Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Is Facebook’s Graph Search a Giant Killer?

Will Facebook’s “Graph Search” be a threat to Google, LinkedIn, Yelp, or Foursquare asks a question on Quora?

jack_the_giant_killer_version9-movie-poster

No, No, No and Definitely Not. Yet.

The key is expertise.

Beneath the obvious user delight, Facebook is betting a lot on Graph Search’s core ability to connect people with what they’re looking for accurately and immediately. And obviously as the middle man, they stand to gain. Fair enough.

But will Facebook’s imminent functionality be a threat to well established vertical searches like Google, Yelp, LinkedIn and Foursquare?

All of the four kinds of search you can do today: Photos, People, Places and Interests, bear commercial implication. But the most immediate remain People and Places, which as bloggers speculate may pose a threat to Yelp, Foursquare, Google (Places) and LinkedIn (People). So, let’s take simple examples and compare Facebook Search with the other four searches.

Facebook vs. Yelp

I started with a simple search for “bars,” something I presume will be a common search on any local product. Here’s what I got with Facebook. For starters, along with actual bars it also pulled up law and bar associations or offices which was a bit odd.

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Now try the same with Yelp and you see how right away, they try to segment that query into the different types of bars you’re potentially searching for.

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Once you get a set of results, Yelp then allows you (and this is the most useful feature on yelp currently) to convenience sort by “rating,” “proximity,” “price,” “open now,” or even better by neighborhoods.

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I’ve gotta tell you; if you go out often, this filter is magical. But again, the filter is by utilitarian ratings by foodies and not by friends around you. More on that in just a second.

But before we leave Yelp, the third most useful feature on Yelp is their surfacing key elements of the review. So you’re at a restaurant and you’re wondering what’s the best thing on the menu. In days past, you’d have had to ask the person serving you but now you can rely on “the wisdom of an expert crowd” what’s the best food here and it works. Like magic.

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Facebook vs. Foursquare

Back to the topic of friends which is Facebook’s biggest competitive advantage. If you do wanna take into account which restaurants your friends are frequenting (ignoring the fact that expertise is the key), then try Foursquare.

The first thing you’ll notice yet again is the structured data (categories like Bar, Sports Bar, Salon) right up front (similar to Yelp) that Foursquare now provides you; though not as in depth as Yelp, can still be a tad useful.

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Digging deeper through the results, you’re gonna find them sorted by Foursquare’s own proprietary “Zagat number” that they conjure based on multiple data points.

Foursquare comes up with its score by looking at tips left by users, likes, dislikes, popularity, check-ins and it also weights signals more heavily for local experts.

They also show you a self-selecting group of folks who you know. Chances are most of these folks are more prone to bar hop than your other friends. But still Yelp really nails it with their community that they have nurtured for many many years who continue to write meaningful reviews that makes a world of difference when it comes to local search.

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Facebook vs. Google Local

While on the topic of a Zagat number, Google recently bought restaurant ratings site Zagat which now powers their Google Local ratings.  Zagat which originally started off compiling restaurant ratings of the Zagat’s friends, does something very similar to Yelp and the model here is yet again – expertise.

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Facebook vs. LinkedIn

Shifting gears to people search, Facebook’s people search is three years after LinkedIn launched its faceted people search. I know because I helped launch it at TechCrunch Disrupt where product manager Esteban Kozak demoed it right before CEO Jeff Weiner went on stage. (Disclosure: I no longer work at LinkedIn and don’t own any stock either) My mind was blown when I first saw what we could do with faceted search on LinkedIn both from a user experience perspective and I’m sure recruiters have found even more value from it.

Take a look at this demo video we shot in 2009 that shows you the plethora of signals a site like LinkedIn uses to hone in on the right professionals in a search. Easier said than done, and much like with Yelp, these signals have been gathered over many many years and such a search isn’t something you can turn on willy-nilly.

In all four instances the quality of Facebook’s search is insipid today compared to the robust community based expertise that the four sites have either built or bought .

The key is expertise. 

Now granted there are many things Facebook could do to build or buy their way into each of these verticals but the key point is that strength in local search across People and Places is not “friend” related, but rather “expertise” dependent and it takes years to build that. And frankly, I’d go with the critical reviews from experts in these fields and that’s an area that Yelp, Foursquare, Google and LinkedIn have Facebook beat.

Filed under: Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, LinkedIn Features, Local Search, Location, Mark Zuckerberg, , , , , ,

Why LinkedIn Events matters more Now

Think of every event or conference you’ve ever attended. Think of the two questions that’s been foremost on your mind in finding value from the right events, besides avoiding these guys or worse still running into these guys:

1. Which of my friends are attending this event? 

This is probably the #1 question that bugs conference organizers and event attendees. Think of the last time you’ve attended an event or a conference? Your first thought that helped you decide should you spend that extra few hours after work, driving all the way to an event was – are my peers, colleagues or former colleagues gonna be there. Is it gonna make it worth my while?

LinkedIn Events you may be interested in does just that as it prioritizes the results showing you just the ones your connections are gonna be at, making it easier for you to decide which ones to RSVP for.

Showing you the events that your friends are attending, gets you to those events

2.  Is this event worth my time? 

Given the time and cost investment associated with events, attendees also wanna make sure that they are making new connections that will prove to be invaluable to them in the long run. Enter, Attendees you may want to meet.

It's People You May (or Should) Know at the Event or Conference

This feature is priceless (like People You May Know) as it allows you to connect with these potential contacts you should be networking with. This is something that only a site like LinkedIn can provide using the relationship graph that exists on the site today, friends of friends and all that cool stuff.

I’d give LinkedIn events a try just for the above two features, but I bet there are other reasons to try it out as well. Let me know what you think about the feature by leaving a comment and I’ll make sure it’s shared with my colleague Jimmy Chen and team.

As a critical part of networking, you can now leverage the relationships you’ve built on LinkedIn over the years to inform your experience attending events, making it more productive.

Related posts:

  1. Here’s Jimmy’s post from the LinkedIn blog
  2. TechCrunch’s take on LinkedIn Events’ intelligent recommendations & search by Leena
  3. TNW’s Cheri on LinkedIn’s bigger, better and more user-friendly Events upgrade

Filed under: LinkedIn Features,

Companies: Why your LinkedIn Page is now a really big deal

As we’ve hinted at in the recent past, LinkedIn just launched the ability for companies to update their LinkedIn Company page, like companies could have been able to do on their Twitter and Facebook pages. In the past, LinkedIn’s Company page was populated only with select auto-generated content like job changes for e.g. Now, things have changed.

Moving forward, all companies or small businesses with a LinkedIn Company Page can customize updates to their followers (whether it is a customer, job seeker or a prospective client). Here’s why it’s a pretty big deal.

What’s new?

With this new release, companies (with an assigned administrator and whose company page is set to “designated admins only”) will have the flexibility to share the latest on the company directly to all of their followers on their company page’s “Overview” tab.

Keep in mind your status updates can be up to 500 characters long and can support URLs with multimedia as well. Given that any LinkedIn member can comment, like or share your Company’s status update, this is a great way to build engagement with customers, potential employees and prospects alike. – Ryan Roslansky, who runs our Company Pages product (though Ryan manages the larger team, I found that my colleague Mike Grishaver runs the specific product itself. Hat tip to Karen Chin!)

Why should it matter to companies or small businesses

1. The confluence of company and brand 

So, why is this a big deal for companies? For starters, this is something companies had been clamoring for a long time and given the recent pace of adoption we’ve seen with millions of company pages and tens of millions of LinkedIn members following companies already, the scope and impact of Company Pages is only gonna grow.

What I find most exciting about this development is that, while Twitter and Facebook focus solely on the mainstream consumer brand experience and its accompanying follower base, a LinkedIn Company page is probably the only place that you can cater to both external (consumers) and internal (employees) audiences. That’s a rare combination, which while possible on Twitter / Facebook, is way more powerful on LinkedIn, given the professional scale. (Disclosure: As a reader, if you don’t know this yet — I work at LinkedIn)

2. It’s just before the tipping point 

Getting in sooner vs. later on social platforms not only lets you claim your ground, but also helps you build a larger following faster. So, building a huge follower base on Twitter these days is more difficult than during those early days. On LinkedIn, the number of company pages, the audience and timing feels like it’s just before the tipping point.

It’s large enough to be a happening place (over 120 million professionals) but it’s not big enough that its unwieldy (only 2 million companies have their profiles on yet), so it’s a great point in time to create one for your company or small business before you get lost in the ensuing land grab.

3. Find a targeted audience and measure yourself

This is probably the most important reason for the right company in the right space (B2B for e.g.) or small business to capitalize on the opportunities posed by LinkedIn. The people on LinkedIn are different from the folks on other social networking sites.

As a marketer, if your goal is to reach professionals there is no better place on the planet than to engage with them on LinkedIn. Let the facts speak for themselves, but I’m amazed at how huge Fortune 500 corporations like IBM or Microsoft are on LinkedIn compared to their equivalent on Twitter for e.g. Here’s a sample:

  1. IBM Company Page: ~450,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  2. Microsoft: ~330,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  3. Oracle: ~230,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  4. HP: ~350,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  5. Google: ~320,000 followers, +10,000 employees

And, I could go on. But, if you’re running social media teams at any of the millions of companies on LinkedIn and you’re not taking a more active role on your LinkedIn Company page, you should be fired.

And one more thing.

ROI. As someone who runs social media for a social media company, it’s my job to figure out measurement models on the key social networks that LinkedIn (the company) has a presence on. LinkedIn Company Pages comes with an analytics component that’s similar to the one you’d find on Facebook for e.g. More on that in another post.

In the coming weeks, I’ll delve into more Company Page details. Follow me here.

So, whether you work for a large company or a small business, you better be setting up a LinkedIn Company Page. And, if you have one already. Start talking, start sharing your updates now — to the people who matter most to your business: Your Employees. Your Customers. Your Prospects.

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features,

Previously on LinkedIn: Inspiration, Flipboard and Groups

Each week, as Sr. Social Media Manager at LinkedIn, I get to share breaking LinkedIn news with the rest of the world and fellow bloggers (many of them product related). This weekly series covers the LinkedIn stuff that you may have missed — with a little context into why it matters and to whom.

Ask me questions or @mariosundar me on Twitter

Here’s this past week’s news announcements that mattered most:

1. LinkedIn, meet Flipboard by Liz Reaves Walker



Who should care?
Any professional. Consider this a real-world water-cooler conversation with folks who are of mutual importance to your career (assuming you’re connected to them). And, if you’ve an iPad then this app is a no-brainer. I, so badly, want an iPad now. I know, a lot of people find it funny that I don’t have one yet. cc: @adamnash

BTW, if you’d like to see a video demo, I’d recommend the TechCrunch interview with Mike McCue.

2. Using LinkedIn Groups API to create an events water cooler by Madhu Gupta

Who should care? This is such a no-brainer for event organizers. Madhu also shares a recent implementation from Microsoft on their Partner event website. The integration is pretty slick. As you can see — you can flip through the top groups threads even without being signed in.

If you’d like to perform simple gestures (“Like” or “Follow” the conversation), you’d need to be signed in on the website where this is embedded.

And, if you’d like to actually participate in the group all you’ve to do is click through to the specific LinkedIn group page. And, you guys know how that works.

The group itself is a great way for conference attendees to introduce themselves, share questions they have that’s worth a separate group thread and say Hi to folks they didn’t get a chance to interact at the conference room floor or at the sessions. This was my experience on Social Media Examiner’s LinkedIn Group (private group – requires sign in), as I discovered when I spoke at their webcast recently.

I used the LinkedIn group to collate ideas and feedback on my presentation and was able to tailor it better to the audience’s needs. It’s also a great way to follow up with your audience once you’re done. Now imagine, the power of that conversation embedded on your website drawing more participation before and after the event. I just realized as I blog this, that this topic deserves a whole new post.

3. Finding inspiration and support at work by Jill Levine

Given that we spend much of lives at work, it’s important that we get to work not only with the brightest minds, but with genuinely nice folks. It’s a joy to work with such folks at LinkedIn (more on that here), but this week’s story on our blog was an inspirational one about our colleague from New York, Jill Levine.

I’ll let Jill share the story herself.


Speaking of great colleagues, just thought it was worth mentioning that Adam, Jim and I are currently on a #blogfitness program.

We’ve each taken up the challenge to blog, a post a day. You can read the specifics on Jim’s post here (click through just for the video of Jim doing burpees – priceless!). And, Adam, well he’s started off strong with a post on Quicken solution for OS X Lion. And, Adam’s famous T-shirts post just got picked up on TechCrunch yesterday. Nicely done.

Game on!

If you’d like to support or taunt us about missing a blog day, feel free to tweet us @mariosundar, @adamnash and @brikis98.

And, if you’re a blogger suffering from blogger’s block. You too can join us in our 30-day #blogfitness diet. Leave a comment.

Filed under: Latest at LinkedIn, Linkedin, LinkedIn Features, LinkedIn in the News, ,

The Professional Droid has landed…

Update: Storify auto-publish to WordPress was a giant FAIL. I’m doing a copy-paste from my original on Storify and I’ll probably not attempt syndicating from Storify again. If it worked, I’d have stuck with it since it makes the task of pulling from disparate social media streams effortless.

This is gonna be my first try at Storify, an effective and super-easy way to weave a cohesive story around different social media genres: blogs, tweets, flickr, youtube, etc.

As I’d said yesterday, this is a great way for me to share the social media moments on stuff that I work on, given how most of those involve articles, blog posts, tweets, etc.

This is of course, an experiment, since I’m not sure how well the auto-publish from Storify to WordPress works. I’ve also noticed that the drafting process on Storify is broken since it doesn’t auto-save well and you’re likely to lose portions of content if you choose not to publish it rightaway.

But, I digress… On to today’s launch: LinkedIn’s Android App.

The (Professional) Droid has landed…

Chad Whitney, my colleague at LinkedIn blogged about the launch of the LinkedIn’s Android app earlier today. This is the 2nd consecutive product launch from the House of Adam Nash, who blogged yesterday about the launch of our development platform.

Chad’s great at coming up with short, succinct posts that really get to the point and also gives the reader exactly what they’re looking for in terms of links, downloads, etc., without them having to read through reams of text.

So, here’s his post that announced the availability earlier this morning on the LinkedIn Blog.

Blog highlights: So you don’t have to read through them all

As I’d mentioned earlier, one of the perks of my job is sharing this news with the rest of the world. Here are reactions from key tech blogs:

1. Mashable / LinkedIn Now Available on Android Marketplace

LinkedIn for Android v1.0 is the complete experience, though. There has been incredible demand for a LinkedIn Android application for some time. And while it took the company a little too long to get this app to the Android Marketplace, the bottom line is that LinkedIn is now on the major smartphone platforms (iPhone, BlackBerry and Android), making it easy for its more than 100 million users to access the network on the go.

2. TechCrunch  / LinkedIn’s Android App exits Beta with Messaging, Sharing, “People You May Know” features

The app allows users to access the profiles of your connections, and you can send connections a message directly from the application. Messaging has been fully integrated in the app in the new version, and you can now send and receive messages from the app. Additionally, you can accept outstanding network invitations.

3. ReadWriteWeb / LinkedIn gets an Android app

While I don’t imagine I will be looking for connection suggestions on my phone, the ability to quickly look up user profiles before a meeting sounds like a great feature. Have a meeting and don’t know much about the person you’re meeting with? Check out LinkedIn and you can get a full background.

We’d love to see this integrated with recent LinkedIn acquisition CardMunch.

4. The Next Web / LinkedIn Android App sheds Beta tag officially launches on Android Market

The LinkedIn team have been busy. Following the launch of its Developer Platform, enabling users to embed sharing buttons and plugins, LinkedIn has announced the availability of its official Android application, launching today on the Android Market.

Of course, there were other mobile blogs that also that picked up on the above posts or did their own analysis of the app. Check them out from the related Techmeme thread here.

User reactions: From finally to oh yae…

And, finally, I thought it’d be great to pull some of the key reactions.

I find that Storify makes it super-easy to pull in relevant tweets. Tip: favorite the tweets you want to pull into your story and then find them on your twitter tab within storify. Again, super-easy and auto-formatted. I realize I can alternatively, just embed the tweets in WordPress like below.

And, at the end of the day, there’s tremendous value in the ability for professionals to be able to stay connected, when on the move.

This app really makes that a reality for Android users and as the above tweets indicate, this is the LinkedIn app they’ve all been waiting for.

Signing off… And, for those of you Android users. Download the app from the Android marketplace here.

/@mariosundar

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features,

Faster, More Furious: LinkedIn’s New Developer Platform

I’m sure Adam would have rather used this as the title for his LinkedIn blog post, something we debated yesterday evening as he finalized his post. Jus kidding. Check out Adam’s more recent blog post on his personal blog, where he talks about the easter egg from today’s launch.

But, I digress… So, earlier today, Adam Nash and our platform team launched a completely kick-ass developer platform, which is big news both for developers and companies.

What’s new:

  • For developers: Easier to implement. And, I mean EASIER TO IMPLEMENT!
  • More plugins: From member profiles to product recommendations
  • Faster under the hood

One of the areas I find interesting is the ability for publishers or bloggers to use LinkedIn plugins to make it even easier to engage with their readers. This could be either commenting on the blog post while some journalists may prefer the simpler member profile hovercard (something Flo helped us implement for the LinkedIn blog), which allows the reader to send a message to the post author, if they’re connected, and also shows your common connections.

Pretty slick!

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. What else can users create? For starters, there have been some pretty nifty implementations in the past, given a much smaller dev toolset. I can’t imagine what companies, small businesses and publishers are now gonna build with the tools given to them today.

I’ll just leave you with a quote from Jack Dorsey on the magic unleashed by developers on any platform:

You can’t build an electricity grid and say, “You should go out and invent vacuum cleaners. Or keyboards or toaster overs.” You have to give the right tools and primitives to folks, so they can build what they want, and what they want to see in the world.

With today’s launch, developers have been given the right tools to build upon LinkedIn’s powerful professional platform, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Expect to see my favorite examples covered on my blog here.

What others are saying…

One of the perks of my job is the opportunity to share some of this interesting news to users as well as to folks who are most interested in this stuff.

Here are some reactions:

1. TechCrunch / LinkedIn unveils a more open developer platform, with lightweight customizable plugins:

The idea behind plugins is to give developers are more lightweight way to embed LinkedIn functionality and data on third-party sites. ALl of the plugins can be integrated onto websites with just a few lines of javascript and are customizable, says Adam Nash. For example, LinkedIn’s Member Profile plugins brings a snippet of user profiles to a third-party site and can show users who they know within an application in a professional context.

2. Mashable / LinkedIn launches revamped Developer Platform:

The new LinkedIn Developer Platform and website make these APIs available to anyone who wants to use them. LinkedIn also opens its new platform for plug-ins, including the “Sign in with LinkedIn” button and the LinkedIn Share buttons you see on Mashable’s business and marketing stories. There are also plug-ins for member profiles, company profiles and a Recommend button that lets users recommend your products through their LinkedIn network.

3. RWW / LinkedIn’s Answer to Facebook’s Open Graph:

The platform, though, isn’t just for developers. LinkedIn is offering an entire suite of plugins to bring all of this content to your website. Even better, it’s making it as easy as the click of a button and it could offer some serious competition to Facebook’s Open Graph on sites that cater to the career-minded.

4. Venture Beat / LinkedIn connects to the web with new plugins:

While developers can build applications that run on LinkedIn itself, perhaps the most promising part of the platform involves the ability to access LinkedIn data from beyond the LinkedIn site, on other sites and apps.

5. GigaOm / LinkedIn and Facebook: Personal and Professional in the identity wars:

But Facebook still seems to be a social playground for many users — a place they post photos and play games and share links to funny videos — while LinkedIn is like the office: it’s where users post their professional histories and connect with others in their field, search for jobs, and do other business-related things. So is there room for both to have a web-embracing plugin platform? Could LinkedIn appeal to older, more professional users who think Facebook is either too frivolous or too insecure and therefore don’t login or use its plugins?

6. The Next Web / LinkedIn launches developer platform social plugins:

LinkedIn will fill a crucial gap among credible OAuth providers — I’m always loathe to use my Facebook account to log into business-oriented apps and I imagine there are plenty of others out there who’d much rather log in with LinkedIn in those cases.

I could go on, but you get the picture. If you still want more, check out Techmeme for related stories.

So, once again: Kudos to Adam Nash and LinkedIn’s Platform team. And, here’s to the thousands of developers waiting to build these utilitarian apps for you.

/@mariosundar

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features, , ,

Why LinkedIn Today is not just another News product.

Why LinkedIn Today works better than other news portals

For the same reason Facebook’s social graph completely improves upon the game playing experience – think of Scrabilicious or Zynga. They upended the gaming industry giants despite cheesy graphics – for one reason: add your friends into the mix and games are way more fun. Frankly, that’s the only reason we play. Likewise, throw in your colleagues or customers in the mix and News turns way more valuable.

Yes. News is to LinkedIn as Games is to Facebook.

I’ll be honest. I’m still a die hard Techmeme fan because I follow every minute news update in the business of technology. But, increasingly I find myself checking out LinkedIn Today, for one reason. As I skim through the articles on Today, I find myself noticing the people who’ve shared them before I check out the news itself. Not sure if this has been your experience as well.

Ice-breaker meets the Water-cooler

It really prioritizes the most important news for me based on my professional taste and who’s sharing the news. And, frankly that’s why I think LinkedIn Today is different. For starters, it automatically surfaces the most interesting news for me based on who I am professionally. There’s no setup there. Think of it as a automatic news interestingness filter based on who I am professionally.

If this works for a voracious news reader like me, then imagine today’s mainstream professional who’s got much less time to dabble in news. What would he or she want to try out. Imagine if you could see the top news articles shared by your colleagues at work, your executives, your clients, your prospective customers. Another chance to ping them, to talk about the latest news in your space.

People Filter your news

So, without rambling on… let me end this post by quoting from a recent post by Mathew Ingram (who’s been fairly prolific on this topic in recent times), on yet another critical factor that distinguishes LinkedIn Today from other news products for professionals:

If there’s one thing that web users need more than ever, it’s smart filters to help them navigate the vast tsunami of information that comes at them every day. (The big problem isn’t information overload, says Clay Shirky, but rather “filter failure”.) Someone is going to solve that problem, and if they do it properly, they could wind up capturing a significant share of the online news-reading market.

Wouldn’t you agree? The situation gets fairly worse for professionals whose time between 9 to 5 is far more valuable than the time of web users in general whose primary disposition seems to be sharing pictures of LOLCats with their friends on Facebook. Given that situation, it is absolutely imperative that we need a product where smart filters curate the uncontrollable fury of information that’s blaring at us while we work.

In LinkedIn Today’s case, those smart filters happen to be your professional interests, your colleagues, your mentors, thought leaders, etc. in your space. In addition, you can even filter each of the headlines by companies, industry and location for e.g. (see above). You can also follow news sources you dig (see below); something I did rather reluctantly and I’m hoping will translate to better results. But, frankly, people you care for professionally is why this product differs from every other news product out there. 

Enough about what I think. What do YOU think of LinkedIn Today? Let me know in the comments section below or just @mariosundar me on Twitter. Rest assured, I’ll pass it on to Liz and team, as I have in the past.

For regular readers:

I’m back. As I’d promised yesterday. This is a post that’s been brewing in my mind this whole week and I just didn’t find the time to key clicks to my laptop. I’m proud of the work of my colleagues, Liz and team and have slowly but surely moved towards using Today as I’ve noticed an increase in relevancy of news that’s surfaced to me.

Let me preface this by saying, for a long time I’ve refrained from raving about LinkedIn products I dig (because I work there), but to hell with that. When I share my enthusiasm for any tech products (people think I work for Apple :), I’d be remiss if I don’t share with you yet another product I love, just because it’s from the company I work for.

Of course, everything I post here will be within reason and will be explained thus. I’d urge you to call me out if I’m veering towards promotion but I can’t recall the last time I did that on this blog and rest assured it won’t happen. Again, these are just my personal thoughts and do not reflect my employer (as is the running caveat on all my posts here).

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features, ,

40,000 LinkedIn Company Pages in 1 Week

Now, many of you reading this are probably aware of LinkedIn’s recent launch of Company Pages – any company or small business’ own space on LinkedIn. An Adage article by Irina Slutsky that came out earlier today talks of the growth and experience of some companies within Company Pages.

As I’d mentioned earlier, I work with many of my social media counterparts at sharing best practices on LinkedIn and I was thrilled that we could get both Kodak (Thomas Hoehn) and Samsung (Esteban Contreras) to launch their brands’ Company Pages on launch date. Brian Nizinsky from Kodak briefly describes his Company Pages experience in the above-mentioned article:

Another feature recently launched is “Company Pages,” extremely similar to Facebook Pages. Companies have jumped on the feature like a starving hyena on the fresh carcass of an elephant. Just in one week, more than 40,000 companies signed up, since now marketers can use the page to promote new products and …yes, engage with their customers. Kodak said the feature is relatively new for it, but hopes to expand on its capabilities. “We have been able to add more information about us and our products/services,” said Brian Nizinsky, online marketing manager at Kodak. “This gives our audience more ways to interact with us and that should only increase as the LinkedIn user base starts using those features more.”

I’ve also had a couple of great conversations with Brian in the past (unrelated to the above article) on LinkedIn Groups and how it could be the starting point of your B2B marketing strategy, and was glad he shared some of his insights into LinkedIn groups here as he has with me:

LinkedIn groups have often been downplayed as LinkedIn’s less-successful features, bringing in low traffic. But Kodak had a different take. “We have found that LinkedIn Groups have been a great way to both start and participate in online discussions that are happening only on LinkedIn,” Mr. Nizinsky said. “We know that the people on LinkedIn use it for business networking and career enhancement so they tend to be more engaged with our content. We make sure we are members of the most active groups that are relevant to our B2B audience — for example, the digital-printing group with over 11,000 members. Once we are part of these groups, we often share content and make sure to respond to any questions and comments that people post.”

I think we could all learn a thing or two from Kodak’s successful experimentation with LinkedIn Groups. I’d like to also provide you a few more insights on that topic. Stay tuned.

In the meanwhile, if you’ve a question on LinkedIn groups or LinkedIn Company Pages, leave a comment or @mariosundar me on Twitter. <<Disclosure: I’m LinkedIn’s Sr. Global Social Media Manager, since 2007>>

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features,

The only Twitter List a Business User needs

One of the biggest challenges using Twitter lists is that there’s no way to auto-update those lists. What this does is that very soon it loses value since its no longer an accurate representation of the folks I intended to follow on this list. What if I told you that starting today, you could add all your business connections to a list that also auto-updates every day.

Enter the latest avatar of LinkedIn's Tweets App

Adam Nash just announced the latest version of LinkedIn’s Tweets App, which allows you to do just that by automatically creating a private Twitter list (let’s call it Business List for now) of all your LinkedIn connections that dynamically updates each day. Connect with more folks on LinkedIn and they automatically get added to your Business List on Twitter. Remove connections from LinkedIn and they drop off your Business List. I may go as far as calling it “magical”. But, I won’t, cos that would be hyperbole.

So, here are three quick steps to set up your Twitter Business List via LinkedIn:

1. Have you connected your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts?

If you haven’t done this yet, I’m not sure why you would want to try out Twitter lists, but I digress… Get your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts synced so your friends can find you when they create their own Business Lists.

It's as easy as 1-2-3. Click. Go.

2. Find and install the Tweets App on LinkedIn

Find LinkedIn’s Application Directory under the “More” header tab.

Find LinkedIn's Application Directory

Clicking on the Tweets app (via Application Directory) will take you to the Tweets Homepage.

Connections tab on the Tweets homepage with Business Lists

3. How can I create a Twitter list of my LinkedIn connections?

Adam’s post describes the feature set in detail, but let me just say that there’s something for every user in this release.

a. LinkedIn users who are just getting started on Twitter

Try the “Connections to Follow” widget on the Tweets App homepage. Left sidebar.

Source: The LinkedIn Blog

b. LinkedIn users who are starting to get Twitter

Try the “Connections” tab for a longer list of your LinkedIn connections’ Twitter ids to follow.

c. LinkedIn users who can’t live without Twitter

Try the “Dynamic List” option, which creates the private auto-magically updated Twitter List that you can then access from Tweetdeck and a host of other Twitter clients. It’s the “Save as Twitter list” widget on the left sidebar of the Connections page.

Source: The LinkedIn Blog

As I said, you may notice that following your business connections still doesn’t include either media brands or just brands in general that you’d like to follow. That’s why I’ve created a public list of carefully nurtured Twitter list of Tech blogs / news outlets to complement my private Twitter Business List.

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features, Twitter

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