LinkedIn – Game Changing Developments in Perspective


Share on LinkedIn

Since November 2010 LinkedIn has released a number of platform enhancements that either individually or collectively deserve attention by companies that operate in the B2B space. As we enter 2011 it’s clear to me that LinkedIn has dropped a number of game changing developments in our lap – Let me summarise my thinking by using a real world example – Australian CEO membership organisation TEC

Firstly “Share on LinkedIn”

Released late last month, this new feature allows companies to add a “Share on LinkedIn” button to web pages. This type of feature is common on blogs so it’s good to see a simple function now available for web pages.

For TEC, the value is in adding this to specific pages on the TEC website – for example on event pages and other specific pages like Why Join TEC. Using a function like “Share on LinkedIn” means these pages can be quickly shared into someone’s professional network. For example, TEC Chairperson Amanda Cole could simply browse to the URL for a future Queensland event and using the “Share on LinkedIn” feature share this into her network. In a perfect world, TEC and many of the Chairs would pick up future events (say a month out from the event) and use this function to share the event URL into their LinkedIn networks. This type of trusted network promotion will be key to how TEC build membership in the coming years.

Secondly, Enhanced Company Pages.

LinkedIn has enhanced company pages from simple content into a rich profile and promotional tool. They’ve packed a tonne of major enhancements into what we know as Company Pages.

Companies can now list products and services as well as receive recommendations from LinkedIn users. As Ryan Roslansky from LinkedIn noted

“Company pages now allows you to showcase recommendations from your customers and helps build your brand virally and credibly on LinkedIn.” Ryan Roslansky

What’s interesting here is that LinkedIn has taken the basic idea of listing a product or service and extended this to allow other LinkedIn users to easily add credibility to a product, service, or company via the LinkedIn Recommend function.

An example of how this could be used in action is with significant events like All TEC Day. If just 75 TEC members and Chairs (with an average network of 75 people share or recommend an All TEC Day event – we expose TEC and All TEC Day to over 5,500 people for zero cost to TEC – and as I noted above, this is sharing on a basis of personal connections and credibility rather than typical push marketing.

Finally LinkedIn Groups

The introduction of LinkedIn Open Groups is probably the most interesting change from my perspective.

The immediate significance of this relates to how the content and momentum of a group will be picked up by search engines – this comment from LinkedIn executive Ian McCarthy sums this up:

In the new Open Groups, all discussions can be viewed by anyone on the web, found on any search engines, and can be shared on other social networking platforms like Twitter, in addition to LinkedIn.

This development though requires a lot more consideration as I noted late last year.

It’s important we don’t underestimate the value of this as over time as Google in particular starts to utilise social signals as influencers in search results. Building an effective open group will be an extension of how a company search optimises a website.

Should TEC change the existing group to a LinkedIn Open Group?

Interesting question and my short answer is Yes!


Whilst it’s easy to say yes, careful thought needs to be given to those TEC members, Chairs, staff, or group members who want to remain part of a closed group. In this instance, a sub-group could easily be established that then takes up the closed nature of the existing TEC LinkedIn group.

Should the existing group be changed then it’s critical that the decision to go open coincides with an aggressive strategy to deliver content AND engagement into the open LinkedIn group. Content is just one piece of the puzzle.

How Do We or TEC Take Advantage of This?

In isolation these changes are interesting, but hardly set the world on fire.

When we look at these changes from a strategic standpoint we can draw a very different and compelling conclusion.

Let me give you an example to illustrate why I think this:

Derek Hodge is the Group Chairman for a TEC group in Sydney. Derek is just one piece of the marketing business development puzzle for this organisation.

Derek needs to fill a vacancy in his group – one key gap that exists is a member from the accounting field.

  1. Using LinkedIn DirectAds TEC can quickly target around 1,000 business owners/senior executives within the accounting industry just in Sydney with the ad directing the LinkedIn user to a Breakfast Briefing event.
  2. The Breakfast Briefing event topic and speaker was crowd sourced based on feedback from TEC’s open group on LinkedIn. The open group also acts as a promotional outlet for the event (Again, LinkedIn users can grab content and quickly share this into their networks)
  3. Derek also shares the event link within his network with many of his connections pushing this “share” on into their own networks.
    • This “Share” is pushed onto a number of second and third degree connections – all retaining the credibility link back to Derek and TEC.
  4. Content from Derek’s profile plus the conversation from the LinkedIn Open Group is swept up by Google and delivered up as search results

The diagram below is a representation of this “new normal”. It shows how we’re moving from a world where a website relies on search engines for traffic into a world where we can utilise the dynamic, inclusive nature of LinkedIn to bring highly qualified traffic into specific areas of a corporate website.

Applying Blue Ocean Strategy Thinking?

If we take this a step further (and as the diagram above indicates) we need to stop thinking of corporate sites as websites or content feeders to search engines. When you see the interaction between user, social networks, search engine, content, and engagement we start to realise that sites need to evolve into a digital concierge – a hub that integrates the social signals from many platforms in a way that makes sense to a user based on their specific information or engagement need.


Whilst LinkedIn is still a social network, the outcome of these recent changes is that the service is moving beyond being just an exchange-based social network (i.e. Facebook) – it becomes a service that can effectively complement existing mainstream marketing and business development activities. As I’ve noted elsewhere, LinkedIn is now a powerful companion for anyone seeking to have ownership over a “social community”.

In simple terms LinkedIn has evolved from where we “put” information to where we can now initiate engagement.

As we get serious about 2011 our thinking needs to move beyond search-optimised websites – search is still important, but it’s merely the signpost for a prospective customer or member to identify and consume user-generated content either within LinkedIn or as I noted above within an earned social community.

2011 is the year of content and convergence – LinkedIn has a big stake in the ground.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker is the founder of Smart Selling, and the specialist business unit – Smart Social Media. The core aim of both businesses is to help companies become better sales organisations by utilising the ideas, tools, and practices of Sales 2. and social media.


  1. Should use it for an effective result? The professional networking program introduced an "Apply with LinkedIn” option Monday that will alter the game with regards to internet job applications. Many job recruiting aggregators and company websites like Netflix and Living Social are currently using the new LinkedIn feature, with several more to come, as reported by a LinkedIn news release. I read this here: Apply with LinkedIn aligns stars around job networking service


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