It seems that LinkedIn has been on a mission to prove that professionals can be social too. And on April 4 they took it one a further by adding a Facebook-style Mentions feature to status updates and conversations.
Here’s how it works, according to LinkedIn’s blog:
- Begin by typing the name of a connection or a company in your status update box or a comment field on the Homepage.
- Select someone from the list of your connections that appear in the drop-down, complete your status or comment and post it.
- The person or company you mentioned will receive a notification alerting them that they have been mentioned.
For B2B marketers who use LinkedIn as part of their referral marketing strategy, the new feature will serve as a powerful tool to further engage with professionals online.
A well-known best practice in social media marketing is to identify and target your brand’s biggest influencers in order to expand your reach across the Web. This strategy has always been tricky to pull off on LinkedIn, given that participating in a conversation usually means engaging in a number of groups and then quite possibly drowning in a sea of spammy comments.
No longer. With LinkedIn Mentions, your brand’s marketing strategy can extend to a more professional social sphere by focusing on not only who your company and employees mention, but also the best ways to engage a new crop of potential B2B brand ambassadors.
Making B2B conversations public changes the dynamic of LinkedIn in a number of positive ways.
The Mentions feature allows a company to respond directly to customers’ comments in an existing conversation. And doing so will amplify your thought leadership across your entire network, as opposed to just one specific group. Conversely, you can reach out to relevant experts and influencers to ask questions and get on their radar.
B2B marketers can also use the feature to track who is talking about them and sharing their content—something that was impossible to do before LinkedIn embraced a more social approach to professional networking.
But despite the glaring similarities between Mentions on LinkedIn versus Facebook, it’s important to remember that LinkedIn is a platform for professionals. Both your company and personal profile are publicly available, and your content should always reflect that.
On the heels of the Endorsements feature that LinkedIn launched late last year, Mentions changes the underlying strategy of the professional social network. LinkedIn clearly understands the value of social conversations and engagement—both for B2B sales and professional referrals. And with more than 200 million members, the Mentions feature couldn’t come soon enough.
How will you leverage LinkedIn Mentions?