As I witnessed in my recent LinkedIn Fundamentals Workshop, interest in harnessing the power of one of the ‘big four’ social media platforms is still very much on people’s marketing strategy – both for their personal brand and their company. There is a lot of functionality that LinkedIn shares with its peers like the addition of live video streaming, the use of hashtags etc, but here I give you 5 things that set LinkedIn apart from the rest.
It is Still the Only Business-First Platform
Imagine being at LinkedIn when you heard about the launch of Google+. The behemoth that is Google was moving into the social space, and not only could that be competition enough, they also had their eyes laser pointed at the business market. Now, we know how that story played out; as much as I loved the idea of connecting with Dolly Parton, my old school friend and my client, I didn’t want to do it in the same space. (Although Dolly, if you’re reading, I’d love it if you joined LinkedIn.) LinkedIn weathered that storm and has stuck to its core functionality for years now, which is why it can boast an audience of 61 million business decision makers in its numbers. If those are the kind of people you want to put yourself, or your brand in front of, make LinkedIn part of your strategy.
Introducing your Personal Value Proposition
Now more than ever, the connection / job market is even more competitive. Previously bound by opportunities in our general locale, changes since the pandemic have meant companies are willing to seek the right candidate or partner remotely. That’s great, right? Of course, but it also means that when potential contacts land on your profile, you want them to be able to munch on a you-sized digest of everything that sets you apart from the rest. LinkedIn, unlike any of the other platforms explicitly asks you for information that others can gauge you by; your experience, education, passions, portfolio, values – and even opens it up for feedback from others about you too. This personal value proposition will help potential contacts make a critical decision before reaching out, enhancing the fit of those who do go on to get in touch with you.
. People Still Buy from People
You would have thought that given the dizzying choice for any product or service, and the myriad ways in which it can be advertised and presented online, the role of the salesperson was no longer as relevant. Wrong. It’s just that the salesperson can take on many different guises. Think, for a second, about a new product or service you recently invested in. Unless it’s something you have brand recognition or loyalty to, like Coca-Cola, for example, chances are your buying decision involved human endorsement. Cast your mind back to reviews you read, endorsements from friends, interactions between their other customers on social; we still pack animals that like to buy from people, not from products. LinkedIn gives every company the opportunity, if they’re willing to embrace it, to connect with potential customers through a figurehead of their company. It could be – and often lands best – if it’s the CEO / Director themselves, but it can also work really well for employees looking to spread the company message. They should be knowledgeable, for sure, but you can imagine the impact a senior salesperson from the team could have in reaching out directly to an SVP in charge of their own budgets, and happy to have a direct conversation. No marketing – this is cold, hard sales, people!
Long Live Long-form
Of course, it is possible to establish thought leadership through video, image and even the humble 140-character Tweet, but LinkedIn has championed its use of the long-form article format and stands apart from its social platform buddies in that regard. In the face of being constantly told about people’s diminishing attention spans, we know that there are still those of us that like to deep dive into a topic, and if you’re the one delivering it, it’s an opportunity to really uncover your expertise in that subject. LinkedIn delivers its own cornerstone content in that format and encourages other business leaders to do so. N.B. Let me sound the klaxon here though: this shouldn’t replace the addition of content on your website, as your SEO consultant will tell you that all content should either originate or exist in duplicate on your website. While having strong social profiles can build your overall ‘authority’ (read more about the relationship between social and SEO here), you still want to make sure Google can fully digest your content and associate it with your domain.
Keep your Eye on the Competition
Let’s think about your competitors’ social presence on all other platforms; the content generally comes from the curated voice of the brand themselves. It can be highly designed and polished, and the interactions that you will generally be able to see are those that come in the form of engagements from commenters. What you don’t tend to see is the more personal musings of the business owner or their employees. It can be quite eye-opening to see/hear from your competitors’ own team and see the connections they have in their own circles. On what other platform could you get insight into the activity of, say, Airbnb’s Director of Marketing for the EMEA Region (without some serious stalking?!) Now, I always practice professional etiquette; as far as I’m concerned, we all push the industry forward together and there is plenty of business to share, but just as I’d like my competitors to learn a little something from me, I’ll proudly say I can learn a lot from them.
If you missed my recent LinkedIn Workshop, fear not – I have dates come up regularly and in the meantime, you could subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already, where you’ll receive a social Tiny Tip every Tuesday. Happy connecting, friends!