4.5.11

Learning to Love LinkedIn

BY KRISTI PETRIE

After some recent, surprisingly successful PPC campaigns via LinkedIn - wait, let me clarify - by "surprisingly successful" I mean we knew they would be successful but the conversion rates came in even higher than we were expecting, I've found myself splitting my Facebook time (which is coincidentally where I spend much of my free time) with LinkedIn. And it's growing on me.

From a user's standpoint, the website is extremely passive. Beyond the rare "invitation to connect" or message in my inbox, there are very few callouts screaming at me to take action. My LinkedIn routine is the same every day:

  • Log in and scan the newsfeed which is almost always clogged with news about my connections connecting with people I don't know and will probably never know. But, you just never know.
  • Check out who's been checking me out. Who doesn't like to see who's been looking at their profile?
  • Look at the job ads that LinkedIn recommends for me. (Relax, boss, I'm not going anywhere. I love my job here at Carbon8 but it's nice to know you read my blog posts). Every dang day I'm surprised by how not right these recommendations are for me.
  • I go back to the newsfeed and click on updates that my connections have posted that are useful or interesting. Here's where LinkedIn is interesting to me because most of my connections are not using LinkedIn as a business or marketing resource YET.

LinkedIn is untapped. I take information that my connections share WAY more seriously than my friends on Facebook. LinkedIn is for professionals, and I'm inclined to think you can't be a professional if you don't know what you're doing. Therefore, you are several steps closer already to being a thought-leader in your field. I even view that random connection who I never met, who posts his random thoughts complete with cuss words, as the most creative connection on my list. Simply because he participates fearlessly. Plus, setting up a profile can be a pain so just going through the hassle to have a profile gives you some professional street cred.

Another interesting aspect is the intent behind using a particular social network. When I log into Facebook, I intend have fun, keep in touch and plan social stuff. When I log into LinkedIn, I intend to network professionally, get professional updates about my connections, find out something interesting about my field and see if anyone has marketing needs.

And the fact is more connections ARE starting to participate. People are starting to update their statuses, and I'm taking notice. I click on almost everything that is posted because a) I'm curious and b) there isn't much else to do on LinkedIn so I'm not distracted.

Anyway, that's all just me. Let's look at some numbers that either support what I'm saying or will negate me.

According to eMarketer's article "A Look at LinkedIn's Users": 

  • LinkedIn reported reaching a milestone: 100 million users worldwide had signed up for the service, 44 million of whom are in the U.S. According to the company's blog, 1 million more are signing up each week.
  • An October 2010 survey by The Media Audit reported 11.5% of US consumers had logged on to LinkedIn in the past month. In February 2010, an Arbitron/Edison Research study of consumers ages 12 and older found 8% used LinkedIn.
  • According to LinkedIn, site users are active in ways that will matter to social media marketers. The company reported nearly 18 million members belonged to groups, and that groups gained 1.5 million new memberships and 1.2 million posts and comments each week.

In BtoB Online's "Social marketing gaining prominence in companies' plans" (site no longer available) a recent survey found that "93% of all b2b marketers are engaged to some extent in social media marketing, with the most-used channel, LinkedIn, employed by 72% of survey respondents..."

Further down, the same article states "The main virtue of professional networking site LinkedIn is its lead-generation power."

While participation in my newsfeed doesn't quite support a 93% engagement stat, I stand by the fact that participation is definitely increasing! And as far as the other stats that might be considered poor engagement stats for a social network, it sounds more like opportunity to me. Combine that with our "surprisingly successful" PPC campaigns, increasing participation in my newsfeed, and the intent of LinkedIn users to network, - I'm standing by my statement that LinkedIn is an untapped resource for marketing purposes and a solid destination to run the right PPC campaign.

Kristi Petrie
written by KRISTI PETRIE
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