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LinkedIn: An Evolving Platform for Big Brands

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Over the last several years, LinkedIn has evolved from a networking site to a unique publishing and marketing platform. In this Critical Mass POV, we explore what some brands are doing differently and …

Over the last several years, LinkedIn has evolved from a networking site to a unique publishing and marketing platform. In this Critical Mass POV, we explore what some brands are doing differently and examine some best-in-class examples and processes.

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  • 1. LINKEDIN: AN EVOLVING PLATFORM FOR BIG BRANDS SEPTEMBER 2013 ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 1
  • 2. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 2 INTRODUCTION LINKEDIN USER SNAPSHOT LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGES DEVELOPING AN EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE FOR BRANDS OTHER LINKEDIN OPPORTUNITIES BUILDING AN ACTIVATION PLAN AND MEASUREMENT FRAMEWORK CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS 01 02 03 04 05 06 07
  • 3. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 3 01. INTRODUCTION
  • 4. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 4 Over the last several years, LinkedIn has evolved beyond its use as a recruitment tool, which centered only around job postings and social networking. For brands to break through in this channel, they must think about LinkedIn as a unique, editorial-driven marketing channel, leveraging its full Company Page functionality, its suite of publishing tools and its APIs for maximum effect. In this document, we discuss how to do all three. INTRODUCTION
  • 5. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 5 RELEVANT BRANDS MUST BE: LINKEDIN REQUIRES A DIFFERENT APPROACH Brands require a different approach and content model for their narratives on LinkedIn. VALUE-DRIVEN Brands must focus on adding value, not promoting themselves. HUMAN Who your brand is is as important as what it does. CONNECTED Brands must embrace followers as peers, and not fans. INSPIRED Content and conversations should be aspirational in nature.
  • 6. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 6 LEVERAGE PAID, OWNED AND EARNED CHANNELS TO DRIVE CHANNEL GROWTH API integration within web properties Company Page promotion on dot-com House content within web properties LinkedIn Today Executive articles Internal PR On-site ads Off-site retargeting BRANDS GO HERE OWNED PAID EARNED
  • 7. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 7 02. LINKEDIN USER SNAPSHOT
  • 8. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 8 LINKEDIN IS A GLOBAL NETWORK OF PROFESSIONALS… 225M+Registered members as of May 2013 200+Countries and territories 64%Of LinkedIn members are outside of the US
  • 9. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 9 …AND IS COMPRISED OF A SMART, AFFLUENT AUDIENCE 41% HHI of $100k+ 32% Higher than Facebook 52%of LinkedIn monthly visitors have a college or graduate degree 18% Higher than Facebook
  • 10. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 10 LINKEDIN IS MORE THAN JUST JOBS Groups/ Company Pages SlideShare Integration LinkedIn Today LinkedIn Influencers
  • 11. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 11 LINKEDIN USERS ALSO HAVE A VERY DIFFERENT MINDSET 1 – The Mindset Divide research study, LinkedIn and TNS, September 2012 SPEND TIME Personal Networks Info on friends Info on personal interests Entertainment updates INVEST TIME Professional Networks Career content Updates on brands Current affairs TOP THREE TYPES OF CONTENT EXPECTED1 Vs. Vs. Vs. in professional networks 26% HIGHER
  • 12. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 12 03. LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGES
  • 13. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 13 INTRODUCTION TO LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGES LinkedIn announced the launch of company profile pages in 2008; they have since evolved to today’s more robust Company Pages offering. As of June 2013, there are more than three million LinkedIn Company Pages, with 500K + created in the last year. According to a recent HubSpot study, LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate, with 2.74% of site visitors converting into leads, compared to Facebook and Twitter, with respective conversion rates of 0.69% and 0.77%. As a Company Page is the primary owned touchpoint in the LinkedIn ecosystem, it is important to utilize its full range of functionality. WITH 500K+ CREATED IN THE LAST YEAR. THERE ARE MORE THAN THREE MILLION LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGES A LinkedIn Company Page provides the following: 1.  A hub for thought leadership and other company- related editorial content (e.g. blog posts, white papers). 2.  An additional platform for customer and follower engagement. 3.  A dedicated space for job postings and additional careers- and recruitment-related information. 4.  An overview of a company’s products and services.
  • 14. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 14 COMPANY PAGE BEST PRACTICES: HOME TAB (ADOBE) Frequent status updates Custom header image, consistent with other creative Promo area for “Products” tab
  • 15. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 15 COMPANY PAGE BEST PRACTICES: HOME TAB, CONTINUED (ADOBE) Fully completed “About” section
  • 16. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 16 COMPANY PAGE BEST PRACTICES: CAREERS TAB (ADOBE) Banner image customized for Careers Tab Key jobs (and people) showcased; link to Adobe Jobs search in LinkedIn Job Search functionality Unique content above the fold
  • 17. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 17 COMPANY PAGE BEST PRACTICES: PRODUCTS AND SERVICES TAB (ADOBE)
  • 18. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 18 COMPANY PAGE BEST PRACTICES: INDIVIDUAL PRODUCTS (ADOBE)
  • 19. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 19 SOME LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGE BEST PRACTICES Fill out your company overview page completely, using relevant keywords as needed. Spice up your company page with splashy banner visuals, switching out the creative as needed for new product releases, events, conferences and other newsworthy items. Provide specific calls to action as necessary. List your company’s main products and services, and encourage your customers to “recommend” them. Post regular company status updates. Link to timely, relevant news and announcements when appropriate. Engage brand page followers by posting questions and other conversation topics. Augment your brand page presence through original editorial content and other thought leadership for LinkedIn Today.
  • 20. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 20 04. DEVELOPING AN EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE FOR BRANDS
  • 21. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 21 BACKGROUND LINKEDIN’S NEW APPROACH AS PUBLISHER Over the last few years, LinkedIn has shifted its approach to favor brands that have a robust editorial presence, process and publishing model: •  March 2011: LinkedIn rolls out “LinkedIn Today,” an aggregated news experience, to live on user homepages. •  October 2012: LinkedIn announces its Influencers program, a platform for business thought leaders to create original content for the platform. It also announces the ability for users to “follow” other users’ updates without connecting to them directly. •  April 2013: LinkedIn acquires Pulse, a mobile news aggregator app with hundreds of content partnerships. •  Today: There are 1.3 million publishers on LinkedIn. Editorial content is featured at the top of the LinkedIn mobile app (pictured)
  • 22. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 22 LINKEDIN TODAY IS: LINKEDIN TODAY 1.  An aggregator of the top articles shared by a user’s LinkedIn network, Company Pages and topic channels they follow. 2.  The publishing platform for original content posted by LinkedIn Influencers. 3.  Driven by InShare (sharing) buttons that are placed on publisher sites, as well as in feeds.
  • 23. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 23 THREE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EDITORIAL SUCCESS ON LINKEDIN 2. DEFINED ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 3. ROBUST EDITORIAL APPROACH AND CALENDAR 1. COMPETITIVE AUDIT
  • 24. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 24 LINKEDIN AUDIT OVERVIEW We recommend that brands conduct a competitive audit, creating a Distribution Map of other Company Pages in their industries. Look at: •  Status updates + follower response (engagement through likes, comments and shares) •  Content in the Careers and Products & Services tabs •  Overall page creative and messaging Also determine if these companies’ Pages are: •  Utility-driven: Posts mostly comprised of Product announcements, job postings •  Brand-driven: Posts comprised of company innovation, career positioning (e.g. “Life at Adobe”), thought leadership From here, brands should be able to create their competitive Distribution Map to assess how they stack up against their competition on LinkedIn, and help determine the platform’s role in their digital communications ecosystem.
  • 25. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 25 SAMPLE LINKEDIN DISTRIBUTION MAP
  • 26. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 26 CREATING A LINKEDIN EDITORIAL MODEL WILL DEFINE RESPONSIBILITIES Once an editorial calendar has been developed, roles and ongoing responsibilities must be identified and assigned, with processes being developed. (A RAM or RACI matrix might help with this.) The goals: •  Identify content owners (e.g. PR/Comms, Marketing, HR) •  Identify stakeholders for buy-in (e.g. Legal, Executive Sponsor) •  Identify additional resources required (e.g. Community Management, Technology)
  • 27. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 27 EXAMPLE: EDITORIAL MODEL + TEAM RESPONSIBILITIES MAP COMPANY TEAM LEADS EXECUTIVE SPONSOR EDITOR MEASUREMENT AND OPTIMIZATION CONTENT LEAD LEGAL COMMUNITY MANAGER HR (Product, Design, Maketing, PR, Brand, HR) Program oversight COMPANY TEAMS + PARTNERS TECH SUPPORT Creates / manages publishing calendar and editorial plan Coordinates with internal and external contributors to secure content and determine quarterly content plan Works with measurement team to tweak editorial approach, if needed Secures and remixes existing assets Curates external content Publishes content Monitors and responds to conversation Gathers additional story ideas from community Manages and updates job postings (titles, descriptions)
  • 28. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 28 LINKEDIN SAMPLE EDITORIAL CALENDAR: YEAR ONE Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 EDITORIAL YEAR ONE BUILD-UP THE BASICS OUR PEOPLE INNOVATIONS THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Story Focus “What we do” “Who we are” “Where we are going” “What we can do together” Narrative Key products Company overview Company values Partnerships Key company talent Thought leadership Hero innovations Behind the scenes What we’re working on LinkedIn-customized company thought leadership (e.g. Influencers) Content Source EXISTING / REMIXED EXISTING / REMIXED CURATION EXISTING / REMIXED CURATION Potential Content sources Company News and Announcements Press releases Third-party sources Company News and Announcements Press releases Third-party sources Additional sources, plus new platform-specific content LinkedIn Influencer contributions Hero Thought Leadership (IG) 1-2x / Month 2-3x / Month 3-4 / Month 4-5x / Month Product Stories 4x / Month 4x / Month 2x / Month 2x / Month Announcements 2x / Month 2x / Month 2x / Month 2x / Month CAREER Recruitment Campaigns TBD TBD TBD TBD Employee Profiles 1x / Month 1x / Month 2x / Month 2x / Month Job Postings 1x / Week 1x / Week 1x / Week 2x / Week CONVO Monitoring & Response Daily Daily Daily Daily
  • 29. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 29 05. OTHER LINKEDIN OPPORTUNITIES
  • 30. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 30 LEVERAGING THE LINKEDIN API In order to fully take advantage of the LinkedIn platforms, brands must look beyond their Company Pages and to their own websites for integration opportunities. LinkedIn features a robust API around the following areas: •  People / User Profiles: Brands can leverage LinkedIn’s API around user registration for its company websites (e.g. jobs portals). •  Social Sharing: LinkedIn’s share API allows for users to share a brand’s web content from directly in their feeds. •  Jobs: LinkedIn’s Jobs APIs allow users to save, search and apply for jobs (pictured) from company websites. •  Other APIs: LinkedIn offers additional APIs around Group discussions, Company Page updates and other communication.
  • 31. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 31 ADVERTISING ON LINKEDIN In addition to its standard ads, LinkedIn boasts a variety of premium ad offerings that drive awareness, engagement and leads, including: •  Branded Communities: Brands can partner with LinkedIn to launch Managed Groups (pictured), which host branded editorial-based conversations around topics of interest. •  Sponsored Content: Brands can promote their Company Page status updates through Sponsored Content, which appear in users’ feeds. •  Targeting Capabilities: With standardized profile data on its 225 million members and partnerships with Experian, Polk and others, LinkedIn offers professional and consumer targeting capabilities. •  Additional Segmentation: LinkedIn can target users based on who they are, as well as what they interact with on and off the site to create vertical and/or intender segments. •  Retargeting Capabilities: LinkedIn ad units can target users that have visited brand websites in the past.
  • 32. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 32 COMPANY PAGE UPDATE TYPES According to LinkedIn, the types of Company Page update types with the highest follower engagement are: 1.  Exclusive “behind the scenes” content and interviews 2.  Career-related posts, including job opportunities 3.  Tips and best practices 4.  Company and industry facts and quotes
  • 33. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 33 EDITORIAL APPROACH AND CONTENT FILTER ARE KEY •  Content Development and Ownership: Which stakeholders create and “own” the content that will eventually get published on a LinkedIn Company Page? Will it work as is, or will it need to be reworked? •  Brand Values: Does the content align with and display a company's unique brand values and positioning? •  Short-Term vs. Long-Term Content: Does the topic address a subject that’s of long-term interest to the company and its followers (e.g. sustainability, retirement planning), or is more timely and short term (e.g. new product release, conference announcement)? •  Audience interest: Based on the company’s goals and audience, is there interest in this topic? (Will be determined over time with engagement level, LinkedIn Insights.) When evaluating content (original and curated) for a LinkedIn Company Page, consider the following: Once topics are defined, brands can start to plan their editorial calendars.
  • 34. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 34 06. BUILDING AN ACTIVATION PLAN AND MEASUREMENT FRAMEWORK
  • 35. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 35 INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ACTIVATION A successful LinkedIn Company Page activation requires both internal and external activation. This includes the following activities: INTERNAL EXTERNAL LinkedIn personal pages for key company thought leaders Internal employee “follower” campaigns Recruit internal champions to contribute to company page Cross-promote through other owned properties (e.g. website, social channels, email) Leverage existing influencer relationships / campaigns Follower acquisition campaigns (paid) Activation campaigns (leverage LinkedIn API) Recruitment (career) campaigns
  • 36. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 36 DEVELOPING KPIS In order to prove the success of any marketing program, especially new channel activations, measurement must be an integral part. After roles, responsibilities and an activation approach have been defined, measurable KPIs must be proposed, as well as a reporting schedule. The KPIs will be tied to a company’s overall channel strategy, as well as individual goals and objectives.
  • 37. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 37 SAMPLE KPIS House elevated conversations designed to lead the industry Highlight company talent, ideas and innovations Treat followers as peers Reinforce pride of association and evoke a desire to be part of company culture Promote thought leadership Spark debate Initiate conversations Create brand associations Follow our stories Users actively shape the story Attract top talent to the brand Improve employee satisfaction / pride of association among current employees Profile of followers Share of followers at more senior level (e.g. VP, CEO) Number of posts impressions Clickthroughs to content Number of comments Content Marketing Index score Total number of followers Repeat engagements Number of likes Number of shares Number and share of followers from the client’s industry Engagement rate (% of engaged visitors) Numbers of new applications Number of company employee followers STRATEGY 1 2 3 4 GOAL KPIs
  • 38. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 38 07. CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS
  • 39. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 39 CONCLUSION AND ACTION ITEMS LinkedIn presents a vast, yet mostly untapped opportunity for brands to break through with high-value, professional content. However, to be competitive in the LinkedIn space, brands must do the following: "   Recognize that LinkedIn users have a different mindset from other social networkers. "   Conduct a competitive audit of Company Pages in their verticals to identify the opportunity. "   Provide all required content for their Company Pages. "   Develop a full editorial model, identifying key responsibilities and stakeholders. "   Look beyond their own Company Pages to other owned, earned and paid LinkedIn opportunities. "   Based on a brand’s goals and activities, develop a measurement framework to attribute success and identify weaknesses.
  • 40. CRITICAL MASS About Critical Mass, an Omnicom digital marketing agency, helps the world's leading companies use digital media to create extraordinary experiences— experiences that bring together creative thinking, smart ideas and emerging technologies to drive our clients’ businesses. Consistently recognized as a leading interactive agency, Critical Mass operates globally from offices in Calgary, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam and Costa Rica. CriticalMass.com Follow LinkedIn.com/company/critical-mass Twitter.com/CriticalMass Facebook.com/CriticalMass.Agency YouTube.com/CriticalMassAgency Slideshare.net/CM1234 Social Media Team David Jones, VP Social Media @DoctorJones Alison Fraker, Sr. Social Planner @AlisonFraker Daniel B. Honigman, Sr. Social Planner @DanielHonigman Kyle Bottoms, Social Planner @KyleBottoms Lindsay Renwick, Social Planner @LindsayRenwick Nikki Lloyd, Community Manager @Nikki_Lloyd ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 40
  • 41. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 41 FURTHER READING http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5011 http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/10/02/follow-people/ http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/04/04/start-a-conversation-by-mentioning-your-connections-on-linkedin/ http://press.linkedin.com/about http://developer.linkedin.com/apis http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/linkedin-pivoting-one-marketing-deals-content-based-ads-149120 http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30030/LinkedIn-277-More-Effective-for-Lead-Generation-Than-Facebook-Twitter-New-Data.aspx
  • 42. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | CM OFFICES Calgary 1011 9th Avenue SE Suite 300 Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 0H7 +1 403 262 3006 Chicago 225 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 2050 Chicago, Illinois, USA 60601 +1 312 288 2500 London 52-58 Shorts Gardens London, United Kingdom WC2H 9AN +44 (0) 203 077 1350 Los Angeles 12555 West Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, USA 90066 +1 310 305 5381 Nashville 209 10th Avenue South Suite 507 Nashville, Tennessee, USA 37203 +1 504 301 8385 New York 711 3rd Avenue, Floor 11 New York, New York, USA 10017-4043 +1 212 801 8318 Toronto 312 Adelaide St. West 6th Floor Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 1R2 +1 416 673 5275 Costa Rica 300 metros al oeste de CENADA Metro Park, zona franca Metropolitana Edificio 5b-B, Barreal de Heredia, Costa Rica +1 855 242 6427 42
  • 43. ©2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 43 THANK YOU