Are You In It To Win It?
LinkedIn began rolling out an important new feature in December — a new system that indicates an individual member’s “contribution levels” within each group of which he or she is a member. To measure contribution, LinkedIn uses sophisticated algorithms to showcase those who have contributed to meaningful discussions.
LinkedIn’s stated objective is to encourage those group members who sit on the sidelines to move into an active role.
However, there is another reality. As LinkedIn continues to grow as a powerhouse of networking and communicating among professionals, it will overtake the world for corporate branding and advertising, and become the way of the future for advertising to your target market.
Advertising will not be as we have known it, but rather will appear in a new format. This format will be marketing your services by showcasing your expertise through knowledge-sharing platforms aimed at your peers. Savvy professionals have already figured this out.
Clients will do a baseline check on LinkedIn (much the same as recruiters and hiring managers are already doing for job seekers) to determine how your peers and colleagues perceive you—what is the degree of your professional knowledge as viewed by these individuals.
LinkedIn has now made it easy for your client base to ascertain key basic information about you, for example: industry critical thinking, industry participation, how you brand yourself and your respect for gifts differing.
Contribution levels are group specific and recalculated every day. The contribution levels are:
- Getting started
- Finding an audience
- Making an impact
- Building influence
- Top Contributor
Top contributors are members who post the most interesting discussions and comments. They will have a text indicator under their headline any time they post a discussion in the group. Clicking a profile image or name will take you to that member’s activity page. The Top Contributor indicator will also appear on a member’s profile.
Important: To increase your contribution level, start interesting discussions and comment thoughtfully on other group members’ discussions. As people interact more with you, you’ll see your score go up. Your contribution level will go down if you are not active or your posts are promotional or inappropriate for the group.
Colleagues, the future is today, I strongly advise each member of a group to begin their journey by contributing first to their profession related groups, and then to other areas of interest. LinkedIn allows you to join over 50 groups. I encourage you to think of the amount of new-wave “free advertising” this offers you, and to take advantage of this opportunity.
As a point of confirmation, Victoria Ipri, a LinkedIn consultant for the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches, tells us, “LinkedIn often states, “Group participants get 4x the number of profile views.” Why are views so important? Because without them, you essentially do not exist on the platform, regardless of how talented or capable you may be. Keep in mind we’re not talking about how many times your profile appears in a search, but how many times members actually come to your profile to learn more about you. This is a ‘view’.”
Further, remember that press release programs can cost over $3,000 each year verses zero dollars for LinkedIn. Of course you cannot blatantly market your expertise as you would through a press release; however, consider the ROI– zero dollars versus three thousand dollars, targeted audience verses scatter gun marketing, and direct reach verses indirect reach, just to name a few.
LinkedIn may not be the best Social networking platform out there, as it is filled with secret quirky algorithms that can result in your being shut out seemingly without rhyme or reason, but it is today’s strongest player among professionals…stay tuned. There will be bigger, stronger and less mystery in platforms to come, but waiting can mean that you miss the bus leaving the station now.
CB Bowman, MBA, BCC, CMC, MCEC, is CEO and Founder of the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches and CEO of Executive Leadership, LLC (www.exec-leadershipllc.com.) ELLLC is the go to company for emerging leaders, mid-level managers, senior leaders, and organizations seeking human capital repositioning, development and/or growth through coaching, counseling, and/or strategic advice. Her focus is in corporate executive coaching, training and human capital initiatives involving the development of cognitive listening, leadership skills and behavior, transitional coaching, executive presence and branding, knowledge transfer, performance evaluation, strategic career management and marketing. Additionally, Bowman is an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, in the Center for Management.