LinkedIn has certainly grown in importance for me in the past year since TheMediaBriefing.com started.
We run a group now running at just under 500 members and it’s been very rewarding to have started some interesting discussions, that have fed into and inspired articles on TMB and hopefully proved useful to people in our community. Here are some entirely unscientific thoughts based on what I’ve learned and also what I see from other groups from media brands:
- Saying ‘what do you think?’ isn’t always enough to get a discussion going. Often people will say to themselves “er, I don’t think anything” and move on to answering emails. If you ask a specific questions, it might result in some specific answers. Rory asked people what advice they’d give a younger version of themselves – the title of an article he did for the site – and 25 comments later the thread is still going (my favourite tip: “Go into investment banking”).
- Shovelware can be useful, but not always. We added the LinkedIn sharing buttons to every page on TheMediaBriefing, which is a good way for readers to add a story to their professional network. Some posts are shared more than 20 times, which for a professional B2B brand like TMB means our articles are being seen by 100s of senior media people – our core target audience. Increasingly, LinkedIn is being used a content discovery platform. But, adding a link to the group using the button only starts a discussion - it doesn’t develop it. Plus, the automated way LinkedIn’s API presents button-fed links looks automated and a bit inhuman. It doesn’t look like part of a lively community.
- Posts with more comments get more comments: the first thing people see when they log in to the group are the “Most popular”, “Latest updates” and “Managers’ choice”. As with news articles, people drop into the discussions with lots of comments and are far more likely to add their thoughts when people (particularly people they know) have already said something. Not many people like to be the first to say something.
- Be tough but fair on self-promoters: It’s only a matter of time after starting a LinkedIn group before someone posts a link promoting their site or product. We even get people linking to their own discussions elsewhere. There’s an easy way to deal with this: “Mark as promotion”. This takes the link into the promotions section and out of the main discussion list. I’m more than happy for people to start a thread on something and link to themselves if appropriate (TMB likes linking in a big way, of course), but it has to be a discussion, not just a link-dumping, traffic-boosting exercise. Some marketers do this on an automated basis, incidentally.
- LinkedIn Opens Up Groups to Event Websites (eventmanagerblog.com)
- Are You Missing Business Opportunities on LinkedIn? How to Build a Network (myventurepad.com)
- #jpod: How journalists can best use LinkedIn (blogs.journalism.co.uk)