When it comes to social media platforms that benefit public relations, Twitter and Facebook tend to be the first names that come to mind. With the impressive growth of LinkedIn over the last five years, however, it is important that we don’t neglect the features of this useful platform.
As a site with a focus on professional development and networking, LinkedIn naturally possesses value for the PR industry. In particular, the opportunities to share and promote content and to join and/or create groups can lead to increased exposure and relationship-building prospects.
In contemporary PR culture, the importance of content creation is heavily emphasized. With this influx of writing coming from PR professionals, your work can get lost in the shuffle. To gain more exposure, utilize the content promotion and production functions on LinkedIn.
Users can share links from their own blog on their company’s main LinkedIn page, as you would with any other social media site. Additionally, LinkedIn established LinkedIn Pulse, a resource specifically geared towards content. Launched in early 2014, this platform allows users to produce and publish posts. It also provides topic suggestions for writers who are struggling to select a good subject. Polished, well-written articles published on this platform can encourage increased viewership and amplify the reach of your writing, which allows you to create positive buzz for you and your business. Consider tips, as published by LinkedIn and savvy users, to maximize the chances your content will get positive exposure and reactions.
Additionally, LinkedIn has an Editorial Calendar, which can lead to enhanced opportunities for promotion. Each month, LinkedIn’s Editorial Team focuses on a new topic to organize its work around. This month, for example, focuses on the concept of Open Letters. The calendar asks users to write open letters addressing a specific issue of interest. Writing a quality article within the parameters of the monthly topic could encourage the LinkedIn Editorial Team to promote your work, thereby increasing the potential audience you’ll reach and improving your influence.
Forming meaningful, ongoing relationships with a targeted audience is one of a PR professional’s main goals, and LinkedIn’s group feature facilitates this activity. LinkedIn allows users to create and join groups with people who share similar business interests and goals. A group can be a great starting point to find people or businesses with which to network. Each month, LinkedIn allows members of groups to send 15 individual messages to fellow group members who they are not otherwise connected with on the site. To find applicable groups to join, type relevant industry topics and names into the search bar at the top of the page. Make sure you specify that you’re searching for groups on the left side of the search bar.
Starting your own group has even greater value because as a group admin, you manage who gets admitted to the group and the type of posts and conversations that can be shared. Additionally, LinkedIn provides group creators with the opportunity to send a weekly announcement or message to the inboxes of everyone in their group. Rather than paying for an email campaign to reach your audience, you’re given the free opportunity to contact everyone in your group with a monthly message, thereby generating buzz about yourself and your business and creating relationship-building opportunities.
Lewis Howes, an entrepreneur and writer who specializes in LinkedIn, provides additional insight on the benefits of creating a group. In particular, he discusses the ability to improve visibility for your business and direct traffic to your website by including a link to your site, as well as your name, in the group’s profile. Associating yourself and your business with a quality LinkedIn group can illustrate your professional prowess and positively influence people’s perception of your position in the industry.
LinkedIn Mistakes to Avoid
With so much potential for professional connections on a single platform, it’s important to ensure proper conduct. Having access to so many professional contacts can be tempting to add them to your email list. According to Lisa Schmidt, a life and career coach and HuffPost contributor, you shouldn’t abuse your access to your connections and their emails. Schmidt states that downloading your LinkedIn contacts and adding them to your email list without their approval is poor PR practice. Despite the seemingly easy access provided by LinkedIn, there is no shortcut for putting in the effort to form a meaningful relationship that motivates people to join your list on their own.
As the leading professional social networking platform, LinkedIn has seemingly endless ways to improve your PR efforts. Don’t forget to utilize groups and content promotion, as well as to avoid LinkedIn pitfalls, to build relationships, generate awareness, and generally enhance future PR endeavors.