By Andrew Blum*
You know LinkedIn, of course—everyone in PR does. But do you love it? Maybe not so much. You may be among those who think LinkedIn is too old-school or not worth the time, unless you are job hunting or recruiting employees. But think again: today’s LinkedIn helps PR professionals burnish their personal brand and perform essential job functions. First the basics:
- Find a job, fill a job: In early November 2016, LinkedIn listed 3.6 million U.S. job openings. Most recruiters rely on LinkedIn to source candidates.
- Count yourself among the high-performers: It’s hard to beat LinkedIn for networking with professionals who are making a mark. Pew’s latest stats show that 34% of all U.S. adults aged 18-29 use LinkedIn—that’s the largest proportion of any of the age groupings. And 45% of LinkedIn users earn more than $75,000 per year.
- Connect with reporters: You can find and reach out to reporters, more and more of whom see the value of LinkedIn. I have had reporters contact me on LinkedIn when they could not track me down for a comment on behalf of a client. It’s become another media and PR database.
- Spot trends, and create some of your own: Companies and their representatives use LinkedIn to publish long-form content, then distribute it to followers and people outside of their networks using Linkedin’s advertising and sponsored update tools.
- Get into college: Imagine this: The next generation of PR pros and reporters may already be on LinkedIn, soon to become your colleagues or work at your media targets. Nowadays, some colleges require high school students to create resumes for the college admissions race, and LinkedIn is helping with that, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
Publications and small business owners also have a lot to gain as LinkedIn expands its scope and reach. Here’s a few more things you should know about how businesses use this social platform.
Pump up the readership of their publication
Digiday recently reported that The Economist is renewing its focus on gaining more readers through LinkedIn. The British magazine took this step after it didn’t receive enough traction on Pinterest, Digiday said. In making the move, its LinkedIn follower count rose from 500,000 last year to 2.4 million and keeps increasing to the tune of 25,000 followers each week.
Grow a small business (and win a stash of cash)
With an appeal to small business owners, LinkedIn is aiming to be a place where business deals are done. According to a recent piece in Inc.com, by John Nemo, author, LinkedIn is courting a new audience – small business owners.
Nemo says that in conjunction with the recent launch of LinkedIn ProFinder — its new freelance marketplace — LinkedIn asked small business owners to share stories as part of the LinkedIn ProFinder Small Business Contest. It ends November 30.
The contest asks owners to share information about their business and explain the impact it has had on themselves, customers and their community. LinkedIn will choose three winners, with first place getting $5,000 cash. All contestants can win a free 90-day subscription to a Premium version of LinkedIn as well.
While the contest is a smart way to draw attention to ProFinder (a service you might want to use when you need a writer or designer), it’s also a sign that LinkedIn wants users doing business with each other on their site.
So, what does LinkedIn have in store next? It’s worth being there to find out.
*Andrew Blum is a PR consultant and media trainer and principal of AJB Communications. He has directed PR for public affairs clients, professional services and financial services firms, NGOs, agencies and other clients. As a PR executive, and formerly as a journalist, he has been involved on both sides of the media aisle in some of the most media intensive crises of the past 25 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @ajbcomms.