LinkedIn Enhances the (Professional) Social Web
Good news B2B marketers: LinkedIn has announced a new platform for building up the social web. The platform, which was opened to developers for “early access” in October 2010, makes it easier for third-party applications to integrate aspects of LinkedIn into their websites. Think Facebook’s Open Graph, which allows sites and apps to share information about users and their preferences in order to tailor services to each user’s specific interests.
However, unlike Facebook’s Open Graph, which has been used in large part by sites like Yelp or Pandora to customize promotions based on personal preferences shared with friends, LinkedIn’s new platform opens the door for B2B marketers to customize content and website functionality based on work experience, professional preferences and professional networks.
Making LinkedIn’s announcement even better, the network has also introduced an entire suite of plug-ins that make it as easy as a click of a button to leverage LinkedIn’s professional network on your website.
LinkedIn’s new plug-ins include:
- Sign In with LinkedIn: Makes it easier for people to sign in or register with your website by using their LinkedIn identity
- Share on LinkedIn: Enables users to easily share your website with LinkedIn’s professional network via the click of a button and ideally, drives traffic back to your site
- Member Profile: Incorporates LinkedIn member profiles into your website to help users identify common professional connections
- Company Insider: Shows personalized insights about companies featured on your site
- Company Profile: Displays key company information at-a-glance. Also helps users identify who they know at a company and track news and insights by using a “follow” button
- Full Member Profile: Displays a person’s professional background at-a-glance. Also enables users to easily discover who they know in common, send a message, or establish a connection
- Recommend with LinkedIn: Enables users to recommend your products and services to LinkedIn’s professional network, and hopefully, drives traffic back to your site
So, what are the opportunities for B2B marketers and public relations professionals? Here are just a few:
- Customized content: Honestly, what more could a B2B marketer ask for? LinkedIn’s new platform enables companies to customize content and online experience based on users’ professional experience, preferences and connections. In an age when we’re all fighting for share of voice online, it’s critical that B2B companies “listen” to their customers and create interesting content that supports their needs. LinkedIn’s platform will provide new data to inform and support B2B marketing strategies.
- SEO: Search engines including Bing and Google have already admitted social media affects SEO rankings. And last month, Google reiterated the power of social in search with its announcement that it plans to enter into “social search” via “+1.” With LinkedIn’s announcement, online marketers have an opportunity to increase the number of links shared on social networks by including a simple plug-in to “share” or “recommend” content on their website – and of course, by creating compelling content that’s worth sharing.
- Lead generation: Studies have shown that word of mouth marketing or recommendations online are trusted more than marketing messages from companies. Now, users can turn to their professional network online to see what companies and/or content comes highly recommended. LinkedIn’s new platform also provides marketers with an opportunity to use online networks to identify mutual, professional connections and leverage them to support lead generation.
What are your thoughts on LinkedIn’s new platform? Are there opportunities for B2B marketers you’d add to this list?
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