What Is LinkedIn’s Role In The World Of Marketing?
Anyone else feeling like LinkedIn has become a dumping ground for unsolicited, unproven, unfocused and continuously unhelpful information?
I know that social media is in a bit of a holding pattern right now. No one can really figure out how to use it to do anything other than publish content in an attempt to grab some attention.
I think most people realize that this approach is far from effective, even if it’s highly efficient.
But in the meantime, is anyone paying attention to LinkedIn’s brand, their position in the community and their overall role in helping people get connected, get educated and make solid business decisions as a result of the LinkedIn experience? It doesn’t look like it.
What’s Wrong With LinkedIn?
Two elements of LinkedIn are flat-out broken:
1) Users think it’s a super highway to spam, interrupt and cold email whoever they want. Simply because they found my profile and I sound like someone who might need what they do, they are empowered to connect and email me, whether I want it or not. The old cold call is not the new LinkedIn email.
2) The feed algorithm is highly inefficient. I get so much crap in the feed, with no clear indication why I’m getting it, that I find the entire experience almost 100% worthless.
The result of these two major breakdowns is that I now only accept connect invitations from people I actually know, and I hardly pay any attention to my feed. Both reactions devalue LinkedIn as a business tool for me and others in a very real and dramatic way.
Just like people in their early 20s don’t use Facebook, LinkedIn might be one new application away from being the next Facebook, outpaced by a more innovative technology that does what LinkedIn was originally designed to do but better.
LinkedIn groups? Is anyone active in any of those groups? If anything, I’ve seen a migration to Facebook groups and Slack as opposed to LinkedIn groups, even for businesspeople. I’m active in a number of business-oriented Facebook groups and Slack channels.
What once was a great place for people with similar challenges, roles or types of businesses to gather and discuss has become a graveyard for most of the people I’ve talked to about this.
What about the Pulse Network? Again, what used to be a fairly active publishing platform hasn’t seen much action from our perspective. We do post articles to the network, but it rarely produces any dramatic or even noticeable results. The same content that does better in other places tends to languish on this platform.
LinkedIn just isn’t what it used to be, what it could be or what it was originally intended to be.
How LinkedIn Could Fix It
I’m not looking for a gig with LinkedIn, nor am I trying to say I have the answers to their challenges. It’s more of a rant than anything else.
But LinkedIn could make the social network (if you can call it that) much better and far more valuable to the businesspeople who are on the site.
First, it would be nice if LinkedIn could let me know the credibility of the sources sending me emails, invites or content. I don’t want to see another video of a guy in his car telling me how to be a successful salesperson.
Yes, I know I could unfollow his feed, but doing that 10 times a day isn’t productive either. It would be nice if in the response buttons LinkedIn provided me with a “no thanks” button, instead of an “interesting,” “thumbs up” and a “thanks” button.
It would be great if I could tell LinkedIn what types of content I am interested in, instead of LinkedIn selecting what’s in my feed based on who I’m connected with. Maybe I could even suggest or set a preference that only people with 20-plus years of experience are allowed to send me content.
Or perhaps I can connect with people, but then they have to earn the right to send me content.
Maybe I could have the option for a dual setting, where people can connect with me, but they’re not authorized to send me anything. If they connect with me and earn my attention, then I can turn on a setting to have an ongoing conversation and share info.
What about making it more of a conversation-focused platform where moderators or more active managers handle different segments? They could organize online discussion groups, moderate threads, reach out to experts and give people the opportunity to make new connections, share ideas, share content and earn the attention of other users.
Any of these ideas seem to elevate the value of the platform far more than LinkedIn’s current execution plan.
How You Should Be Thinking About LinkedIn
But I get it; we’re not here to fix LinkedIn. We want to know how to optimize and take full advantage of the tool to drive leads and new business, and to help our clients with their similarly aligned goals.
The first element you have to think about is how you connect with people. Don’t make generic connections. Instead, make value-oriented connections, and that starts with your story and how you’re going to help your new connection.
Start your outreach with an offer to help, advise, guide or inform. It’s not what you want but rather what you can do for your new friend/connection. Don’t ask for anything; offer up something of value.
These have to be active playbooks that marketing creates in close alignment with sales and then sales executes. That means giving sales the right messages, stories, email templates and content offers to drive that earned engagement.
Simply asking me for five minutes? Requesting to show me a demo? Even worse, asking me to book a meeting on your calendar? Come on! We can do so much better. When it comes to the content you publish, start thinking more about your prospects.
This isn’t the Mike Lieberman Show; it’s not about me and my brand, who sees me or how many people see me. It should be about how my connections react to what I post.
If no one is sharing what you’re doing, stop doing it. If no one is commenting, stop doing it. Keep shifting your content strategy until you find one that works based on engagement metrics, not your friends telling you how great your videos are on LinkedIn.
Also, one of the best people at using LinkedIn the way I think it was supposed to be used is Matt Heinz, who almost always posts an interesting question or conversation starter that gets people thinking and participating in the thread.
More of that would make the entire LinkedIn experience so much more interesting, educational and helpful. As marketers, we helped break LinkedIn, so I guess it’s only fair that we help fix it.
Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Experience, Methodology And Insights!