Last week in this article series we explored how Facebook can be used as a marketing tool. This week we investigate how LinkedIn, now the world’s largest business social media network of 80 million members with almost 350,000 in Ireland, can be utilised effectively.
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in its functionality but geared at professional networking with profiles of individuals as well as companies. The concept is that a user has the opportunity to build up his/her own virtual community of professional connections and gain further links into his/her industry in a similar way to a business breakfast.
It is particularly useful for sales representatives; for example if you have a business meeting with a prospective client, you can use LinkedIn to establish the history, expertise and personal interests of the individual you will be meeting and tailor the sales presentation to suit. Sales people can also use LinkedIn to establish who to contact within an organization.
You can create or join professional groups on LinkedIn where members can take part in discussions similar to a forum. Generally LinkedIn users join groups that are specific to their industry and interests. Some, such as the Marketing Institute of Ireland are reserved for members of the association, others such as Enterprise Ireland are open to all. These groups are useful for problem troubleshooting and showcasing professional expertise in a topic.
LinkedIn is a very valuable recruitment tool, as companies have an overview of education, employment history, and connections of candidates, who have their profile displayed. Recruiting companies can review any recommendations or professional references that the users, have received from their network of contacts. It is an excellent way to headhunt individuals in specific industries with particular skills set. At the candidate selection stage it can provide a great way to find out if the recruiter’s network and the potential job candidate’s network have anyone in common who an employer knows and can use as a reference, particularly in a local context there is a high chance that there will be a mutual connection. Further it provides a more transparent view of the person which can be compared to the contents of a CV.
From the candidate’s point of view it generates an impression of the human element of the prospective company. The candidate can identify if there is anyone in his/her network connected to the company who could give a better insight into the company and the job vacancy.
Companies can post jobs on LinkedIn for a fee. As well as appearing in job searches, the vacancies will be shown to individuals in a ‘Jobs You May Be Interested In’ section.
Similar to Facebook, companies can create advertising campaigns targeting individuals on a number of criteria: geographic location, job function and industry. An example of a business using LinkedIn ads effectively would be conference venues targeting events managers in Ireland and UK.
Social media marketing including LinkedIn is just one of the topics covered in Aró’s online marketing courses which run one day and one evening a week. Visit www.aro.ie/workshops or visit the blog for more marketing tips www.aro.ie/blog