Stampler, Business Insider

Businesses have started burnishing their identities by creating their own content on LinkedIn.The professional network hit its 200 million member milestone recently, and companies naturally want a slice of that massive audience’s interest.
While brands have started to get a hang of what kind of posts work on Facebook, optimizing user engagement on LinkedIn remains uncharted territory for many companies.
Company pages launched approximately three years ago, senior product marketing manager Lana Khavinson told BI. And it started primarily as a home base where companies could showcase themselves with basic features and descriptions.
It was October 2011 when companies started posting their own content and, Khavinson said, “that’s frankly when the gamed changed. We were finding that [companies] were excited and eager to engage with our members, and members were very eager to be communicating with them on LinkedIn.”
Khavinson, who specializes in creating strategy and marketing programs for small and medium businesses, said that what a company posts to optimize its chances of getting shared doesn’t so much have to do with its size, but rather by industry.
“On LinkedIn, context matters,” she said. “When [people] follow a company, they are raising their hands and saying, Company we want to hear from you.” And that message has to be in line with its image and message.
Khavinson told us what works and what doesn’t.
Post what your audience is interested in.

While Google got the most likes out of any business (for a post that said it was the #1 most desired employer on LinkedIn), Jolla — a Helsinki based mobile device developer — had a post that got the most shares of any small business.
“They are staying true to what people are interested in,” Khavinson said, by posting about product updates. It might not be funny or quirky like many Facebook posts, but it’s what people want on that medium.
She also noted that the Wounded Warriors Project is doing a good job providing followers with what they want by “providing information about what people can do to get back into the workforce [and] inspirational stories.”
It isn’t all about the numbers.

Khavinson noted that LinkedIn post likes have “lower volume, higher quality.”
For example, even though Google is the company that got the most likes for a single post, that number still didn’t break the 500 mark. A successful small business post likely wouldn’t make it to more than 100 likes. But that’s not the point.
“It’s a quality play,” she said. “We aren’t about getting millions and millions and billions and likes, but those likes and comments you’re getting, those are really rich links. Those are potential customers and advocates.”
Khavinson continued, “we are trying hard to teach companies that we aren’t comparing Facebook to LinkedIn.
Users want news and imagery.

When people first hear about a company, Khavinson said that one of the first things they’ll do is go to that company’s LinkedIn page to learn more.
“Presence is key,” she said.
The goal is to gain followers and then build a community — and that’s done through posting information and updates that will interest and engage its audience. Khavinson said that research shows that followers aren’t only looking to find a job at a certain company, but that the vast majority wants to see industry news.
This means diverse, industry-related posts with a strong image and an interesting title.
Remember, this isn’t Facebook.  More Tips and The Complete Article

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