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Relationship Economics: How to improve employee and customer relationships with social media by LinkedIn and Brian Solis

How genuine communication and engagement in social media helps businesses grow relationships with employees and customers while improving the bottom line

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RELATIONSHIP 
ECONOMICS: 
How genuine communication and 
engagement in social media helps 
businesses grow relationships with 
employees and customers while 
improving the bottom line 
October 2014 
By Brian Solis 
with Jaimy Szymanski and Rebecca Lieb 
Custom research by Altimeter Group on behalf of LinkedIn
RELATIONSHIP ECONOMICS: 
Relationships Matter 
Executive Summary 
5QEKCNOGFKCKUWUJGTKPIKPCTGXQNWVKQPVJCVGSWCNKGUVJGRNC[KPIƂGNF 
for how information is shared and consumed. With social, mobile, and 
real time at the heart of consumer technology, everyday people are now 
CUKIPKƂECPVRCTVQHVJGOGFKCNCPFUECRG$GECWUGQHVJKUDWUKPGUUGU 
that wish to thrive in a social economy must study their relationships 
with customers, employees, and prospects as part of a larger investment 
in relationship economics. Relationship economics dictates that when 
DWUKPGUUGUXCNWGRGQRNGGZRGTKGPEGUCPFCURKTCVKQPUVJG[TGCRDGPGƂVU 
OGCUWTGFKPRTQƂVCDKNKV[NQ[CNV[CPFCFXQECE[+PVJKUEQPPGEVGFGEQU[UVGO 
where people are becoming nodes in popular social networks, relationship 
economics offer competitive advantages. 
LinkedIn partnered with Altimeter Group to study some of the world’s most 
socially engaged companies, including Salesforce.com, Citrix Systems, 
Bloomberg, MasterCard, Visa, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. 
6JGUGEQORCPKGUYGTGKFGPVKƂGFCUVJGOQUVUQEKCNN[GPICIGFDCUGFQP 
their ability to use social media to improve engagement and relationships 
with customers and employees. 
.KPMGF+PCPF#NVKOGVGT)TQWRVJGPUGVQWVVQNGCTPCDQWVVJGDGPGƂVUVJGUG 
companies realized based on how they used the LinkedIn platform in the 
following areas: 
CONTENT MARKETING 
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT 
TALENT AND RECRUITMENT 
SALES 
As our research with LinkedIn shows, the more you invest in terms of purpose, 
time, openness, value, listening, and engagement in social media, the more 
likely the relationships will thrive. Our research also suggests that, by investing 
in relationships through social media, workforce and business performance 
become more optimistic and productive. 
About This Research 
This custom research report 
is sponsored by LinkedIn. 
While the research in this 
report may have been 
informed by LinkedIn, all 
findings and analysis are 
independent and represent 
Altimeter’s ongoing body 
of research. 
2
Executive Summary (continued) 
We learned that successful companies see social media as both channels and 
prevailing communication and engagement philosophies to attract the world’s 
DGUVVCNGPVDWKNFVTWUVYKVJGORNQ[GGUCPFEWUVQOGTUCVUECNGCPFƂPFCPF 
engage buyers in more meaningful ways. 
#FFKVKQPCNVQRNGXGNTGUGCTEJƂPFKPIUKPENWFG 
EMPLOYEES AT SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANIES: 
• Believe that LinkedIn has had a positive impact on 
their company 
• Are more inspired and optimistic about their company 
• Are more informed and likely to become ambassadors who not 
only read updates but also share them with colleagues inside 
and outside the organization 
• Are collaborative and connected with team members on 
and outside their teams 
• Feel they are having an impact on their organization 
EXECUTIVES AT SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANIES: 
• Are more likely to use professional social media to build 
relationships and actively create and share content 
• Are vocal proponents in employee use of professional 
social media 
3
TABLE OF CONTENTS 
The Top 25 Socially Engaged Companies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Employee Engagement Is at an All-Time Low. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Relationship Economics Drive Social Business Transformation. . . 
Socially Engaged Companies Invest in Relationship Economics to 
Improve Bottom-Line Results. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
How to Become a Socially Engaged Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
5 
6 
7 
12 
13 
4
THE TOP 25 
SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANIES 
To demonstrate social engagement and 
transformation, LinkedIn released its list of the 
top 25 socially engaged companies in July 2014 
(see Figure 1). This list showcases companies that 
effectively use social media to improve engagement 
and relationships with customers and employees. In 
partnership with LinkedIn, Altimeter Group set out 
VQUVWF[VJGDGPGƂVUVJCVTGUWNVHTQOJQYVJGUGVQR 
businesses use this platform in the following areas: 
• CONTENT MARKETING 
• EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT 
• TALENT AND RECRUITMENT 
• SALES 
Figure 1 LinkedIn Introduces the Top 25 Socially Engaged Companies 
LinkedIn Introduces 
the Top 25 
Socially Engaged 
Companies 
Based on billions of 
signals and insights we have 
identified the 25 companies 
who are the most engaged 
on LinkedIn to leverage 
relationships with employees 
and customers. 
Source: Altimeter Group and LinkedIn 
5 
Relationship economics 
dictates that when 
businesses value people, 
experiences, and aspirations, 
they reap benefits measured 
in profitability, loyalty, 
and advocacy.
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT 
IS AT AN ALL-TIME LOW 
In an era of social media, investing relationship 
economics can represent the difference between 
engaged and disengaged employees. 
In late 2013, Gallup released the most recent version 
of its survey that measures international employee 
satisfaction. It finds that only 13% of workers feel 
engaged by their jobs. The vast majority, 63%, is not 
engaged. Moreover, 24% are actively disengaged 
(see Figure 2). In a social economy, where employees 
can easily share experiences with professional and 
personal networks, influence on morale transcends 
corporate borders. Unhappy employees eventually 
contribute to a lull in attracting new, desirable talent. 
LinkedIn and Altimeter Group surveyed two groups 
online about their participation on the platform: 
a target group (N=1,460) and a control group 
(N=1,378). The target group’s respondents were 
from the top 100 most socially engaged companies, 
according to LinkedIn’s proprietary scoring in four key 
areas (hiring, marketing, sales, and collaboration on 
LinkedIn). Of the top 100 companies surveyed, 81 are 
from North America and nearly half are in the software 
industry. The control group’s respondents were from 
the general user base of employees whose companies 
are on LinkedIn. Only companies with more than 
1,000 employees were surveyed. 
In both quantitative and qualitative reviews of social 
media strategies among the top 100, findings 
demonstrate that communication and engagement 
improve relationships with customers, employees, and 
prospects. Relationships carry many virtues that help 
companies thrive and compete. As social strategies 
mature, companies transform from the inside out to 
become more open and forthcoming, adapting to 
technology and evolving new customer and employee 
behaviors. 
Figure 2 Employee Engagement is at an All-Time Low 
Employee Engagement is at an All-Time Low 
According to a recent Gallup survey: 
13% 
of employees 
are engaged 
63% 
are not 
engaged 
STATE OF THE GLOBAL WORKPLACE 2013 GALLUP 
6

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Relationship Economics: How to improve employee and customer relationships with social media by LinkedIn and Brian Solis

  • 1. RELATIONSHIP ECONOMICS: How genuine communication and engagement in social media helps businesses grow relationships with employees and customers while improving the bottom line October 2014 By Brian Solis with Jaimy Szymanski and Rebecca Lieb Custom research by Altimeter Group on behalf of LinkedIn
  • 2. RELATIONSHIP ECONOMICS: Relationships Matter Executive Summary 5QEKCNOGFKCKUWUJGTKPIKPCTGXQNWVKQPVJCVGSWCNKGUVJGRNC[KPIƂGNF for how information is shared and consumed. With social, mobile, and real time at the heart of consumer technology, everyday people are now CUKIPKƂECPVRCTVQHVJGOGFKCNCPFUECRG$GECWUGQHVJKUDWUKPGUUGU that wish to thrive in a social economy must study their relationships with customers, employees, and prospects as part of a larger investment in relationship economics. Relationship economics dictates that when DWUKPGUUGUXCNWGRGQRNGGZRGTKGPEGUCPFCURKTCVKQPUVJG[TGCRDGPGƂVU OGCUWTGFKPRTQƂVCDKNKV[NQ[CNV[CPFCFXQECE[+PVJKUEQPPGEVGFGEQU[UVGO where people are becoming nodes in popular social networks, relationship economics offer competitive advantages. LinkedIn partnered with Altimeter Group to study some of the world’s most socially engaged companies, including Salesforce.com, Citrix Systems, Bloomberg, MasterCard, Visa, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. 6JGUGEQORCPKGUYGTGKFGPVKƂGFCUVJGOQUVUQEKCNN[GPICIGFDCUGFQP their ability to use social media to improve engagement and relationships with customers and employees. .KPMGF+PCPF#NVKOGVGT)TQWRVJGPUGVQWVVQNGCTPCDQWVVJGDGPGƂVUVJGUG companies realized based on how they used the LinkedIn platform in the following areas: CONTENT MARKETING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT TALENT AND RECRUITMENT SALES As our research with LinkedIn shows, the more you invest in terms of purpose, time, openness, value, listening, and engagement in social media, the more likely the relationships will thrive. Our research also suggests that, by investing in relationships through social media, workforce and business performance become more optimistic and productive. About This Research This custom research report is sponsored by LinkedIn. While the research in this report may have been informed by LinkedIn, all findings and analysis are independent and represent Altimeter’s ongoing body of research. 2
  • 3. Executive Summary (continued) We learned that successful companies see social media as both channels and prevailing communication and engagement philosophies to attract the world’s DGUVVCNGPVDWKNFVTWUVYKVJGORNQ[GGUCPFEWUVQOGTUCVUECNGCPFƂPFCPF engage buyers in more meaningful ways. #FFKVKQPCNVQRNGXGNTGUGCTEJƂPFKPIUKPENWFG EMPLOYEES AT SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANIES: • Believe that LinkedIn has had a positive impact on their company • Are more inspired and optimistic about their company • Are more informed and likely to become ambassadors who not only read updates but also share them with colleagues inside and outside the organization • Are collaborative and connected with team members on and outside their teams • Feel they are having an impact on their organization EXECUTIVES AT SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANIES: • Are more likely to use professional social media to build relationships and actively create and share content • Are vocal proponents in employee use of professional social media 3
  • 4. TABLE OF CONTENTS The Top 25 Socially Engaged Companies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Employee Engagement Is at an All-Time Low. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Relationship Economics Drive Social Business Transformation. . . Socially Engaged Companies Invest in Relationship Economics to Improve Bottom-Line Results. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . How to Become a Socially Engaged Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 6 7 12 13 4
  • 5. THE TOP 25 SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANIES To demonstrate social engagement and transformation, LinkedIn released its list of the top 25 socially engaged companies in July 2014 (see Figure 1). This list showcases companies that effectively use social media to improve engagement and relationships with customers and employees. In partnership with LinkedIn, Altimeter Group set out VQUVWF[VJGDGPGƂVUVJCVTGUWNVHTQOJQYVJGUGVQR businesses use this platform in the following areas: • CONTENT MARKETING • EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT • TALENT AND RECRUITMENT • SALES Figure 1 LinkedIn Introduces the Top 25 Socially Engaged Companies LinkedIn Introduces the Top 25 Socially Engaged Companies Based on billions of signals and insights we have identified the 25 companies who are the most engaged on LinkedIn to leverage relationships with employees and customers. Source: Altimeter Group and LinkedIn 5 Relationship economics dictates that when businesses value people, experiences, and aspirations, they reap benefits measured in profitability, loyalty, and advocacy.
  • 6. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS AT AN ALL-TIME LOW In an era of social media, investing relationship economics can represent the difference between engaged and disengaged employees. In late 2013, Gallup released the most recent version of its survey that measures international employee satisfaction. It finds that only 13% of workers feel engaged by their jobs. The vast majority, 63%, is not engaged. Moreover, 24% are actively disengaged (see Figure 2). In a social economy, where employees can easily share experiences with professional and personal networks, influence on morale transcends corporate borders. Unhappy employees eventually contribute to a lull in attracting new, desirable talent. LinkedIn and Altimeter Group surveyed two groups online about their participation on the platform: a target group (N=1,460) and a control group (N=1,378). The target group’s respondents were from the top 100 most socially engaged companies, according to LinkedIn’s proprietary scoring in four key areas (hiring, marketing, sales, and collaboration on LinkedIn). Of the top 100 companies surveyed, 81 are from North America and nearly half are in the software industry. The control group’s respondents were from the general user base of employees whose companies are on LinkedIn. Only companies with more than 1,000 employees were surveyed. In both quantitative and qualitative reviews of social media strategies among the top 100, findings demonstrate that communication and engagement improve relationships with customers, employees, and prospects. Relationships carry many virtues that help companies thrive and compete. As social strategies mature, companies transform from the inside out to become more open and forthcoming, adapting to technology and evolving new customer and employee behaviors. Figure 2 Employee Engagement is at an All-Time Low Employee Engagement is at an All-Time Low According to a recent Gallup survey: 13% of employees are engaged 63% are not engaged STATE OF THE GLOBAL WORKPLACE 2013 GALLUP 6
  • 7. RELATIONSHIP ECONOMICS DRIVES SOCIAL BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION As society becomes increasingly connected, companies must become digitally savvy to compete for customers and top talent. They must also become truly social by investing in more than technology alone; they must invest in fostering valuable, meaningful internal and external relationships. In a social economy, businesses that aim beyond transactional engagement to focus on community are rising above the fray, earning and retaining talent, improving morale, and increasing sales. Paul Jaminet is a scientist whose career has evolved to focus more deeply on strategy consulting and relationship economics. Jaminet believes that relationships are an essential prerequisite for the communications that reveal opportunities and the transactions that exploit them.1 He was inspired by the work of British economist Ronald Coase and Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich August Hayek. Jaminet’s work studies the costs of forming and maintaining personal relationships and what benefits those relationships create.2 He found decisions about relationships are often more important than decisions about transactions. “It is the consumer’s relational decision that is critical “It’s the consumer’s relational decision that is critical to his business success, not the later transactional decisions.” to his business success, not the later transactional decisions,” he states on his website (Jaminet’s italics).3 LinkedIn’s top 25 socially engaged businesses share many important attributes. One is the goal of improving communication and collaboration between people at every level. This approach involves intentional strategies and transactions that drive relationship economics, causing customers and employees to gain preference and affinity toward businesses that actively invest in nurturing relationships with them. If social media is about the democratization of people and information, Sir Francis Bacon’s bold assessment in 1597 that “knowledge itself is power” has never been truer.4 Information leads to confidence. Engagement leads to collaboration. Collaboration leads to improved morale and innovation. Each contributes to a more productive and transparent culture that aligns with the tenets of social media. Relationship economics is not only a viable way to explore the ROI of engagement and community building, it is also becoming a competitive advantage. Enter social media. Organizations now have access to platforms that open doors between customers and employees to foster meaningful dialogue. By communicating updates, useful information, and opportunities — and by participating in conversations — businesses are moving from broadcasting information to actively hosting or participating in important communities. Microsoft, one of the top 100 socially engaged companies, understands the importance of linking digital goals to strategic community engagement on LinkedIn. The company created a LinkedIn group to better engage its developer audience across Australia, to reach developers outside the Microsoft network, and to create influence via its content. By hosting and engaging with its own community of like-minded software developers, the software company generated a 33% click-through rate from content shared within the LinkedIn community to its external web properties. Another of the top 100 socially engaged companies is Salesforce.com (SFDC). Dave Thomas, SFDC’s senior director of content and engagement, believes that employees have quickly come to expect their companies to focus on building relationships through social media: By being more active over the last few years on LinkedIn and other social channels, we’ve found that employees come to expect that, in a good way. 7 -Paul Jaminet, Scientist
  • 8. They’re happy when they see our content, they share it, and they’re proud to see us responding in social. Over a short period of time, employee expectations of how social we were going to be as a company rose quickly because they now saw the value of it and appreciated us speaking with a more human voice. It emphasizes trust as well, a high corporate value that goes hand-in-hand with engagement and transparency in social. To what extent do relationship economics matter? The return on investment (ROI) is in the numbers. According to survey results, the differences between employees from socially engaged companies and those from the control group are compelling. Employees at socially engaged companies are more likely to believe that LinkedIn has had a positive impact on their company. In a social economy, relationships matter. Social media helps create emotional connections with consumers and employees. Relationship economics not only contribute to emotional benefits but also are the transactional foundation for word-of-mouth marketing, which fuels business referrals and recruitment for top talent. Socially engaged companies are more likely to drive greater lead generation, cultivate innovation, and yield top talent (see Figure 3). They are: more likely to believe LinkedIn helps them attract great talent (41% of the target group vs. 26% of the control group) more likely to believe LinkedIn makes them more innovative (26% vs. 21%) more likely to believe their company is more competitive (21% vs. 15%). more likely to align social media engagement to more sales leads (11% vs. 7%) Figure 3 Social Media Engagement Stimulates Competition 57% 24% 40% 57% Source: Altimeter Group and LinkedIn 8
  • 9. Figure 4 Employees at socially engaged companies Feel Empowered and Inspired Employees at socially engaged companies are more likely to be inspired and optimistic about their company. The most socially engaged businesses are learning that intentional social content and community strategies inform and empower internal and external stakeholders and build productive communities where like-minded professionals connect to solve problems and create opportunities. Socially engaged companies are leading the way for a new social era of business transformation, where trust becomes a metric and relationships offer economic value. Employees at socially engaged companies are (see Figure 4): more likely to believe LinkedIn focuses the culture on relationships and engagement (33% of the target group vs. 28% of the control group) more likely to feel inspired at their job (36% vs. 30%) more likely to be optimistic about the future of their organization (52% vs. 41%) more likely to attribute social media engagement strategies to employee retention (12% vs. 10%) Citrix’s director of social marketing, Justin Levy, shared how extending information beyond traditional owned channels to social channels engages people where attention is often focused: Source: Altimeter Group and LinkedIn 18% 20% 27% 20% 9
  • 10. Figure 5 Executives Lead the Way and Set the Standard for Engagement 37% “Even though we have an intranet at Citrix, a lot of employees find company information through our social channels first. They’re tied into their LinkedIn networks and see content pop up in Source: Altimeter Group and LinkedIn their news feeds. Being such a large company, it’s their window into our never-ending stream of content.” Executives at socially engaged companies lead by example and are more likely to use professional social media to engage and lead digitally. In a relationship economy, leaders have to walk the walk in order for others to follow. The vast majority of C-suite executives surveyed (85%) use LinkedIn to build relationships outside their company that help them with their career goals. Additionally, 60% of chief experience officers (CXOs) use LinkedIn for the same purpose within their company, leading to employee pride in the leadership team. Compared to those at companies that are not socially active, executives at socially engaged companies are (see Figure 5): more likely to be actively building relationships on professional social media (41%of the target group vs. 30% of the control group) more likely to create and share content (35% vs. 23%) more likely to be vocal proponents of the use of social media (24% vs. 16%) “Being such a large company, it’s their window into our never-ending stream of content” -Justin Levy, Citrix 52% 50% 10
  • 11. As we learned with LinkedIn’s top 25 socially engaged companies, when you empower people with information, trust, and relevant content, engagement and sharing become powerful economic engines. A key tenet in social business transformation is indeed empowerment. When people become ambassadors, they build positive attributes for the company and themselves. Getty Images is another company in LinkedIn’s top 100 most socially engaged. VP of brand Susan Song believes LinkedIn is an important staple of the company’s earned media strategy, contributing to increased customer advocacy: “Working organically through content, we can build a much stronger community on an earned media basis rather than paid social. The creation of a community on LinkedIn is important for Getty Images, because, from our standpoint, these are customers who have worked hard to help us by being brand advocates. It becomes more of a word-of-mouth type brand engagement.” Empowerment helps sales and marketing more effectively engage customers, which translates into improved relationships that offer business benefits. Citrix’s Levy shared that the company’s sales team was finding success on its own by purchasing LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator product out-of-pocket in order to further their careers. When Citrix learned of this in late 2013, it escalated the issue to a corporate level, creating a company-funded pilot of the tool to determine its viability enterprise-wide. Building social engagement relationships and cultivating a mutually beneficial ROI takes a dedicated, unified effort. Clearly, social media is more than just running marketing campaigns. Key business functions and lines of business must work together to achieve goals. Top companies are investing in dedicated social strategies in key areas to develop engagement levels inside and outside the business. Among the top 25 socially engaged companies, social media strategies are run specific to business units: HR, sales, and social marketing. But in the case of LinkedIn engagement, teams are learning to work together to convey an integrated story and complement disparate strategies that unite audiences, deliver value, and channel engagement. SFDC’s Thomas approaches LinkedIn with people and expectations in mind as part of a larger content marketing strategy. “Rather than having a standalone LinkedIn strategy, we’ve incorporated LinkedIn as a channel in part of a larger content distribution strategy,” he said. “LinkedIn gives us a relevant and directed channel to the audience we want to reach.” 11 “Rather than having a standalone LinkedIn strategy, we’ve encorporated LinkedIn as a channel in part of a larger content distribution strategy” “Working organically -Dave Thomas, SFDC through content, we can build a much stronger community on an earned media basis rather than paid social.” -Susan Song, Getty Images
  • 12. SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANIES INVEST IN RELATIONSHIP ECONOMICS TO IMPROVE BOTTOM-LINE RESULTS Relationships have always mattered, but now they matter more than ever. With focus, commitment, and genuine intentions, social media becomes much more than just another marketing channel. Simply said, our research makes the case for investing in relationship economics. Strong but sincere, value-added social media engagement contributes to the bottom line. More importantly, the act of investing in relationship economics yields significant human benefits as well. When companies invest in relationships with customers, employees, prospects, and partners, they reap benefits measured in competitiveness, profitability, loyalty, and advocacy. Beyond the bottom line, organizations also evolve into truly social businesses, where technology becomes an enabler of something with a greater purpose, driven by the resolve to improve communication, connections, and collaboration between people. Building relationships takes intent, and intent begins with empathy. Technology improves how companies communicate internally and externally, but it is the desire to build relationships and the capacity invest in them through content, engagement, and support over time that counts. LinkedIn’s top 25 socially engaged companies share the genuine intent to improve how companies communicate with customers and employees. Moreover, they open communication paths between what was once the audience and is now an active and participatory community. This is where social business transformation truly begins. 12 This is where social business transformation truly begins.
  • 13. HOW TO BECOME A SOCIALLY ENGAGED COMPANY LinkedIn and Altimeter Group documented best practices among the top 100 socially engaged businesses. Additionally, Altimeter Group has studied the successful traits of other leading social businesses and assembled a list of essential elements to integrate into your approach: Figure 6 10 Steps to Becoming a Socially Engaged Company 13 8. Balance Owned and 5. Create Engaging, Shareable Content 1. Audit 2. Broaden Your Definition of Social 3. Think Holistically 4. Test and Learn Paid 7. Don’t Just Sell and Market 6. Keep a Rhythm 9. Think Globally, but Act Locally 10. Scale Across Key Functions Source: Altimeter Group 2014
  • 14. 1 1. AUDIT. Conduct an internal audit to determine 2 14 how employees are currently using LinkedIn and other social networks. This informs what your company should invest in on their behalf to increase job performance. 1. BROADEN YOUR DEFINITION OF SOCIAL. Consider a more integrated approach to your social media strategy: • Technology: Discover which platforms your desired audiences are already using and align with them. • Listening/learning: Observe questions and discussions. Learn what’s important to your communities. Pay attention to what competitors and best-in-class companies are doing and not doing. Apply those insights to your strategy before launching anything. • Community: Invest in building a community with and around your brand. Use LinkedIn Company Pages, but also go where engagement is already taking place. Become part of the community. Shape the direction of the community. 1. THINK HOLISTICALLY. Social media is made up of channels for specific purposes but that roll up to a more significant business charter. Everything must run under a common and compelling vision. • Sales: Empower sales professionals to engage with the tools that inform and allow them to build relationships at scale. • Employee engagement: Communicate with employees, empower and engage them, and arm them with the information and content that appeals to not only them but also their networks. • Recruiting: Invest in making the company more human. Prospects are looking for more than just jobs; they’re looking for personality, culture, and empowerment. • Content marketing: Include LinkedIn as part of a cross-channel content marketing strategy, but also use other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, where customers and prospects are already engaging. • Internal organization and collaboration: Ensure all LinkedIn relationship owners communicate regularly about platform strategies. 2. TEST AND LEARN. Run pilot tests to determine benefits and viability. Communicate findings to the broader team. 3. CREATE ENGAGING, SHAREABLE CONTENT. Keep the audience in mind, every time. Generate content that’s informative, entertaining, useful, and shareable. Shareable content requires a different approach, so study sharing patterns to inspire content creation. Experiment with a variety of content types to determine what your audience consumes, engages with, and shares most often. 4. KEEP A RHYTHM. Stay present, but don’t saturate. Find a solid rhythm. 5. DON’T JUST SELL AND MARKET. Make sure to stagger your content so that you give more than you ask. 6. BALANCE OWNED AND PAID. Consider using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates for lead generation and recruitment. Sometimes a more effective form of extending reach and building communities requires reaching beyond your existing audience. 7. THINK GLOBALLY BUT ACT LOCALLY. Most social platforms are global with a local reach. Geo-specific content gets employees’ and customers’ attention because they can “see themselves” in the content. 8. SCALE ACROSS KEY FUNCTIONS. Socially engaged companies don’t limit engagement to any one department. Those who find success scale it across the organization to improve employee engagement, recruiting, sales, and marketing. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3
  • 15. ENDNOTES 1 Paul Jaminet’s Writings on Relationship Economics. Accessed on September 16, 2014. http://relationshipeconomics.com 2 “Introduction to Relationship Economics.” Paul Jaminet’s Writings on Relationship Economics. Accessed on September 16, 2014. http://www.relationshipeconomics.com/introduction.htm 3 “Introduction to Relationship Economics.” 4 Bacon, Francis. “Essay XXVI: Of Heresies,” Meditationes Sacrae (1597). METHODOLOGY LinkedIn and Altimeter Group surveyed two groups online about their participation on the platform: a target group (N=1,460) and a control group (N=1,378). The target group’s respondents were from the top 100 most socially engaged companies, according to LinkedIn’s proprietary scoring in four key areas (hiring, marketing, sales, and collaboration on LinkedIn). Of the top 100 companies surveyed, 81 are from North America and nearly half are in the software industry. The control group’s respondents were from the general user base of employees whose companies are on LinkedIn. Only companies with more than 1,000 employees were surveyed. BRANDS Justin Levy, Global Social Media, Citrix Lewis D’Vorkin, Chief Product Officer, Forbes Susan Song, VP Brand, Getty Images Shanee Ben-Zur, Manager #dreamjob Marketing and Social Media, Salesforce.com Anna Eschenburg, Manager Engagement Marketing, Salesforce.com Jennifer Johnston, Senior Director #dreamjob Marketing and Communications, Salesforce.com Dave Thomas, Senior Director Content Community, Salesforce.com ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS With thanks to support from: Erin Brenner, Maeve Delahunt, Heather Meeker-Haas, Vladimir Mirkovic, Carol Quinn, Briana Schweizer, Christine Tran, Alec Wagner, and Carole Zibi. PERMISSIONS The Creative Commons License is Attribution- Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 United States at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0. DISCLAIMER ALTHOUGH THE INFORMATION AND DATA USED IN THIS REPORT HAVE BEEN PRODUCED AND PROCESSED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED IS MADE REGARDING THE COMPLETENESS, ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, OR USE OF THE INFORMATION. THE AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS OF THE INFORMATION AND DATA SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED HEREIN OR FOR INTERPRETATIONS THEREOF. REFERENCE HEREIN TO ANY SPECIFIC PRODUCT OR VENDOR BY TRADE NAME, TRADEMARK, OR OTHERWISE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE OR IMPLY ITS ENDORSEMENT, RECOMMENDATION, OR FAVORING BY THE AUTHORS OR CONTRIBUTORS AND SHALL NOT BE USED FOR ADVERTISING OR PRODUCT ENDORSEMENT PURPOSES. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. 15
  • 16. AUTHORS Brian Solis, Principal Analyst Brian Solis (@briansolis) is an award-winning author, prominent blogger, and keynote speaker. Solis works with enterprise organizations and technology vendors to research the state and direction of markets, competitors, and customer behavior. Through the use of proven frameworks and best practices, Solis analyzes trends, opportunities, capabilities, and areas for improvement to align new media initiatives with business priorities. Jaimy Szymanski, Senior Researcher Jaimy Szymanski (@jaimy_marie) has assisted in the creation of multiple open research reports covering how disruptive technologies impact business. Szymanski has also worked with Altimeter analysts on varied research and advisory projects for Fortune 500 companies in the telecomm, VTCXGNRJCTOCEGWVKECNƂPCPEKCNCPFVGEJPQNQI[KPFWUVTKGU*GTTGUGCTEJKPVGTGUVUNKGKPUQEKCN68 ICOKƂECVKQPFKIKVCNKPƃWGPEGCPFEQPUWOGTOQDKNG Rebecca Lieb, Industry Analyst Rebecca Lieb (@lieblink) covers content strategy, and digital advertising and media, encompassing brands, publishers, agencies and technology vendors. In addition to her background as a marketing executive, she was VP and editor-in-chief of the ClickZ Network for over seven years. For a portion of that time, she also ran Search Engine Watch. She’s written two books on digital marketing: The Truth About Search Engine Optimization (2009) and Content Marketing (2011). About Altimeter Group #NVKOGVGTKUCTGUGCTEJCPFEQPUWNVKPIƂTOVJCV helps companies understand and act on technology disruption. We give business leaders the insight and EQPƂFGPEGVQJGNRVJGKTEQORCPKGUVJTKXGKPVJGHCEGQH disruption. In addition to publishing research, Altimeter Group analysts speak and provide strategy consulting on trends in leadership, digital transformation, social business, data disruption and content marketing strategy. Altimeter Group 1875 S Grant St #680 San Mateo, CA 94402 info@altimetergroup.com www.altimetergroup.com @altimetergroup 650.212.2272 16 About LinkedIn Founded in 2003, LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. With over 300 million members worlwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, Linkedin is the world’s largest professional network on VJG+PVGTPGV6JGEQORCP[JCUFKXGTUKƂGFDWUKPGUU model with revenue coming from Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions and Premium Subscription products. *GCFSWCTVGTGFKP5KNKEQP8CNNG[.KPMGF+PJCUQHƂEGU across the globe.