You probably think of LinkedIn as a recruiting and job hunting network. It also serves as a valuable backoffice tool for analyst relations, consultant relations, and fully integrated B2B influencer programs.
The price is certainly right: basic services are free, and business upgrades are economical. Plus, the number of profiles keeps growing. As of last week, LinkedIn claimed more than 35 million members in 200+ countries. Finally, the general demographics are a good match.
I’ve been guiding influencers and clients alike toward LinkedIn since its debut in 2003. Used properly, it can boost influencer relations productivity. Over-reliance can run your program aground very quickly.
For best results in influencer identification, use LinkedIn for corroboration and expansion of facts gleaned through other research sources.
The reason is simple: LinkedIn contains user-generated content. Unlike Wikipedia, there’s no team of editors debating accuracy. Fact checking is your responsibility — not LinkedIn’s, not the person posting about themselves.
For best results in influencer engagement, use LinkedIn to find people who can introduce you to your targeted influencers.
Can you use LinkedIn to connect with an influencer you’ve never met? My advice is no, don’t go that way. First, learn influencer contact etiquette and develop a sense of how to interpret — not simply read — the LinkedIn profiles of influencers. You’ll develop a good sense of when you’re looking at a solid opportunity for breaking the common sense rules of engagement.
I’ll continue this thread tomorrow, with a look at how some influencers have been using LinkedIn.