LinkedIn has grown and evolved a lot over the past few years. I seem to be talking about it more and more as a viable social media channel with clients and colleagues.
Being back at uni is bizarre for so many reasons. In one of my tutes this week we were talking about how employers are using social media more and more as a vetting process. Nothing new here. This seems to blow students’ minds… it’s like people forget what they say online becomes more or less permanent public record. I tend to be an open book in most aspects of my life, however, I do that “am I’m a cool with a complete stranger hear me say this?” check before I post. I also keep my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles separate. For no other reason than I have my work life and I have my personal life; Facebook is for me to stay in contact with my friends and family.
I raised this in my tute when my lecturer asked if I had and used LinkedIn. Admittedly, I don’t post a lot on my LinkedIn profile; I joined in 2009 because that’s what everyone was doing and I like playing with new toys. The way I use LinkedIn in 2012 is very different to how I used it when I first joined. Like most social media channels, it’s grown and evolved into a useful tool. I login most days to the industry headlines that trend and I use it a lot for research.
There are a lot of really useful communities on LinkedIn which are a fabulous source for sharing information about every topic under the sun. While I was researching an ICT project for a recent client, I almost exclusively did my research on LinkedIn; reading lessons learned by implementation leads, challenges and solutions from the IT crowd and discussions about other plugin and upgrade options being explored by companies participating in the forum (and why they’re thinking it’s a possible solution!). From my perspective, this has been a really rich source for preliminary research from real workplaces—so why reinvent the wheel?
In terms of it being a marketing tool? I haven’t used LinkedIn a huge amount for client or personally marketing. I think LinkedIn’s focus is still primarily on professional networking and as a marketing medium has a fair way to go. It’s a place for sharing information less than pitching services. You are starting to see more companies advertising vacancies and professional development courses, however, from what I have seen it hasn’t reached the sophistication you see with other social media marketing such as Facebook. And I’m not sure it will.
Watch this space!