Think LinkedIn is just for job hunting and networking with colleagues? Think again. Facebook and Pinterest have long been obvious marketing platforms for just about everything, but LinkedIn is playing catch-up in a big way. There are over 235 million LinkedIn users, but marketers were slow to adapt their campaigns to the social media giant. However, the Sponsored Updates have given marketing mavens the green light to make the most of the site, and 2013 has seen some innovative techniques.
Surprisingly, one of the best marketing campaigns on the site has been for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” by way of The Weinstein Company. It was the first marketing campaign to come out of Hollywood, and came with a contest titled “Path to Success.” Users were invited to win the “career experience of a lifetime” in NYC. The winners received help from a major recruiter, career coach, and executive. But this was just the beginning.
If you hadn’t heard of Callaway Golf before, you probably know it know if you’re a LinkedIn regular. When the company came out with the Hit the Links app, it let users pore over their contacts to build a custom team of players who were then eligible to win a prestigious golf “business trip” at Callaway’s headquarters located in Carlsbad, California. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon at the links on someone else’s dime.
Citi also jumped on the bandwagon, featuring Connect: Professional Women’s Network, which was a quickly popular online forum. In the end, almost 200,000 people joined and dished up their own news, polls and video clips. This provided free content for Citi and LinkedIn alike, and the SM platform used some of this content in their Today Special Edition.
Van Heusen, likely one of the first brands anyone would list for button up shirts, hosted their own LinkedIn contest in India to pinpoint the “Most Fashionable Professional.” It was a month-long contest aimed at 1.5 million users and generated 30,000 individual visits—5,000 of whom actually took the time to log in and nominate 15,000 men.
The hospitality industry can make big waves in social media, and DoubleTree dabbled with LinkedIn to the tune of great results. Using a location-based app to help event planners make their life a little easier by connecting users with DoubleTree hotels, the company filled a void that was in desperate need of TLC. Plus, it added in a little positive PR to boot.
Big Names Make Big Gains
Not one to miss this boat, Microsoft jumped on the marketing avenue with the Nametag Analyzer app, an easy app that quickly let people analyze their profiles and come up with a nametag to showcase what their identity “should” be as a professional. This got rid of the Ms. vs. Miss conundrum for some, while suggesting new skills to add for others. Basically, it made improving your profile easy.
And Fruit of the Loom? The popular undergarment company bolstered a promotion where LinkedIn users who reported a job change in the last 30 days get their hands on some new Fruit of the Loom products. “Great-fitting underwear can help you start your work day in a great mood,” claims the company. That may or may not be true, but who can resist a freebie and a complete new job wardrobe?
These are just a smattering of the major companies who have dipped their toes into the LinkedIn marketing possibilities and come up with great success. LinkedIn isn’t the holy grail of marketing, though. Companies should still employ a variety of efforts to improve inbound marketing. Other tried-and-true methods are improving SEO, publishing great content, and engaging on all social platforms. Traditional marketing methods like using an 800 number, signage, mailings, and advertising are all part of helping a business achieve success. But trying a LinkedIn trick now and then is not a bad idea.