Public Relations & Professional Networking: Using LinkedIn for PR

Telecommunications Today - a news page featureing content widely shared by LinkedIn users.

Second in a series: Integrating Social Media and Public Relations

Twitter and Facebook undeniably garner the most attention in discussions about social media and marketing communications.  As a result, many communicators overlook the utility of sites like LinkedIn, ProfNet Connect and Quora.  Today, I’m going to focus on LinkedIn, and in a future post will discuss the other sites.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is particularly interesting and unique, combining breaking news and interaction with professional networking.  A good LinkedIn profile is a living resume that can be seen by the networks’ active community.   What makes the site work so well, in my mind, is how well organized it is – users can tag their profiles to indicate industry and professional expertise, participate in industry and subject-specific groups, and follow news and information related to their areas of interest.  If you’ve not checked out what LinkedIn is doing lately, doing so should be high on your list to of things to do.

LinkedIn News & Sharing
I spoke to some of the development team at LinkedIn a few weeks ago, and while a lot is still in flux, one thing was clear – LinkedIn is really focused on acquiring content for their site, and the action of sharing content via the LinkedIn Share button is something they’re stressing.

Content that is widely shared among the people following an industry is featured in the LinkedIn News, a sleek new feature pictured at the top of this page that does a nice job of surfacing the content that on the minds of the people within a specific niche.

Because of the emphasis LinkedIn is placing on the use of their sharing button, having that functionality embedded on your site’s content pages is important.  As soon as I got off the phone with the LinkedIn team, I dashed off a note to our web gurus, asking that we add the button to this blog, and a few other content areas. If your organization has a robust news section on its web site or creates other content or hosts a blog and doesn’t have those buttons embedded, you should take the same course of action I did.  (Note: PR Newswire encourages sharing press releases in social media by embedding LinkedIn share button prominently on all press release pages, along with buttons for Facebook and Twitter. Other sharing and interaction options, such as a variety of blogging tools, are available in the Share It! Section on the right of each page.)

Tactical PR and LinkedIn:

Public relations pros can use LinkedIn a few different ways for tactical PR, including:

  • Researching and networking with journalists and bloggers.  Most people keep their profiles up to date, and provide links to their blogs, Twitter accounts and web sites.   Once you’ve researched someone, you can invite them to connect on the site, which is a nice way to get to know someone, and adds them to the virtual Rolodex that is your group of LinkedIn contacts.
  • Listening to your own audiences.   LinkedIn has scads and scads of professional and special interest groups, as well as active Q&A discussions in the Answers section.  Keeping an eye on the conversations there is a great way to learn what’s on your audience’s mind – useful information for planning your own communications, especially blog posts and other content creation activities. You’ll start to see the same questions popping up over and over again, which means (at least in my opinion) that the market has done a poor job filling the need for that kind of information – which spells opportunity for you.
  • Identifying influentials.  As you become more familiar with the people who participate in the different discussion groups and Q&A forums, you’ll start to spot real influencers among the crowd – folks who are well-connected in your industry, and who have voices that rise above the din.   Often, you’ll find that these people have many “best answers” in the Answers section.   Cultivate them. Build relationships with them.  They can end up being powerful advocates for your brand.
  • Building your own credibility.  I just mentioned the “best answers” feature in the Answers section. LinkedIn allows the person posting a question to select a “best answer” from those received.  Collecting “best answers” builds your expertise and visibility within an industry segment.   More people will want to connect with you, and this is a great way of establishing your bonafides.
  • Honing your social skills.  As with any network, it’s important to listen and observe the group dynamics before you interact.  Notice what kind of questions generate responses in group discussions, and which responses garner ‘best answer’ accolades in the Answers section.  Certain types of messages are almost certain duds – if you pay attention, you can determine what sort of content the audience does and doesn’t like, and plan accordingly.  In addition to making your interactions on LinkedIn more effective, paying attention to what sort of content generates interest and interaction can also inform your future content strategy.

Company pages

In addition to providing powerful personal networking tools, LinkedIn also offers companies the ability to establish company pages.   These pages are an important touch point within LinkedIn for your brand.  You can plug your company’s Twitter feed into your company page, along with an RSS feed from your blog.  Other tabs allow you to highlight key products, and support the addition of video and images related to the products.   Page admins can access analytics, enabling them to see activity on the pages.   All in all, the company pages are a nice tool, and they’re free and easy to set up.

I’m sure the more time you spend with LinkedIn, the more opportunities you’ll find for using this important network in your public relations workflow.  If I’ve overlooked your favorite tips for using LinkedIn in your daily PR practice, let me know in the comments!

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice-president of social media.  You can connect with her on LinkedIn here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahskerik

6 responses to “Public Relations & Professional Networking: Using LinkedIn for PR

  1. They can end up being powerful advocates for your brand. These pages are an important touch point within LinkedIn for your brand.com to post a comment to your blog.this topic is excellent related to my passion on relationship building, building a success inside a relationship requires hard word and dedication to view the connection works out.

  2. LinkedIn is one of the most incredible tools for getting your message out in front of people you didn’t know you didn’t know. Groups is a mass marketing opportunity to get seen but one of the biggest mistakes professionals can make is using the groups to advertise, solicit or market their products and services.
    To make the most out of discussions within LinkedIn Groups is to educate; talk about what is interesting to your target audience – what do they care about? There are five great ways to do this:

    1. Create Polls – Polls in groups let you to ask members in the group a question and list up to 5 answer choices for members to vote on. We recommend that you ask the question and then write “in comments please tell us why you feel this way” this will allow you to engage individually with professionals interested in your topic. Here is how to create a pole in a group – From the group’s Discussions tab:
    Click Poll next to the Start a Discussion section.Type your question in the Ask a question box.Specify up to 5 answer choices box. Additional boxes will appear after you enter your first choice.

    2. Create a Discussion – be sure to ask an engage question or talk about a relevant topic that will interest your prospects. Think about this from their perspective not yours. You can start a discussion from your group’s Discussions page.Click Groups at the top of your home page.Click the group’s name.Enter your topic or question in the “Start a discussion or share something with the group” box (required).Enter details in the “Add more details” box (required).Attach a link (optional).Click Share.

    3. Share Your Blog – first it is important to have a blog that is educational and is not in any way promotional. It is also terrific to have calls to action at the bottom of each blog so that you can capture the information of your readers. You can share content first on your home page update: You can use the posting block near your photo towards the top of the page.Click into the text box that says Share an update and type in your remark.Limited to 600 characters maximum.To attach a link, type in the URL. Allow a few seconds for a summary to automatically display.Select an option under Share with:Select LinkedIn to show the update to everyone in your extended network including your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections.Select Connections to show the update to only your 1st degree connections.Select LinkedIn + Twitter to have your update visible on both your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Note: Only the first 140 characters will be visible on Twitter.

    4. By clicking the Share link under your update you will be able to share it in groups. You’ll only be sharing the URL, so be sure to add a subject line and details. When you click the Share link under an update, you’ll have the following options:Click Share and then click post to groupsAdd you subject line and detailsBegin alphabetically and type “A” in Group(s) lineChoose from the drop down under each letter. You may choose some or all of your groups – then hit share. You can send to individuals as well, just remember to unclick allow others to see each others’ names so that everyone is blind copiedGetting your poll, discussion or blog in the inbox of your prospects – This is key to attracting the right people to your message.

    5. When you are in a group:Click on Members TabFilter your location, prospect title etc. in the Search bar on the right i.e. “CEO” AND “Philadelphia”Then in the search list hover over the right side of each box and click send message:
    http://www.businessdevelopmentuniversity.com/5-strategies-to-leveraging-linkedin-groups-to-attract-your-target-audience/

  3. Pingback: Direct marketing and employees as brand ambassadors using LinkedIn | Public relations and managing reputation

  4. Pingback: LinkedIn – more than a professional identity? | Layers of PR

  5. Pingback: LinkedIn – more than a professional identity? | Layers of PR

  6. Pingback: No More Pitching! | ScarletGoddard

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