Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The delicate art of writing LinkedIn copy

This month's blog discusses the dos and don'ts of LinkedIn language. Whether it's news, networking or negotiation - it's not just about what you say, it's about how you say it.

Though the social media credentials of LinkedIn were much maligned by the Twitterati when they heard how much Microsoft had paid for it, Linkedin is a useful medium.

It’s great for unabashed professional networking. And it’s perfect for setting out what your company does and what makes it different. However, it is a strange beast which requires a certain style of writing.

So, who’s getting it right on LinkedIn?
According to LinkedIn, who’ve released their own top 20 list of the best company sites, Coca Cola and IBM are examples of best practice - they’ve become go-to sites for industry news, staff incentives, employee opinions and job vacancies. And all using clear, concise copy.

However, The Four Seasons Hotel made it into the top five by publishing a weekly caption competition. While we’re sure this draws more consumer visits than a typical company profile, it isn’t very businesslike. And that reveals one of the dilemmas of business communications: how much should a company let its hair down and have a bit of fun when going social?
Don't let your hair down too much

The problem with most social media is that it calls for companies to be as informal as everybody else is online – and as garrulous. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter rate the frequency with which users post, rather than their actual content. But most businesses are fairly serious activities – with shareholders to serve, employees to support and customers to satisfy. Do these groups really want to see you messing about? 

How to speak LinkedInian
LinkedIn’s tip is to treat your company profile like any piece of marketing material and ‘make
sure your company’s value proposition is near the top [so you] excite potential customers [and] influencers in your industry’. Sound advice.

And what to say
LinkedIn quotes Buffer’s analysis of the most popular topics on the platform. Apparently ‘6 out of 10 LinkedIn users are interested in industry insights whereas company news appeals to 53 percent of LinkedIn members. New products and services come in third.’

So, don’t post unless you’ve got a great insight, or some news. Don’t take too long about it and don’t goof around too much. Unless your business is fun. In that case, bring on the competitions and the cute cat photos.

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