No one would accuse LinkedIn of being the sexiest of the social media players, but it is an effective tool for publishers willing to take the time to make it a part of their strategy. In the run-up to its IPO, LinkedIn, which has 90 million users in 200 countries, is aiming to simplify its process and spice up its image.
These are smart moves considering that small business owners -- the focus of LinkedIn's new satirical videos -- view the big social media sites more favorably, according to a recent Ad-ology poll (more on that later). LinkedIn, as I have mentioned before, has much to offer digital publishers, small and large.
On his blog this week, Nico Posner announced simpler LinkedIn account settings. Among the changes: elements important to the user are highlighted. The process now involves less click-through. "We've also added a new modal layer design for many of these settings, which surfaces your options as you click through them instead of taking you to a whole new page," Posner wrote.
LinkedIn's new humorous ads slyly listing the uses of LinkedIn's applications for small business have fallen on favorable reviews and also reinforce the idea that LinkedIn, the first social media company to go public, is not that complicated.
According to Adology's November survey, which explored which social media sites work for small business owners, 12.9% of respondents found that LinkedIn was very beneficial compared to 29.1% for Facebook and 14.6% for Twitter. LinkedIn has also fared well in the assessment of Peter Gallagher of Dow Jones Investment Banker in the Wall Street Journal, who wrote: "While the costs of an expanded field organization could slow margin growth as LinkedIn scales up, at this stage the business model is exhibiting its operational leverage: Sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of advertising and hiring revenue have fallen from 39% in 2008 to 33% through the first nine months of 2010."
LinkedIn is having a bit of a moment right now. Bruno Aziza of Forbes has interesting things to say in his improbably titled "Why LinkedIn is more valuable than Facebook." In the post, Aziza mentions that LinkedIn, a professional network, does not measure user engagement in the same way that Facebook does. And while of course Facebook ($50 billion valuation) is more valuable than LinkedIn ($2 billion valuation), its B2B applications connecting business people may actually be more important than Facebook's, with its laser-like ad dollar focus. "LinkedIn focuses on productivity for its members (LinkedIn makes money via ads, but member services and enterprise hiring services are also part of its business model)," notes Aziza. "... Your company's application model is more similar to LinkedIn than to Facebook."
How does your organization come across on LinkedIn? And: are you using LinkedIn effectively?