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LinkedIn Losing Social War

While social media PR is on the rise and certain platforms are establishing themselves as the go-to marketing weapons of the digital age, some platforms have yet to truly establish themselves as profitable PR tools.

Sure, everything has a niche, but that niche does not necessarily translate to successful public relations. LinkedIn is a current example. Billed as the business pro’s social network, LinkedIn has several factors that appeal to business leaders.

It has an expectation of more professional standards. The information provided and the posts promoted lend themselves to a more professional environment. But here’s the rub: people set it and forget it. They’re just not using it very much.

After the company forecasted weak first quarter earnings, share prices plunged 27 percent in North America. Worse, the company announced plans to phase out a profitable online ad product, dropping revenue by at least $50 million in 2016. Not news shareholders want to hear. While this product’s lack of scalability was a legitimate concern, the loss of this current cash flow did little to excite shareholders.

So what’s the problem? LinkedIn is undeniably established as the Professional Choice for social platforms. It’s a place where people can network, meet other professionals and build influence. Well, at least, it’s supposed to be. Presently, most people with a LinkedIn profile have one because they feel they should. They don’t really use it. It’s like having a boat but never putting it in the water. It’s great, and people like talking about it, but it doesn’t really deliver on the promise.

Bottom line, LinkedIn users know what they should do, but far too many don’t really know why, not in any actionable reality-based sense. They have profiles that don’t do much on their own to generate activity, not nearly the same level of active involvement as Facebook or Twitter. And, since they are business professionals, and the platform isn’t in their face every five minutes, they tend to ignore it. There it is, over in the corner ticking away, but out of sight is out of mind.

For LinkedIn to thrive it needs to add immediacy and perceived value to its arsenal of consumer interactions. People need to have a specific reason to use it more often, and the social aspect of the network needs to be enhanced. It may be nice to see all those smiling faces in perfectly-coiffed headshots, but the current setup never lets those people become any more real than that.

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5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of NYC based PR company, 5W Public Relations.

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