A recent report by technology and market research company Forrester highlights the fact that brands are underusing the potential of LinkedIn for social marketing.
Many LinkedIn users seem to think that this social network is only useful for linking up members of a professional community, with recruitment/job search a major underlying motive. This means that most social media players are unaware of all the resources the network can provide for marketing efforts. Brands, for example, are currently not incorporating LinkedIn sufficiently into their digital marketing strategies, the Forrester researchers point out. Only 13% of the US company Marketing Directors surveyed for the report* use the network. However, it is easy to see why investing in LinkedIn might seem to be of little use, given the current low levels of user engagement: less than half of all US LinkedIn members follow brand posts on the network, compared with 70% of Facebook users who do so.
LinkedIn lagging on social marketing use
The number of subscribers to LinkedIn (over 300 million members worldwide) is certainly no match for the one billion-plus Facebook members. Moreover, the number of US active social network users who follow brands is proportionally far lower on the professional network site. The survey revealed that on average they follow nine brands on LinkedIn and fourteen on Facebook. Time spent on the LinkedIn website and application also sheds more light on this relationship. Forrester reports that only 21% of LinkedIn members connect to the network at least once a month, whereas 70% of Facebook users do so.
Creating content designed to engage with professionals
The relatively infrequent rate of visits to the site makes it more difficult for brands to form a relationship with their users. However, the Forrester experts believe that LinkedIn should not be viewed simply as a tool for building social links. In order to adapt to the way LinkedIn is used today, i.e. connecting up people who have professional interests in common – same job, same company, same sector, etc – brands ought to be offering users solutions designed to help them in their working lives, and fostering the creation of interest groups with greater relevance to their various business sectors, as this is the only way they will be able to take full advantage of the LinkedIn network. And there is significant potential here, reckons Forrester, since the network claims to attract a community of members who are highly educated, influential and with strong purchasing power.
* ‘Use LinkedIn for Social Reach Marketing’