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.
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