Many of my chamber colleagues sing the praises of social media, but fall short of admitting LinkedIn has many redeeming properties. On the contrary, I’ve found LinkedIn to be the most concretely valuable (and my favorite) social network for my chamber work. Here’s why:
1. You get so much information about the user. Granted, Facebook is a wealth of tidbits about your fans as well, but the data tends to be of the demographic or fluffy (I like horror movies) sort. LinkedIn gives you job titles, past experience, future dreams, references, etc. In business relationship building, it’s a gold mine.
2. Speaking of job titles, LinkedIn draws people in higher level positions. I don’t find many CEOs following my Twitter feed and on Facebook I sometimes feel like I’m marketing to the other marketers in town. My chamber’s LinkedIn group is full of business owners and high level management, any of whom I can message individually or as a group through the network.
3. Conversations don’t need to be in real time. If you miss my tweet, my loss. Facebook posts have a bit more staying power but not much. LinkedIn, however, will digest the updates I’ve posted throughout the week and send my group members an e-mail, nicely summarized with links to full conversations. It will also prioritize the conversations on the group page to feature the ones that are most active.
4. Posts are lower quantity, higher quality. Rarely do people used LinkedIn to check in, post photos of their dogs or toss general comments on the weather into cyberspace. The ones that do most likely have their Twitter account tied to their LinkedIn profile and in my opinion, are using social media wrong. They do use LinkedIn to spread news about promotions, job changes, professional development, etc. All of which is again, a gold mine for my chamber work.
5. You can directly feed your chamber’s blog and event calendar (or any RSS feed) into your LinkedIn group. My members receive notices about our blog posts and new events as they are entered into our system.
6. As a group mediator, you can manage membership. I personally message chamber members as they join the LinkedIn group, giving them ideas on how to use it for their benefit. I personally message non-chamber members to welcome them and let them know any selling or promotional posts from non-members will be removed. It is a benefit of membership to sell to other chamber members through the chamber’s LinkedIn group.
7. Non-chamber members join because the LinkedIn job board is incredibly valuable. They can post openings in our region in a place they know active business professionals will see them. Members also appreciate this free advertising through their chamber for their job openings.
8. Let’s face it – 140 characters can be limiting and you end up relying on click throughs to a Web page. No character worries on LinkedIn.
9. A few ways I use LinkedIn to benefit my chamber…
- Encourage use of the chamber group as a free job board
- Call for experts when a reporter asks me for local resources and, of course, share the resulting articles with the rest of the group, reminding them the chamber boosted their earned media
- Call for business owners that fit specific criteria (ex. Minority, bi-lingual, offers certain employment benefits, etc.)
- Share big news about chamber members with the rest of the group (often generates a wave of likes and comments!)
- Continuously encourage and spark new conversations between members, helping to connect them to resources and promoting their news
10. My favorite characteristic of LinkedIn… Perusing the job titles of my connections, I’ve noticed a wonderful trend. People title themselves to reflect how they see themselves, not how a corporation boxed them into a job description. My LinkedIn title currently reads “Professional and Freelance Writer and Communicator.” I’m hoping to add “Author” soon. But that’s another story…