LinkedIn plans on launching native B2B videos

Virginia Sharma, Director Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn India spoke to e4m about leveraging their partnership with Microsoft, launch of the B2B content specific video platform and the focus on LinkedIn Lite on 2G internet for grey skilled workers.

e4m by Akshata R Murthy
Published: Jul 20, 2017 7:51 AM  | 6 min read

With an increase in viewership for online videos in the social networking sites, LinkedIn plans to enable its members have more videos uploaded on the platform with a special focus on B2B ones. This is going to be a new development at LinkedIn post their partnership with Microsoft.

Virginia Sharma, Director Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn India spoke to the exchange4media team about the other leveraging points of the partnership of LinkedIn with Microsoft and more.

How is LinkedIn planning to change its approach to customer-engagement as well as member-engagement in the coming days?

From a membership perspective, we have worked very hard to create a mobile first experience. If you look at the LinkedIn flagship product of what you experience today, it’s a different product as it was essentially re-designed with mobile in mind. The next frontier for us is video. We’re launching native video. We’ve always had video but it wasn’t native and it wasn’t built for feed. With the increased consumption of video i.e. something that members would like, it would also be something that our customers would like. Many people in the room create fantastic videos, especially B2B. This would enable the people with the ability to do that within the platform so that they don’t have to leave the platform. The third thing that we’re doing is going beyond white collars to, what we call, grey skill workers. LinkedIn Lite is focussed on 2G platforms.

Please tell us more about LinkedIn’s partnership with Microsoft. What plans do you have on leveraging this partnership?

I think it’s still early days. We’re still working on ideas. What we know is that the mission of the two companies is very similar and everything that we do is going to be in line with the missions of the two companies. We’ll do the easy stuff first and then, I guess, watch the space. LinkedIn has done an exceptional job being a pretty lean company. With the backing of a big company, I don’t have to choose between one thing and the other.

How would LinkedIn make a difference to a content marketer when compared to other sites such as Facebook or Twitter?

Since we’re a professional networking platform, context is the number one differentiator. People come to LinkedIn to be more productive. They come in a professional context. The bigger difference for a content marketer is, what kind of difference would make people more successful at work. In fact, if you look at the engagement on the platform, anytime someone starts putting more Facebook or Twitter like posts, the community tends to say that this is not the appropriate forum for this. So this is a very hygienic platform that way, where it is very focussed on people who seek professionalism. We’re happy staying in the wheelhouse of a more B2B content marketing platform. There are many times when clients come with different business objectives and I say, “Perhaps Facebook would give you better returns for what you’re trying to do.” If you talk to an average millennial and ask ‘What’s LinkedIn?’ they’d say ‘It’s Facebook for work.’

Now Facebook is also getting into this space of professional networking site, what are your thoughts on that?

I’ve heard about it but haven’t seen it though. I know that they’ve been trying to get into this space for a while. It’s a compelling audience. I think that they’re very large and I’m sure that there are many different things they do, so that might be one of them.

What are the three top marketing principles you believe in and you think content marketing leaders across the globe should also practice?

There’s a video that I’ve done on LinkedIn that I still believe in. Understanding your customer as an individual is number one. The second one is really around creating a system of engagement. So, you’re following them along their wire journey and you’re not interrupting them but enabling them. So when they come out on the other side, you’re an enabler in that process. You can, sort of, capture them. The third thing is that you have to understand is that your employees are also personas in the internal audience. It’s inauthentic to talk about content marketing or automation if you as a company don’t believe, don’t practice or advocate that. I think that an alignment between your talent brand and your business brand is important. Are your employees saying the same things that you’re saying in your marketing? And if they’re not then you’re just putting lipstick on a pig.I’ve believed these three for many years. Things don’t change on that front now.

Tell us about your business and marketing journey before you came to LinkedIn. What were the big lessons that you brought from IBM to LinkedIn?

When I spent many years at IBM, in which I previously had an Asia Pacific role as well as many other regional roles, I failed miserably early in my career. It was good that I was bad there.I think the biggest thing that IBM taught me is leadership, marketing as marketing where you learn that if you spend enough time marketing then you’ll learn marketing. If you have an open mind to read and interact with people and the humility to learn, you don’t have to work at a place to learn marketing. What I learned is leadership in diverse cultures which is what has helped me here. Working in Asia and working in India, both those experiences helped me do that. What I did not learnt at IBM is when you go from a large company to a mid-sized company, how do you really work with limited resources. You need the power of quick decision making and being agile but you just don’t have the resources, the agencies and the dollars that IBM had. When I was at IBM, I had 130 people in my India team on just domestic marketing which doesn’t even include the 400 people sitting at the global marketing centre. I would say it’s a good learning to be scrappy. I think it enables us to collaborate more.

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