LinkedIn Is The Fifth Pillar

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a brand’s blog are at the heart of Social Media Marketing. LinkedIn is not, but the professional networking site with 70 million members is important. With upgrades to its Groups functionality, it’s even more so.

According to the company’s blog, LinkedIn is “all about nurturing the professional conversation, and we hope the changes to LinkedIn Groups will make it even easier for you to contribute and participate in a professional groups setting.”

I’m a member of the AIGA Portland LinkedIn Group, the Portland Ad Fed LinkedIn Group and several other MarCom and personal interest groups on LinkedIn. Last winter I used the Job Board on the AIGA Portland LinkedIn Group to find a designer for a project, and I was impressed with how many quality candidates emerged via my simple request. It was a “context is king” moment, for sure.

One thing about LinkedIn that’s clear is how wise use of the site can benefit an individual. What’s less evident is how the site might also help a company–outside of recruiting staff, which is a big part of the site’s utility. Can one prospect for business on LinkedIn? Can one build a brand on LinkedIn? These are the questions that have to be answered if LinkedIn is going to be part of a client’s Social Media Marketing mix.

For me, the answer is yes and yes, because individuals make up a company and the brand. One of the hallmarks of SMM–whatever the channel–is consistent and generous sharing of one’s expertise and interests. LinkedIn is an industry specific setting for this kind of sharing.

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