21 Aug Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Organization – A Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn
Social media, it’s something we talk about a lot here at SpeakerBox, with our clients and on this blog. We get a lot of questions from clients who are interested in using social media as a way to share their news and announcements with a larger pool of people. But with so many different options – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, SlideShare, and many more, which one (or mix of options) is right for you and your company?
I’ve decided to spend some time looking at several of the most popular social media platforms and breaking down just who is using them, how they are being used and how a company should or could be using them. I’ll also add my own color commentary on pros and cons and final thoughts on each platform.
In order to save you from what could possibly be the world’s longest blog post, I’ll break the platforms down one by one and dedicate a single blog post to each one. For now, let’s start with LinkedIn.
For the purpose of this post I am going to focus on LinkedIn basics as well as company pages. Perhaps down the road I’ll share some thoughts about how individuals can use LinkedIn to join groups and share information relevant to their company or industry but not today.
The basics: LinkedIn bills itself as “the world’s largest professional network with 300 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe.”
Demographics: Per the latest Quantcast report (which was generated on August 20), a quick snapshot of LinkedIn users looks like this:
- Males outnumber females
- The user base is wealthy with a significant number of users having an income of more than $100,000
- The vast majority have at minimum a college education and even more indicate that they have also completed a graduate degree
- When broken down into age groups (i.e., 25-34, 35-44, and so on), there is no one age group that represents a majority of users. The average LinkedIn user could be 25, 64 or anything in between.
- Asians use LinkedIn the most, followed by “other,” Hispanic, African Americans and then Caucasians
Access: While LinkedIn does have a mobile app, the majority of users access the site directly through their Internet browser.
How is it being used: At its most basic level, LinkedIn is a tool used for networking and recruiting. Beyond the basic user profile, the site also allows for company pages that enable organizations to showcase their business and connect to their target audience. Per LinkedIn, company pages can be used to “raise brand awareness, promote career opportunities, and educate potential customers on your products and services.”
Much like Facebook and other social media platforms, LinkedIn company pages allow other users to follow your page, like and comment on posts and share company updates. Companies are encouraged to post and share “rich content” daily with their followers including: news, industry articles, thought leadership pieces, or ask followers to weigh in on hot topics. Posts can be shared with all followers or with a target audience.
Analytics: LinkedIn has done a nice job of building some analytics into its company pages and you don’t need a premium account to access them. Under each update, page admins can see who the post was targeted to, the number of impressions (the number of times each update was seen by LinkedIn members), clicks (the number of clicks on the content), interactions (the number of times people have liked, commented on or shared each update) and the level of engagement (the number of interactions plus the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions).
In addition to analytics listed under each post, LinkedIn has developed an analytics tab at the top of each company page (seen only by admins) that lists the analytics for every post ever made on the company page – allowing page admins to see what’s resonating with followers. The analytics tab also provides demographic information on followers, follower trends (how the number of followers has changed over a set period of time) and a sneak peek at how your page compares to your competitors.
Pros: Unlike some other social media platforms, LinkedIn is almost exclusively used for professional purposes, which means you don’t have to spend nearly as much time sorting through comments or posts that are not relevant. I also think they do an excellent job with their analytics and provide some valuable insight that companies can use.
Cons: Unlike other platforms where you can follow other users, LinkedIn does not allow you, as a company, to follow others. You can comment on your own posts if others comment and have questions but that is the extent of it for a company. In addition, while most journalists likely have a personal LinkedIn profile, from my experience I don’t see many of them following companies on LinkedIn.
Final thoughts: I’m a big proponent of companies using LinkedIn to share their information. I think every company should have and maintain a company page on LinkedIn. I believe if you have a blog that every blog post you put out should be shared on LinkedIn. The same is true for news releases or positive articles about your company. LinkedIn is a valuable resource and one every company should invest in – it will truly only take a few minutes each day to keep it current.