While many Indian brands are saturating the obvious social media platforms, there are others that are tapping niche social areas for consumer connect. LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, is one site such where Indian brands have started experimenting smartly to reach their consumer base.
For instance, Madura Fashion and Lifestyle, early this month, launched a campaign to find the most fashionable professionals among LinkedIn’s member base. Brands such as Woodland, DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund and IT major Wipro have also used LinkedIn’s platforms for carrying out promotional campaigns. Globally, there has been interesting usage of LinkedIn by brands such as HP, Barclays Business Banking, IBM, Microsoft, Philips lighting, among many others.
The referral programme titled ‘For Everything You Do’, initiated by Amex went ahead to become one of the strongest campaigns on LinkedIn. It touched a lot of people and seemed to work rather well. The campaign used targeted banner advertising, which requested people to refer peers and seniors. There were referral rewards for both, the person referring and the person referred.
It can be noted that LinkedIn has more than 20 million users in India, accounting for nine per cent of its total memberships worldwide and second only to the US. There is also a belief that the member base of LinkedIn has more purchasing power and disposable income, so brands selling expensive products focus on the site.
exchange4media spoke to few digital experts to understand the dos and don’ts of LinkedIn marketing...
Tools for micro targeting
Sabyasachi Mitter, Managing Director, ibs pointed out that LinkedIn offers a number of organic and paid methods for brands to engage with their consumers. In the organic route, LinkedIn offers a powerful discussion platform that brands can use to have high quality conversations with influencers. From simple text ads to video ads and even inMails, LinkedIn has a wide variety of paid options for brands to utilise and target, depending on their objective.
According to Gautamm Mehra, Chief Operating Officer, Ultra Violet Digital, the first thing that a brand should figure out is what its LinkedIn strategy will seek to address.
“For most organisations, employer branding and recruitment should certainly be part of the LinkedIn strategy. Optimising products and career tabs are a must-do, as a lot of people end up landing on the LinkedIn page of the company while looking up individual profiles. Thus, if CXOs land on the company page, the brand should show the banner of its most premium products; if junior manager lands on the page, the brand should promote its level products, and so on. On needs to think through the segments that are relevant and customise the page for the users out there on LinkedIn,” added Mehra.
Venkat Mallik, President, Tribal DDB and RAPP India shared three dominant ways in which brands seem to be using LinkedIn:
Building a dedicated page: With this, brands can build a strong base of followers and engage with them effectively. While this is used by consumer goods and B2C marketing firms, it is a stronger strategy for B2B oriented brands, which use these dedicated pages for sharing of relevant intellectually stimulating content.
Running targeted campaigns by designation and job profile: This is a fairly standard advertising strategy used by brands targeting B2B professionals and for sharp targeting specific target groups, usually seen among brands addressing more senior and well-to-do professionals.
Referral programmes: These are used by brands to get into and work through particular peer groups – the assumption being that people of a particular background will have a large group of connections of a similar ilk.
The strict don’ts
The first thing to keep in mind is LinkedIn is not Facebook, so it should not be treated as such. “Brands on LinkedIn would be connecting with a target group which is largely made up of professionals; the brand should therefore respect this audience. Replicating Facebook updates on LinkedIn should be strictly avoided. Similarly, sending network updates too frequently or updates that are generic in nature should be avoided. If the brand is not the creator of the content or if the content has no relevance to the domain expertise of the brand, then it is best to avoid sharing such content with the network,” said Mehra.
The other thing that should be kept in mind is that not all brands should try to do a social media campaign on LinkedIn. “Just because your potential target group may be there, doesn't mean they want to converse about you in that forum or participate in your contests. I think the context of the platform is often missed and the pressure to include LinkedIn to complete one’s social media presence is the wrong approach. A marketer needs to step back for a minute and ask ‘Is this really the place to meet my business objective? Or are there more suited alternatives where I should focus my energies on’,” stated Mitter.
Intrusion is the key issue with brands on social media as a whole. It is important that the relationship that brands try to build with people is one based on mutual relevance. “We often talk about the fact that the rules on social media are different – social media is at the epitome of permission marketing. This means that anything excessively ‘salesy’ is going to be treated with relatively lower respect – brands need to ensure they deliver what consumers want as a part of their everyday life,” added Mallik.
LinkedIn demands a thorough and thought through approach. Brands need to get smarter to tap this exclusive professional network. To know how brands crack the LinkedIn code, watch this space for more...