E-Marketing, Social Media, Online tools, the World Wide Web.. A world on its own.
This will be my very first blogpost, the first out of seven. Over a period of several weeks I will dive into the world of Social Media and Online Marketing. Covering a new topic every week, hoping to give clarity to this hazy fog called E-marketing.
For my first blogpost, I would like to discuss LinkedIn as a social platform for employees, jobseekers but also marketing specialists, advertisers and recruiters. What is LinkedIn for medium? How can we use it to our benefit? How do we get the most out of it? My vision for this post is to combine both research and personal experience. Why? Because my experience as a 4th year ICM student also gives an insight in how members, like me, apply this medium in our everyday life.
But this is not the only view I would like to discuss. What are the opportunities and advantages for companies and organisations? Out of all these members present, how do you find the profile you need? I say: ‘Let’s find out!’
Before we go and explore on a deeper level, let’s first look at what type of platform LinkedIn is. We all know LinkedIn is used for networking. You make connections with colleagues, people in the field, we ask for help when looking for a job, we present our résumé on this platform, showing others our experience, education level, specialisation and interests. All this to be noticed by others and other organisations. Why go look for a job, when companies can find you as well?
LinkedIn, a social medium
LinkedIn is a social media platform which was founded in May 2003. Ever since the launch, this platform has been growing and growing. In 2007, LinkedIn was even pronounced to be the largest growing social network in the US. This continuous growth enables people to find many potential advantages and opportunities on LinkedIn
According to the book ‘The ultimate LinkedIn Checklist for small and medium businesses’, LinkedIn has over 175.000.000 users! Making it the social business network, a place where you leverage you entire network of partners, suppliers, employees, vendors and competitors. It’s a tool to discover talent, partnerships and potential vendors you’ll never find any other way.
This platform can be categorised as a membership or subscription model, since you do have to subscribe in order to become a member of this amazing platform. Besides subscribing, the network also strongly relies on word-of-mouth or the ‘ connection-request-emails’; where you invite other contacts to join your network and the medium. Naturally, as the average number of members is growing, the strength and potential of the network grows as well.
What are the possibilities?
There are many possibilities for members to be found on this platform. Where subscription is initially free of charge, one can also choose to go premium. This concept is known as Trending or Freemium: it’s a combination of free and premium. When you desire extra features one can go premium, paying a certain fee a month to receive these extra’s. These features will include tools such as LinkedIn InMails and Profile Stats Pro. It also provides you with an upgrade to a Business, Business Plus or Executive account types.
Besides these extra’s there are naturally categories of solutions to their members for free. Everyone can manage their own personal profile and the information mentioned there; One can build a professional network via LinkedIn Connections, Invitations and Introductions; also the access to knowledge and insights of others can be found on this platform using tools such as Groups, Network Updates, News and Answers etcetera.
The other side
Having mentioned this all, what does it mean to the other side of the barrel? The continuous growth of members subscribing to the network has made LinkedIn extremely interesting for recruiters, marketing specialist and advertisers. Obviously when a recruiter finds a perfect match, they earn a certain commission, making the opportunities for this group very obvious.
But what makes it so interesting for Marketing specialist? Besides finding a perfect match to an open vacancy of the department. The options LinkedIn offers to this group is what makes it so very interesting. It’s called: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Here they can find their target audience and build strong relationships, publish content and extend the engagement with their network. Better yet, LinkedIn even offers a guide on how to market on LinkedIn! Here they share insights in how to create awareness, influence perception, generate leads and ultimately drive revenue using this medium.
So.. How do I get noticed?
Step 1: Get found in LinkedIn and on Google
Another aspect is to create a large network of 1st connections. Why? Because this group will always appear first in search results.
Step 2. Keep your profile name clean
When you create a profile LinkedIn under your name, it will add unnecessary features such as an email, or phone number to your search. This is clouding your search. Therefore Ronan advises everyone to remove this from your profile name.
Step 3. Your picture
The most important thing of your profile could be your picture attached. No matter how experienced you are, without a photo you’ll still be a vague concept, an impersonal concept. Also important to mention is that without a picture, you will end up at the bottom of the search results. It’s vital to stress the quality of the picture. Ronan advises everyone to not upload a picture of a black tie event or on vacation, but to use a photo as professional and simple as possible. Preferably wearing business clothes. One can never emphasize this too much, since you are trying to market yourself. Remember: a picture says more than a thousand words!
Step 4. Your public URL
This step is referring to your personal URL. This URL is visible when you are on your own profile page, and believe it or not, it affects your search results. Your personal URL will probably look like the following: http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname435564-hjfjrigjhot . A good tip would be to remove the unnecessary numbers and letters.
Step 5. Personalise
This is a step essential for entrepreneurs. Under the section contact info, you can click on the option of “other”. Here a field will open and you can describe your own website, website and business name, call-to-action and more. This section offers you a place to share more personal information regarding your business and opens another potential door into the market.
Step 6. Recommendations: that powerful third party
Taking into consideration that LinkedIn is also an online and social media platform, one has to understand that not everything can be checked on trustworthiness. People can make up profiles, add skills or don’t take the truth all that serious. By gaining recommendations you enlarge your credibility, you proof your experience and show the satisfaction of current and former colleagues. Ronan not only advises us to gain between 10-15 good recommendations, but also to create a certain format on what they can or should write about. This may sound a bit controlling, but it will also guarantee you that the recommendation you’ll receive contains the correct keywords and accuracy.
Step 7. Join groups
Ronan claims that there are three types of groups you would want to join, of the possible 50 you are allowed to join. He claims that a minor part should go to the groups of your competitors, the industry or the industry of your prospect. The second group consist out of geo-located groups such as the chamber of commerce. And the third, last and biggest group is the persona-type groups, for CIO’s, CTO’s, Entrepreneurs and more. More importantly you need to start discussions, share content and ask for opinions in order to really gain advantages from this step.
My own experience
Regarding my own experience, I find LinkedIn very useful to share my experience, interests and education level to potential organisations. Not only helps it to create a professional network, it also allows you to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other newly graduated students, ready to work. In my network on LinkedIn I have very different relations than in my Facebook circle. It truly is an additional advantage on both social and on a professional level.
Half a year ago, I experienced the use of this medium when looking for my internship. I used my father’s platform to find a proper placement. The results were shocking. I didn’t have to e-mail or contact anyone. I was receiving the emails of companies asking me to do my internship with them, it was the world upside down! Since that moment I’ve been more and more confident with and interested in this platform. I can definitely see the advantages and opportunities of this platform for both job seekers and marketing specialists. Who knows, this platform may grow into a new way of searching and applying for a job.
A new way of marketing.