LinkedIn 3×3: Three really good things about LinkedIn

If you haven't used the portal yet, dive in.

Last month I presented at the CASE Social Media and Community Conference, an excellent two-day event for higher education mar-comms and alumni relations professionals to meet up and exchange ideas.

Alongside LinkedIn’s Higher Education Partner Charles Hardy, I spoke about our use of LinkedIn for brand awareness, business engagement and alumni engagement. You can see the full presentation here (make sure you click on the ‘notes’ tab so you can read my script).

The last part of the presentation looked at three groups of things: three good things LinkedIn does, three things which could be better, and three things universities could do differently on LinkedIn.

I’m going to expand on those thoughts in a series of posts (three, obviously), starting with three really good things.

The data is mind-boggling

LinkedIn has a lot of data on its users. Think about it: they know who you are, what your profession is and where you work. But they also know what skills you say you have, and what skills other people agree you have.

And, with the introduction of status updates and articles, they know what you write about.

The analytics are pretty good on LinkedIn pages. Free targeted posts are nice. Advertising can be very precise, and you can reach some very niche professional audiences.

And the alumni tool is still amazing.

For a university, the primary audience on LinkedIn is alumni. Businesses and employers are a secondary audience. LinkedIn’s data can be put to use for effective alumni engagement.

We know that alumni are a very diverse group of individuals. They don’t necessarily identify themselves as ‘Hallam Alumni’. They may think of themselves as ‘an art graduate’ or a ‘Sheffield Business School alumni’.

If we sift through the data, we could take a more targeted, personalised approach to alumni engagement. Of course, we’d need more resources to do that.

A snapshot of Sheffield Hallam alumni

A snapshot of Sheffield Hallam alumni

But the data is incredible. We have over 100,000 alumni connected to our page. We can see that the majority of them are UK-based. There are a lot of business and management graduates, and a lot of them are in business development, engineering and IT.

The data also suggests a gap: only 420 are listed as employed by the NHS. We train hundreds of radiotherapy, nursing and midwifery students every year. So we have to assume those alumni are not using LinkedIn, which means we can’t reach them through LinkedIn.

The learning portal is incredible

This is, without a doubt, the single best feature on any social media platform. Really. Facebook has Words With Friends, Twitter has the ever-evolving meta-game that is Twitter, and pretty much every social channel has stories, live video and stickers.

LinkedIn has learning and development, and lots of it.

If you haven't used the portal yet, dive in.

If you haven’t used the portal yet, dive in.

OK, so it’s essentially Lynda.com repackaged, and you need a Premium account, but it’s perfectly integrated, has a personalised interface, and it’s a comprehensive resource for anyone who wants to add some new skills to their profile.

LinkedIn is clear on its mission to be the platform for learning and development, and the learning portal really sets them apart. I’m looking forward to seeing what Charles and his team do with it in the future.

You can post news on LinkedIn

You can post news on Facebook and Instagram, if you present it in the right way (I’m looking at you, Buzzfeed). And you can do big announcements on Twitter, if you can tell the story in one tweet.

But news shouldn’t be 100% of your content mix on those channels. You’ll alienate people and they’ll stop listening.

On LinkedIn, news, announcements and future developments make for good content that gets a lot of organic reach, along with plenty of likes and comments from alumni.

People like that type of content on that specific platform.

Look at that organic reach. Now imagine posting that story on a Facebook page.

Look at that organic reach, and those likes. Now imagine posting that story, in that format, on a university Facebook page.

Again, you should mix it up, seeking engagement rather than reach by posting softer, more conversational content – I’ve written before about the power of nostalgia on LinkedIn, for example. But, in general, audiences on LinkedIn like news.

Those are three things I like about LinkedIn. I’ll follow up next week with three… less good things.

What about you? What sets LinkedIn apart for you? How do you use it? What’s different to how you used to use LinkedIn?

Joe Field, social media manager
@joemcafield

 

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