Is LinkedIn the Best Platform to Market a Product or Company?

By: Courtney Bernard & Megan Lacombe

LinkedIn has quickly become the number one destination for online resume viewing, job search and applications, and overall representation of one’s personal identity. Founded in 2002, it has grown steadily into the online business-oriented social network that it is today. As a user, you can create a profile similar to the setup of Facebook. This personal profile is a way to build a professional brand and identity that is appropriate enough for connecting with future or prospective employers, as well as reconnecting with old friends and colleagues. One of LinkedIn’s slogans used in the presentation of its site is to “discover professional opportunities, business deals, and new ventures.” Aside from setting an example of personal identity, users can also search local jobs specific to interests or companies, and read and share articles on companies or jobs of interest. In today’s society, it is all about networking and showing “who you know” in the professional workforce. As part of a minimal marketing strategy, many companies hire “recruiters” to scout prospective employees based on their experience, interests or career goals. Recruiters may get in touch with users by requesting a connection, or messaging directly in order to set up an interview. In order to increase your chances of being found by employers, you can join groups from education alumni, to similar hobbies and interests.

There are many factors that lead to defining the culture and structure of the community LinkedIn is today. The United States has for the largest percentage of users on LinkedIn, with usage beginning to increase in countries like India and South America. The demographic on LinkedIn is almost equal between genders, with 53% males, and 47% females. The age groups on LinkedIn are startling from our perspective. As an undergrad student, LinkedIn is talked about frequently because of its role in increasing one’s chances of finding jobs and opportunities after graduation. However, the largest age group using LinkedIn today are people aged 35 to 54 at 39%. In second place, at 31%, are those aged 25-34. And shockingly enough, those aged 18-24 comes next at 18%. Staying on the subject of culture, LinkedIn shows an almost equal distribution of industries such as higher education, information technology companies, financial, retail, and marketing & advertising.

Although LinkedIn is most popularly used to build professional networking connections and portray a solid personal identity, many users have been able to successfully market companies and products through this social media platform. Personal branding allows people to market themselves to people who are interested in the same topics and even future employers. There are numerous different tips on how to successfully market yourself using your LinkedIn profile; however, there are a few tips that appear quite often. Having an updated and appropriate profile picture is one of the most important things. Even though you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover we all know we do to an extent. Having a fitting picture will greatly benefit you. You can, and should, also be updating your profile regularly and putting out information that relates to what you are professionally interested in. This can include status updates, blog posts, presentations, etc. – anything that shows who you are and what may set you apart from someone else. Since the setup is similar to that of Facebook, any connections you make are able see your timeline and can view any articles that you would like to share regarding a company’s products or events. LinkedIn allows marketers to use add-ons, such as sponsored updates and text and data ads. Both people and businesses can update their LinkedIn profile for free; however, there is a cost for sponsored updates, as well as text and data ads. Sponsored ads include LinkedIn pushing a specific ad to a user’s feed. The post states that it is sponsored in the upper right-hand corner, and it is shown to the people LinkedIn believes would be the best fit. Text and display ads are shown on the right side of the user’s feed and either display an image or text ad promoting a business or product. Paying for these ad services is based on setting a budget and bid. The budget is based on how much you want to spend per day and how much you want to spend per each click on your ad. These advertisements get viewed on newsfeeds depending on users’ interests or skills showcased on your profile. There is a third consumer-marketer interaction that allows a business to directly connect with prospective consumers. A small business profile can request connections to people in their area or field of business in order to gain brand awareness, advertise products, and inform users of upcoming events and promotions.

Although you can advertise on LinkedIn, many people call it the “Professional Facebook.” This does not mean you should be using your LinkedIn profile how you use Facebook. People want rich data that gives a person or product a background and meaning. Since the majority of advertising can be done by constantly updating a profile, there is minimal risk involved in using LinkedIn as an advertising platform. Marketers can benefit from using LinkedIn over other social media because people on the site are on it for professional reasons. They know that when they come to LinkedIn, it is about creating relationships with like-minded people in their industry. People use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites to connect with their friends or people they may know. They are less cautious about what they post on these platforms because they have a different perception on how to use them for personal branding. People have mentioned that they do not particularly like the way that marketers use direct advertisements, and they prefer businesses creating relationships with them. These relationships are hard to create on a platform such as Twitter where you can only use 140 characters at once. On LinkedIn, businesses and consumers can connect via the connection feature and can join groups together. Businesses can join groups in a similar industry and create their own groups to make connections with current and potential customers. You can also still use direct marketing on LinkedIn as frequently as other platforms. The advertisements are pushed to a feed of someone who would possibly be interested in the post. People tend to be less bothered when it’s a post they would be interested in rather than a paid sponsor of an unrelated post such as on Twitter. By allowing a user to showcase in detail a company, product idea, or even themselves through numerous strategies such as status updates, resumes, articles, and photographs, it is proven that LinkedIn is a superior social media platform for marketing.

Sources:

  • Angeles, Sara. “15 LinkedIn Marketing Hacks to Grow Your Business.” Business News Daily, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 06 Mar. 2016.
  • Brooks, Chad. “The Secret to Career Success: Branding Yourself.” Business News Daily, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2016.
  • Pirouz, Alex. “How to Master Content Marketing on LinkedIn.” HubSpot Blogs, 20 July 2015. Web. 06 Mar. 2016
  • DeStefano, Bob. “How to Use LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool.” Online Marketing Resources. SVM E-Marketing Solutions, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2016
  • “LinkedIn’s Advertising Cost.” LinkedIn. LinkedIn Help Center, 22 July 2015. Web. 6 Mar. 2016. http://www.businessinsider.
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16 thoughts on “Is LinkedIn the Best Platform to Market a Product or Company?

  1. Aishwarya Gunti March 21, 2016 / 1:33 am

    I greatly appreciate for such an elaborate work. I agree that LinkedIn is for more professional use and I feel frustrated at times when I see posts similar to that in Facebook which for sure are not relevant to any professional group. I wish LinkedIn could do something to stop the diffusion of such irrelevant content in such professionally matured medium.

    Like

  2. Justin Flory March 22, 2016 / 6:42 pm

    LinkedIn is definitely a great platform for marketers and individuals. It is the best place to market yourself to potential employers. It is a great tool to help land yourself a job and create your personal brand. It makes it easy to upload your resume and showcase all your skills and work experience. Employers are able to find you and you are able to find some potential employers you may be interested in.

    Like

  3. Julie Wusenich March 22, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    LinkedIn is a great tool to network and connect with other professionals and to learn about companies and different industries. It is also a tool, which companies pay a premium to use, as HR/Recruiters have LinkedIn Recruiter access, where they can post positions and send an ” InMail” to potential candidates, both active and passive, to fill positions with qualified candidates.

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    • Aishwarya Gunti March 23, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      I also learned from a premium LinkedIn user and the President of a healthcare institute that job seekers can and should find the alumni working in their interested companies and should gather more relevant information to put themselves ahead in interviews. Even the employers expect to do such outreach using LinkedIn.

      Like

  4. Sharon Masucci March 26, 2016 / 4:14 am

    I think linkedin is a great place to market yourself and your company. I don’t think it is a good place to market products. I think it should be strictly for professional use and not advertisements.

    Like

  5. Andie-Jane Phinney March 30, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    I believe that LinkedIn is great for connecting with others and keeping a professional relationship with businesses as well. It is a great way to network and gain potential jobs but I am not so sure I like the idea of heavy marketing on LinkedIn. I believe that the difference from Facebook and LinkedIn is the clarity and professionalism that comes with LinkedIn and I believe if it becomes bombarded with advertisements and ways for companies to market, people will get annoyed. I believe it is a great way to market yourself for future jobs and opportunities. I do not believe companies should market their businesses on the LinkedIn profiles.

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  6. cassidylebert March 31, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    I think LinkedIn is a fantastic professional social networking tool. It’s becoming more and more common for employers to screen potential candidates’ profiles prior to employment. Personally, I find LinkedIn to be one of the easiest access tools to gain knowledge of a company or employer prior to an interview. In doing so this gives the candidate a competitive edge when it comes to knowing the facts and having relevant talking points.

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  7. Meghan Gulbrandsen April 3, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    I agree and think that LinkedIn should strictly be a very professional platform where people can go to market themselves and their company. When it comes to advertising and random products start popping up on the page it could take away from this professional look and feel of the platform which is not a good thing.

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  8. Ronald Zampanti April 14, 2016 / 7:08 pm

    LinkedIn is a great platform for personal branding and career development. This social media channel allows people to connect and grow their professional network. I find the amount of content one can put on their profile to be very beneficial. Where you graduated from, certain skills you have, past work experience, and the ability to upload your resume are just some great offerings on LinkedIn. I believe products should not be marketed or advertised on this platform. It should be for people to market themselves and increase their connections and better their professional career.

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  9. Meg April 21, 2016 / 5:04 am

    Linkedin might be a great personal branding platform, but it is not as useful for marketing a product or a company. People do not go on Linkedin to shop or learn about a product, they go on Linkedin to improve their respective careers. I do not believe that there should be a transition to product marketing, and I think that most individuals dislike such content on their feed.

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  10. Colleen Flynn April 24, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    LinkedIn has become more and more popular in recent years and has even become equally important to employers as a resume. Many times people will be asked for their resume in an interview and then asked about their LinkedIn profile. I believe that is it much more professional than Facebook. The set up may be similar but the content and the way people use it are completely different. I am much more hesitant and aware of what I post on my LinkedIn over my Facebook page. I was not aware of all the marketing opportunities there are on LinkedIn prior to reading this blog, I believe it has great capabilities. I agree that people are less likely to be annoyed by an ad if it something they are actually interested in rather than simply a sponsored ad. LinkedIn has been doing all the right things lately and have been making quite the name for itself.

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  11. Hechuan Lou April 28, 2016 / 3:33 pm

    I think LinkedIn is more like a platform for job seekers and recruiters instead of a platform to promote products. As LinkedIn target themselves as connecting people and provide more professional information for people who want to connect with others. However, in the future I think LinkedIn could think about how to provide a new platform for the companies to promote their products.

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  12. Joseph Sanfilippo May 5, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    I had only recently created a LinkedIn this year for class, and I think it is something I will utilize until I get a job that I will stay in for awhile. Our society is turning to more internet focused, so by using LinkedIn to search for jobs and to network is a great way to find jobs to apply to. I think LinkedIn is a great way for businesses to find new employees, and it is quicker and more organized than people who send in hard copy resumes. I can see LinkedIn becoming the most used site to find jobs, and the use of hard copy resumes will decrease significantly.

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  13. Derek Lawton May 7, 2016 / 12:52 am

    I personally am not a huge fan of LinkedIn.I think it is a great way to connect with people but is not the best platform if you are looking for a job. Most of my connections are my classmates who can not really help me out in getting a job. It is a good thing for people already in the real world that run companies. Overall, it is not the best option to me.

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  14. gabriellepecher May 12, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    When I think of LinkedIn, I think of it for strictly professional use. I would not consider LinkedIn somewhere I or others would shop for products and do not see this being successful in the future. I would be very surprised if this trend took hold. I think sites like Facebook which is full of ads and people posting about products would be more successful with this.

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  15. Xinran Zuo May 13, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    I think Linked in is more professional site in jobs and building the social community, using Linkedin in marketing is not so suitable that could make people have a negtive thought on the brand.

    Like

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