Microsoft’s purchase of the business-minded social network only reinforces that LinkedIn offers a uniquely powerful content marketing platform.
Software giant Microsoft recently bought the supposedly indispensable corporate/business networking site LinkedIn for $28B. That’s a large investment for a site that some accuse of falling short when it comes to giving users the kind of nimble user connectivity that’s commonplace on major social networks.
LinkedIn, however, is a very different kind of social network and its benefit cannot be measured in a user’s number of likes, follows, retweets, or friends. While the site entertains a potentially more lucrative audience than other social networks, LinkedIn’s position as a trusted disseminator of high quality content marketing (most of it user-generated) has to factor into the math of Microsoft’s purchase.
None of the other social networking sites offers a dedicated environment for trusted business-related content. The “Publish a post” feature on a LinkedIn user’s home page is a powerful utility, allowing a canny user to increase their authority and credibility, and in turn (ideally) a higher profile for their brand. A post relating to a particular industry that is of interest to a specific network stands an excellent chance of catching on with a potentially powerful and connected group of people.
By addressing common challenges and then suggesting specific solutions to said challenges, the LinkedIn user broadcasts to a more focused, business-oriented, “insider” group than that found on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Sometimes a user is better served by posting a shorter message enhanced by a link, analogous to the “status update” on Facebook. The “Share an update” feature allows LinkedIn users to be seen as experts, and curators of relevant, incisive content. A good link is worth a tremendous amount of words and by bringing outside, third party expertise in the field to one’s LinkedIn network, one cultivates an image of good judgment and indispensability.
LinkedIn Pulse provides the platform’s news aggregation service. A free app, it’s an efficient tool for content distribution, a constantly refreshing collection of high quality curated news stories, all searchable by category, to which LinkedIn users can now submit their own content.
While “Publish a post,” “Share an update” and Linkedin Pulse are environments directly allowing the sharing of content marketing, LinkedIn’s groups feature indirectly assists that activity. With a wide array of groups organized around professional interests, industry status, or pursuit of goals, starting one’s own group in LinkedIn is a potent way of building up a growing collection of persons within a field, all of whom have willingly selected to enter a virtual community for the purpose of shared knowledge and professional relationships. Whether joining an existing group or starting one’s own, LinkedIn groups offer a unique opportunity to concentrate on one’s target market creating buzz for one’s business in an amenable environment.
LinkedIn’s seeming caution and conservatism actually work in the favor of a diligent content marketer because LinkedIn’s relatively high barriers to social connectivity with strangers ultimately creates more trust and assurance and thus openness to one’s content marketing.. LinkedIn’s total number of users (430 million) users might pale compared to the total number on Facebook, but the consistency of quality is vastly greater. All LinkedIn users are presumably adults engaged in business endeavors, with a professional resume in their profile.
While LinkedIn cannot match the fun, casual social environment of Facebook, Twitter, etc., those platforms cannot match LinkedIn’s carefully cultivated network of serious professionals, nor its business-focused content sharing tools, when it comes to propagating strong content marketing.