Not Every Social Network Is Great For Marketing
In marketing circles there are many befuddling things.
Some are universal. Some are just learned pet peeves.
Here is a short sample from my list… QR codes, pointless logo changes (I’m talking about you, Gap), pointless packaging changes (I’m talking about you, Tropicana), pointlessly outrageous ads (I’m talking about you, Nationwide), and the list goes on for awhile.
Near the top of my befuddlement list is a publicly traded social media platform. This platform is specifically designed for businesses and business people.
Say your target audience is a business-to-business audience. This platform is readily available, has top of mind awareness, and is easy to use. Why not leverage the power of an idealized social media solution that speaks directly to your audience? It must be a slam-dunk, right?
But LinkedIn is not a slam-dunk.
Sure, it seems great on the surface. The ad interface is there. You can post content, boost posts, target messages at a target audience, post jobs and collect applicants, and hundreds of other features.
It just doesn’t create a lot of great business results. You never quite get the job applicants you want or the clicks to your website you expect.
In truth, LinkedIn has never made the jump from “online resume page” to “meaningful marketing platform.”
In case you haven’t guessed it, I believe LinkedIn is overrated.
If you don’t agree with me about LinkedIn, know that Wall Street does agree with me. On July 15, 2011 the stock price was $109.97. As recently as April 8, 2016 the stock price was $108.44.
If I was a shareholder, that would be a real bummer. Sure there were ups and downs, but the value of the business has been essentially flat.
However, there is some reason for hope with LinkedIn. In other words, there’s a reason the stock price is suddenly ticking up.
First, LinkedIn bought Lynda.com – a paid online business training website – for $1.5 billion. It is almost done integrating the company, and the new offerings are likely coming soon.
Second, businesses are constantly seeking freelancers, and LinkedIn has launched a freelance network called ProFinder.
Both are revenue-generating strategies.
Unfortunately, while these changes are great for LinkedIn shareholders, they still don’t hold much promise for reaching and connecting with a B2B audience.
LinkedIn is great for connecting with folks you are loosely connected with in business terms. A LinkedIn connection does validate the professional relationship. LinkedIn can even be used for networking (though “networking” masquerades as spam rather frequently).
If a whiz kid digital marketing hotshot is trying to convince you to be on LinkedIn with an investment that goes beyond a well-designed free profile for your business and a few posts about your business every now and again, make sure you get a second opinion – and plenty of data to support the rationale.
LinkedIn may have some updates soon that radically transform it for marketing purposes. I hope so. But for now, I’d invest your time, treasure, talent, and trust in marketing investments that are more reliable.