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Viral Marketing & LinkedIn®

LinkedIn“Viral Marketing” is a term used to describe techniques that use social media in order to increase brand awareness and various other marketing goals. Typically, this type of marketing will appeal to individuals that have high social networking potential. The key to this type of marketing is that “word will spread” by individuals communicating within a “social network”. One of the most popular networks for business is LinkedIn®.

LinkedIn® when used creatively can yield big results. The best part of this is that it is one of the most low cost advertising methods available. The worst part of it is that it takes some time and effort. Although social media can be very effective for “viral marketing” the results will take some time. First, you have to create your LinkedIn® account. Generally, accounts take on two formats: business and personal. As one may imagine, business and personal accounts get “linked” so that even a more promising group of connections can be established.

Why is LinkedIn so popular? First, it’s pretty convenient and for the most part it is FREE. Yes, you have to pay for job listings, “premium accounts” and other more extended features but you can use it for FREE if you want. However, to get the most out of LinkedIn®, you will find that it is well worth paying for a few things that may be important to you or your company.

Because LinkedIn® connects people LinkedIn® has been looked upon very favorably by the staffing and recruiting industry. Marketers find themselves with a rich database of people to connect with for the purpose of staffing. The extra bonus is that many customers and candidates enjoy connecting in this way. It’s a less obtrusive way of staying in touch and everyone can learn a lot about each other in a very convenient way.

LinkedIn® is a terrific tool for “Sourcing”. Not only do you have access to an advanced search screen with multiple items to search on, but you can send “InMail” to candidates that you may have an interest in recruiting. Professionals can be identified that possess specific skills and experience. This information can be utilized for current and future job orders. This is a new way to go about “recruitment research”. The best candidates are very often the passive candidates.

Another excellent resource on LinkedIn® is “Groups”. There are a variety of highly specialized groups that are worth joining. Not only can critical information be shared among people with similar interests, but you can meet people and develop deeper business relationships. Groups are also good to start and maintain. Groups for clients can be invaluable for marketing and also developing business partnerships. It’s convenient and you can provide your clients and potential customers with information that can help them with their business needs. Some groups are open and some are closed. Closed groups require that the group administrator accept requests to enter the group. This ensures the quality of the group members. Groups are meant to share information that may be important for group members and are not meant for “selling”.

“Jobs” can be posted on LinkedIn® for a small fee. Members of LinkedIn® can search for jobs and apply directly on LinkedIn®. This piece is fantastic. You have access to the applicants profile and resume and can send InMail to the candidate if you have questions. The job can also be shared with your LinkedIn® personal network as well as the “LinkedIn® Groups” that you belong to. Most groups have job posting boards so your jobs post directly to the group board. From a staffing firm’s standpoint, jobs posted are a good resource for open jobs at companies. Further, if you have clients that post jobs on LinkedIn® you may want to suggest that they put your email address in instead of theirs so that you can get all of the emails of people that have applied for your client’s job. You can then manage all of the applicants applying for the client’s job. The client can still see all of the people that applied. It’s great for comparing notes about candidates and having your client participate in the process but not have to do the work of screening and prepping applicants. The ad cost can be subtracted from the placement fee. If they are going to post it anyway, you may as well suggest a way that you can help.

Brand awareness can be significantly increased on LinkedIn®. Being a part of groups and appearing on lists of your connections will by default get more people familiar with your company. That’s what is so great about “viral marketing”. A corporate site can list all of your blog entries and solicit more subscribers to your blog which can lead to more visits to your website. If your website has a means by which clients can enter orders and/or candidates can apply, it is very easy to see how this can all lead to more quality business contacts.

You can post status messages and/or articles to your connected network of people on LinkedIn®. Individuals can check out your profile and/or company profile. Clients can “recommend” you. There is nothing better than a recommendation from your client. This enhances your credibility and gives people reasons to do business with you and your company.

Many classes in universities are teaching students about LinkedIn® and encourage students to get and account. LinkedIn® is a good resource for young professionals looking for internships and full time opportunities after graduation. Seasoned professionals are also learning the potential of LinkedIn® and the almost unlimited connections available to colleagues and business opportunities. It’s available as an app for your phone so it can be accessed at any time.

Most staffing software offers some type of direct integration to LinkedIn® so it can be used in conjunction with a robust staffing software application. This is a convenient and fast means of adding to a staffing database. Resume information can be parsed into the fields of your staffing software and the resume can be imported for searching. Another popular way to integrate is to post job information from your staffing software to your status as a “Discussion”. Staffing is an information rich industry and a great deal of information is available on LinkedIn®. Likewise, it’s a terrific way to distribute your information.

This article was featured in the April 2012 Issue of staffdigest Magazine. www.staffdigest.com

Terri Roeslmeier is President of Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff staffing software for the staffing and direct hire industry.  Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution with components for front office, back office and the web.  For more information on Ultra-Staff go to www.abd.net.

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