On LinkedIn, brands just gotta work it

Jessu John | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on August 27, 2015

The appeal of vanilla LinkedIn's plainness makes accurate targeting easier SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/DENYS PRYKHODOV

The secret to creating impact on the platform may just be that brands have to tap it for its unique features

While Facebook and Twitter, along with a boom of ‘social’ in recent years, got brands thinking about connecting with consumers, LinkedIn hasn’t changed much from what it started out to be — the professional network.

In the last couple of years, some brands have started to consider the platform for its own kind of magic.

It turns out that remaining the ‘professional network’ may be LinkedIn’s key strength and differentiator for the longer term. And brands that were the first to explore its possibilities are stretching perceived limits.

Among individual users, LinkedIn has in the past risked being relatively ‘vanilla’ — not as exciting as Facebook or Twitter.

But some brands now share the view that LinkedIn just should not be compared with other social media.

Facebook has incomparable reach in India while Twitter has helped brands quickly resolve issues for customer issues and engage with users real-time. But LinkedIn isn’t just another digital platform, says Sagnik Ghosh, Head – Marketing at Axis Bank.

Sharp targeting

“LinkedIn offers razor-sharp targeting. What marketers need to keep in mind is that not all communication will be received with equal gusto by the LinkedIn audience. To cite an example, sales- or offer-related communication sees low off-take on LinkedIn, compared to Facebook or Twitter,” explains Ghosh. Axis Bank has seen communication around its Miles and More credit card and premium banking services and investment-related campaigns do well on LinkedIn.

Beyond publishing vacancies and recruitment updates, some brands report being able to use the platform for ‘employer branding’ campaigns. And being an ‘employer of choice’ has, for many years now, been at the top of corporate agenda. LinkedIn has evolved to tap into this key interest of corporate India largely by helping brands target the right audiences.

Ashok Ramachandran, Director – Human Resources, Vodafone India, elaborates, “We worked closely with LinkedIn teams in India and globally to chalk out a roadmap that focused on engaging with the relevant target audience and building an employer brand… we’ve been providing a glimpse of what it means to work for Vodafone. Our recruiters, across 25 business units, have been empowered with the required tools from LinkedIn to help them search for the right candidates for our opportunities. And we’re not just sourcing for now but building a future talent pipeline.”

Sukhpreet Kalra, India Recruitment Director, Accenture in India, adds, “Up until a couple of years ago, LinkedIn was a social connect tool. Today our largest share of social media hiring is with LinkedIn. We’re not hiring for very junior roles on the platform, rather we’re looking to fill senior roles or sourcing candidates with niche skills.” Kalra also underlines that Vodafone India has leveraged the platform successfully for some of its diversity campaigns in tune with its intent to be a strong brand for women employees.

Getting savvy

Going by a range of views, it seems LinkedIn challenges brands to use the platform strategically. What is said on LinkedIn matters. However, brands also feel the platform can get better on some fronts.

“Campus hiring is an opportunity — LinkedIn should look into it. The platform’s connect with corporates needs to be stronger. The more LinkedIn understands, the better its tools will become,” says Accenture’s Kalra. However, Kalra thinks some of the analytics and gamification features on LinkedIn are the best there is.

Axis Bank’s Ghosh emphasises, “We have a close association with LinkedIn, so we also share our feedback with the team on how it can enhance offerings for brands. And more and more Indian consumers are accessing the platform through mobile devices — to stay ahead of the curve, a great mobile experience will be important.

“Enhanced analytics and audience insights, such as personas, etc., would be beneficial too.”

But Ghosh also says that Axis Bank’s experience with ROI from LinkedIn campaigns has been “very effective”. Vodafone India reports being able to successfully ‘on-board’ more than 100 candidates specifically through LinkedIn. Ashok Ramchandran says this has helped the brand save close to ₹90 million.

And while LinkedIn gets savvy, the secret to impact on the platform may just be that brands have to tap it for its unique features.

Published on August 27, 2015
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