At an exclusive meet with journalists on Monday evening, Hari Krishnan, Linkedin’s managing director Asia Pacific and Japan since January, showed both his understanding of the relevance dynamic and a sharp aim to build a platform to support it. “When you focus on the people who are already there, that drives network growth,” he said.
The freeform conversation had no agenda but the message was clear. Krishnan told the room, “content sharing [on Linkedin] drives six times the level of engagement as jobs.” Everyone jotted that down. In fact they asked him to repeat it.
Content sharing on Linkedin? But this isn’t silly cat videos, this is professional people contributing insights and posting links and ideas that really matter to their audience. You might be going to the site to search for work or to get advice about your industry but you are also coming away with brand impressions from people you trust.
“People on Linkedin are very thoughtful about what they say because it is not anonymous; it’s linked to their personal brand,” Krishnan explained. That ups the quality of the average conversation and puts a hard-to-find legitimate shine on sponsored content. HP and Cathy Pacific both have case studies on the subject.
What Krishnan wants to convey here is something organic and undeniable. The context of the Linkedin site, your career, adds a relevance that rubs off on the whole experience. You empathise with the people in your network, you learn from their stories. And when they recommend a product via a status update or a sponsored link, that adds significant weight to your buying decision. Consumers have more content available to them today than any one person could consume in a handful of lifetimes. So just putting your brand message next to it isn’t enough. Cutting through the noise is vital.
“The best brands out there are editors,” Krishnan said. “They find content that is relevant to their customer base. Then the network curates."
Reaching the right consumers is a struggle all businesses face; each has to constantly search for ways to inject themselves into the buying decision. With the ever-widening audiences of newspapers, radio, TV and finally the worldwide web, social media offers brands something better than a bigger crowd; it has the power to deliver an interested one. But in Krishnan’s words, “understanding the relationship, that’s the value.” Content is still pivotal but relevance is about to take the King’s crown.