India is the number two market for LinkedIn today after US, with a membership of 200 million worldwide and over 18 million members in India. Nishant K Rao, Country Manager, LinkedIn India talks about the role played by mobile, focus for 2013, challenges in the India market and more…
What have been the game-changers for LinkedIn in India?
Product innovation, customisation of our products and services and increased focus on our consumers has proved to be pivotal for LinkedIn. In India, we have done very unique consumer marketing campaigns.
Mobile, as a medium, is fast gaining traction. How is LinkedIn leveraging this?
Almost 27 per cent of our traffic is driven by mobiles, which demonstrated that members are increasingly using LinkedIn on the go. Mobile is a great focus area for us and will continue to be in 2013. In fact, we have already introduced a number of apps that our members can use. We are also starting to experiment with some marketing products with mobile, which is under pilot, to ensure we get the member experience right.
What is your biggest challenge in the India market?
Awareness and education among members is challenging. A huge number of members are not aware and subsequently not using all the features. We are striving to get companies take control and own the employer’s branding and look at it as an investment, in the process taking advantage of the entire suite of services that Linkedin offers.
How does LinkedIn differentiate itself from the other social media forums?
People use other social media tools to spend time whereas they come to LinkedIn to invest time. Today social media is all about who engaged and how.
Have you observed a change in the employee mindset in India? Are Indian companies ready to invest more while recruiting?
Companies today reach out to get a 360-degree view of the candidate before recruitment. This can be attributed to social media transition. Post recession, we have seen an added emphasis on the quality of candidates, and companies today are definitely putting in more effort before recruitment to ascertain the compatibility of the candidate with the organisation. A 360-degree view is really important today as the quality of hire is the single most important metric; the cost per hire is more important in India than elsewhere.
How can marketers best optimise LinkedIn?
Marketers need to realise it is not about advertising but about engaging in meaningful dialogue. We have been able to do this successfully with clients such as Dell and Volkswagen, who have been able to target the right audience and have the right conversation; they are not pushing products but enabling a conversation to happen.
Marketers should leverage the targeting power of LinkedIn. Typically, a general campaign is used on LinkedIn; imagine the efficacy of the campaign if it was personalised for five different target audiences across LinkedIn. This is essentially customisation at scale. We have the ability to go through custom population; for e.g. business travelers. Hence, we need to have different campaigns with a professional focus as opposed to a one size fits all. It is all about taking social magic to the marketing arena.
What is the focus for 2013?
Our focus will be on staying in hyper growth mode. On the talent side, we are already at 200 people. We are going to continue to grow and I want to make sure the culture and values that we hold near to us stay the same.
On our consumer side, making sure we are doing the right things for our Indian consumer base, and increasing our consumer base will be key. We will be focussing on students as well.
On the client side, I will be working to make customers realize that within a certain business line if they go all in with us, they will see a definite increase in their investment.
What are some of the learnings from the global market that you will be applying to India?
The value of protecting and maintaining our work culture, and what works and what doesn’t in our business are two learnings that I will apply here.
Also, connecting the dots in the India market for the shifts that we have seen in the US and UK market will be critical.
I will also use the case studies of my interactions with customers globally and seeing how best we can use it in the India market.