LinkedIn still trying to find itself

linkedin ronn torossian 5wpr ceo

Social media is now an incessant part of life for billions of humans across the globe. They use Facebook to connect with friends, Twitter to express opinions, Snapchat and Instagram and others to share life. Millions also have LinkedIn accounts. Now, all together, what’s the purpose of LinkedIn? Yep, it’s “good for business”.

Years after it debuted, LinkedIn has developed a strong brand, but it has failed to develop on that core idea that LinkedIn is good for business. People use it, sort of, but not with nearly the ubiquitous constancy of Facebook or Twitter. Simply put, while LinkedIn knows what it’s for, it has failed to communicate what to do with it. People connect … and then what?

That’s a key reason why media reports indicate LinkedIn stock is dropping – 44% in February after subpar quarterly earnings. When you suffer a fall that steep and that deep, something is very wrong at the core of what you’re doing. You can’t blame “nearly half” on outside factors or competition.

One-fifth of LinkedIn profits come from marketing, including about 10 percent from sponsored updates, one area that actually grew over the last quarter. That, at least, is good news for LinkedIn. If what they’re dealing with is a major cashflow shift, there’s a strong potential upside. But, if people are just not using the app like they could, there’s more to the story that can’t be ignored.

For most people using social media, the updates and push notifications have created a “need” to check and tweet and post and interact. On LinkedIn the audience only goes when they feel the need to, so there’s much less interaction … thus much less potential for audience participation with sponsored ads.

In a conversation with Business Insider, Henry Clifford-Jones, director of LinkedIn Marketing in Spain, Germany, and the UK, said: “We see a huge opportunity for more brands to harness Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn to target their audiences with useful content at the right time to the right audience.”

Opportunity may be exactly the right word. Because they aren’t seeing actuality. People just aren’t using LinkedIn as they are other platforms. The brand hasn’t found a way to be sticky enough to grab people and keep people. It doesn’t matter how impactful and targeted your marketing wants to be or could be if no one is listening.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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