Monday, October 6, 2014

LinkedIn as a platform for engagement and brand awareness

By Mark Helfen

The new LinkedIn has moved way beyond being a repository for resumes.

Well, to be fair, it was always more than that. But recent news reports about the network have noted its success in helping, or even replacing traditional recruiters. Job seekers and recruiters looking to fill positions use LinkedIn to connect with potential employers, find employees, or get a reference into a company.

It’s still the premier site for business to business networking. But they have expanded their role, becoming a platform for engagement, and now, promoting your brand or company. If you come to Monday’s SVForum MarketingSIG, you will leave with a concrete understanding of you can use this for your business.

At the next SVForum MarketingSIG, Yumi Wilson will speak on the topic How to Leverage LinkedIn to Raise Brand Awareness. We will be meeting Monday, October 13 at Detati Digital Marketing, starting at 6:30. Ms. Wilson’s title at LinkedIn is Corporate Commutations Manager. Her other title is Associate Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State, which gives some flavor of her focus.

I first met Ms. Wilson about a year ago when she conducted a class for journalists in using LinkedIn to find sources for news stories. It might not be immediately obvious, but another way of looking at LinkedIn is a very large worldwide network of subject matter experts – and potentially the perfect place to hunt for that elusive news source. In her role she started the LinkedIn for Journalists group, which currently is at close to 70,000 members.

Her job has now expanded to helping corporate communications people raise awareness and promote their businesses and brands, and as has formed a new LinkedIn group – LinkedIn for Corporate Communications. Monday night’s talk will included concrete and specific ways to use the network gain from the expanded capabilities of the network.

One example is Pulse, a new feature that allows you to write and publish a blog on LinkedIn. Your writings are available to all 100 million or so LinkedIn members, are searchable both on and off LinkedIn, and can gain you followers in addition to your network connections.  Your writings are shared with all of your connections and followers. Originally the ability to publish on Pulse was restricted, but now any LinkedIn member can use the feature. It’s always hard to get a new blog noticed, but the business focus of LinkedIn might give you an edge in connecting and engaging with an audience.

Company pages are another feature that can be used to promote and raise awareness of your brand or business. The basic company page is free, but there are also paid services to promote your posts to selected audiences.

Wilson also spends time counseling people on “optimizing” their LinkedIn profile. A more optimized profile will appear higher in search rankings. LinkedIn’s search function has become quite sophisticated, and getting found among 100 million people is a challenge.

The session promises to cover specific features and how to best use them to promote either yourself or your brand.

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Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant.

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