Category Archives: Linkedin

C-Suite TV Executive Perspectives

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Jeffrey Hayzlett of C-Suite TV to kick off season 7 of Executive Perspectives. We discussed digital disruption, conversational experiences, artificial intelligence and best practices for leveraging data to connect with consumers.

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Why Microsoft Bought Linkedin

News broke this morning outlining Microsoft’s intention to purchase Linkedin for $26.2 billion dollars. Many outlets are reporting the purchase, but not many are discussing the advantages and benefits that Microsoft may gain by the acquisition.

Here are 6 territories that may be bolstered by Microsoft’s acquisition:

Professional Data – The acquisition of Linkedin offers almost immediate access to professional profile data that Microsoft could leverage and integrate into Microsoft Office products, specifically Office 365.

By merging the 433 million members with 1.2 billion office users, Microsoft can quickly build integrations between professional profile data and their product set.

profile-data

B2B Marketing Reach – With 433 million members (128 million in the US) Microsoft just picked up one of the premier B2B advertising players that instantly gives them global reach to further extend advertising solutions as well as Microsoft products and services.

LinkedIn-Global

Search – Microsoft has dabbled with social search with social integrations into Bing over the past few years. Also their failed launch of So.cl in 2012 was designed to research the potential integration of social and search. By picking up Linkedin they also gain the growing content engine that is highly optimized for organic discovery within traditional search channels.

Here is an example of my latest Linkedin Post that is also the #1 result for Data fueling Creative.

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Extending Social Capabilities – Microsoft has also been a minority player previously investing $256 million dollars in Facebook. They  recently launched a joint underwater cable initiative to further boost cloud service capabilities for both organizations.

MAREA-Cable

With a strategic partnership with one of the largest B2C marketing entities and now picking up the premier B2B platform, Microsoft is positioning itself to remain relevant through diversifying their assets, strategic partnerships and leveraging the content created from Linkedin as well as it’s global reach and subscription based member model to further deliver products, services and create new streams of revenue.

Extending Productivity Solutions – Microsoft has been laser focused on building subscription based productivity solutions over the past 5 years. This includes unified communications solutions yammer and lync as well as products like Office 365, OneDrive and OneNote.

Office 365

By acquiring Linkedin they will have direct access to various users across company type and could potentially box out competitive products and solutions and focus on exclusively positioning their products and services to the 433 million global users.

Cortana – There is speculation that Cortana is being positioned as one of the first virtual assistant/artificial intelligence systems being built specifically for the enterprise. The acquisition of Linkedin could be a viable platform to educate, identify and sell through the service in addition to leveraging professional profile data, content and conversations happening within Linkedin Groups to further refine offerings.

cortana

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Evolution of Social Media Marketing

Here is a preview of my latest take on the evolution of social media marketing.

 

The presentation starts with a trip down memory lane by reviewing the rise of social media platforms across the globe.

Evolution of Social Marketing Timelines - Tom Edwards

Next is a look at the impact social media trends have had on consumer behavior. Everything from viral videos, #selfies and the rise of YouTube celebrities.

Evolution of Social Media Trends - Tom Edwards

Then focus shifts to the evolution of social marketing globally and the role that content plays in today’s social marketing programs.

Evolution of Social Marketing Content - Tom Edwards

The journey wraps with a look at the future state of social marketing.

Evolution of Social Marketing Future - Tom Edwards

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Linkedin Showcase Pages Create New Points of Discovery

Linkedin has proven to be an incredible asset for B2B Social Media Strategy & execution. With Hubspot defining Linkedin (45%) as the most effective B2B source for lead generation followed by Facebook at 33%.

Linkedin continues to focus on creating relevance for company pages. The latest roll-out called “showcase pages” allows businesses to highlight specific brands or products by creating product centric content hubs that allow users to further align with relevant content.

Each showcase page is setup to exist independently from the company page while still showing (below the fold) a connection to the parent page as well other showcase pages.

Here is an example from HP focusing on their Converged Infrastructure offering with the company & additional showcase pages expanded.

Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.21.22

Users can follow specific showcase pages and connect directly with the content they are most interested in. This natural segmentation can create more targeted opportunities for brands to connect with audiences who are interested in specific product lines.

Here is an example from Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.09.23

Brands can easily create up to 10 showcase pages that also includes access to page insights & analytics. This combined with the 3 million existing company pages can exponentially increase the amount of content in the platform.

It is easy for an organization to create a showcase page

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The organization has the ability to define the showcase page URL, define the industry and connect up to 3 existing Linkedin groups.

Here is a screenshot of the creation screen for the showcase creation.

BlackFin360 Digital Strategy POV: Overview Edit | LinkedIn 2013-11-21 10-42-30

Here is an example of a MIcrosoft showcase page. Linkedin Company pages have worked well from a search discovery perspective and showcase pages provide an additional option to create new points of discovery for products & services.

Linkedin Office Showcase

Here is an example that shows the Microsoft Office example was indexed almost immediately upon launch. At the time of this writing the page was posted 20 hours before.

Linkedin Office Search

This latest addition will allow Linkedin to align paid advertising with in network content hubs to create engaging & targeted experiences within the platform vs. driving off-site. The more content that is created and housed within Linkedin means higher amounts of eyeballs which essentially means more potential advertising revenue for Linkedin.

This new showcase option will need to be carefully considered though when deploying. As determining which products have enough content to support the audience in addition to further segmenting the brands following into subgroups and aligning master brand content against product specific content will need to be considered prior to rolling out showcase pages.

Company pages vs. Showcase Pages

Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.33.20  VS  Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.09.35

The benefits though of having subsets or micro-content hubs is that the audience that engages is truly interested in the product and is actively searching for information. This also allows more flexibility in terms of search discovery as well as one of the issues with other platforms such as Facebook is that you are limited in terms of new points of discovery via organic search.

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Callaway Hit The Links

When you are part of the “idea” business you spend a lot of time thinking, curating and throwing things (figuratively & sometimes literally) against the wall. Sometimes things stick, sometimes there are dead ends, but you are always in search of the slightest germ of an idea to spark creativity.

idea plant

This stream of thought reminded me of a quote from the movie Inception that has stuck with me. It is when Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) makes the following statement:

An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious.

Inception-Widescreen-Wallpaper-1920x1200-2

Applying context to marketing, a good idea can be highly contagious. You begin to immediately see the “legs” of the idea and how it can potentially extend out. Whether it is tied to a larger brand campaign, branded content or even an activation, a good idea change the game for a brand.

I had an “Inception” moment when members of my team Brandon Stuart, Creative Director & Mike Chiavetta, Director of Social Strategy @ Fanscape/TMA, began discussing the concept & strategy associated with the Callaway activation that is outlined below. There are moments when the consumer + idea + channel + message = compelling consumer engagement program.

The Callaway Hit The Links activation was the result of a close partnership between Callaway and Linkedin to leverage their API’s and create a relevant connection with the target consumer and overlay a fun concept that is built to be shared.

When it came to developing the creative concept I asked Brandon Stuart, Creative Director at Fanscape to share his thoughts on the program.

Hit the Links is an example of the potency a concept can have when it is derived at the intersection of creative and strategic thinking.  We set out to create a consumer engagement experience that is truly first of its kind, yet still effective and personable in nature.  Since golf is often an organic dialogue between professionals, Hit the Links positions Callaway as a catalyst that sparks conversations on the biggest professional network in the world.  We are fishing not only where the fish are, but also where no other golf brand has fished.

Here is an overview of the program:

It all starts with a simple invite that comes from the native Linkedin messages feature. By connecting the message from a direct Linkedin connection, we are creating contextual relevance for the recipient, increasing the probability of taking action.

1 - Intro

Next you are sent to a visually appealing landing page that outlines the value proposition & call to action. This is the “why” you should engage.

2 - landing

Next is the authentication to connect your network with the program. This is a key point of enablement for the experience. By leveraging the authentication directly and by connecting the user to their network across both mobile & desktop allows us to provide as seamless an experience as possible.

3 - auth

Once connected, you then have the option to begin selecting your golf foursome. The benefit to the consumer is the opportunity to create the “ultimate golf business trip” for you and three of your connections. You pick your ideal foursome and sign up for a chance to win an advanced fitting experience and get a custom built set of clubs, a round of golf & test the new HEX Chrome+ all at Callaway’s headquarters.

4 - intro

The system will auto-generate a golf foursome, or allow you to pick your group from your network. At this point there is also an opportunity to opt-in and view the rules of the promotion.

5 - pick

Once you finalize your group, you are ready to finalize your entry for the day. It is possible to gain additional entries daily with different foursome combinations.

6 - picker

Once your group is finalized, you have the opportunity to let the members you selected know they have been selected and they have the opportunity to create their own entry as well. All messaging is delivered via the Linkedin native message functionality.

7 - notify

Also, there is a sampling initiative tied to the program as well. The first 1,000 participants can claim a box of HEX CHROME+ golf balls courtesy of Callaway to further drive a direct connection of product to the consumer.

8 - sampling

I am incredibly proud of the team for this concept & strategy. Key members of the creative team were:

Special thanks to Brad Alesi, Director, Digital Engagement @ The Marketing Arm for contributions to the Fanscape Callaway Team.

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Hero 4 Final

Linkedin Revamps Company Pages

Linkedin has proven to be an incredible asset for B2B Social Media Strategy & execution. With Hubspot defining Linkedin (45%) as the most effective B2B source for lead generation followed by Facebook at 33%.

Linkedin rolled-out company status updates last October, and followed that release up with a revamp to company pages including the addition of the Company Follow button, Today’s announcement highlighting the new look for company pages demonstrates they are taking the next step in their follower ecosystem strategy.

A few brands have been hand selected to test drive the new look and feel. This list includes Philips, Citi, HP and Dell for company updates and American Express, Unilever & Expedia are testing the newly revamped Careers section.

Previously, this was the view of a Linkedin Company page. Simple CTA’s outlining an overview of the company, the ability to follow, updates and potential connections.

The older services tab provided an opportunity for 3rd party validation of a companies services.

The new look and feel features a streamlined user experience that structures content in a more natural manner. You will notice the company updates look more like a traditional social stream with added capabilities for companies tied to easier sharing & additional emphasis on visual imagery. And for the first time, company pages are now available via Linkedin’s mobile app.

The services tab also received slight adjustment to further align a consistent look & feel with the core brand hub.

The changes coincide with a network wide emphasis on streamlining the overall experience and enabling brands to connect with followers on a deeper more targeted basis.
Linkedin has traditionally been a network reserved for B2B targeting, but with more emphasis targeting individuals who leverage the powerful business network, the ability to drive 3rd party validation, targeted advertising that can support cross social channel promotion, and a streamlined interface to further drive engagement, Linkedin should be considered when developing a cross channel social strategy that includes targeting individuals that are key to Linkedin’s user base.

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Linkedin Launches Company Follow Button

Linkedin has proven to be an incredible asset for B2B Social Media Strategy & execution. With Hubspot defining Linkedin (45%) as the most effective B2B source for lead generation followed by Facebook at 33%.

With the roll-out of company status updates last October, Linkedin took the first step towards positioning itself as a marketing channel for brands. Now with Monday’s announcement of the Company Follow button, they are taking the next step in their follower ecosystem strategy.

Linkedin is now expanding the ability to follow a company beyond it’s core domain and now enabling organizations to allow individuals to follow them directly from their branded homepages or other owned properties by adding a quick code snippet to their branded pages. Brands such as Starbucks, AT&T and American Express are initial launch partners.

Similar in its impact as a Facebook like, the individual will receive status updates via their Linkedin feed. By extending the reach of the follow beyond Linkedin, the over 2 million companies in it’s network will have even greater opportunities to execute B2B content strategies both within Linkedin & their branded & owned channels.

Because B2B social is generally more targeted than B2C social, the ability to drive targeted interaction in one location while also providing a comprehensive footprint throughout the channel is key. Now with the ability to more closely associate the follow externally, it enables a more dynamic experience for the brand. As Linkedin can serve as a hub of services & 3rd party validation of those services via recommendations.

For those interested, here is the location to add the new company follow button to your branded website.

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