LinkedIn wants businesses and employees to be more data savvy when it comes to finding and sharing articles, blog posts, slideshows and other stories on its site.
The business-oriented social networking company has been testing a new product called "LinkedIn Elevate," which suggests content for employees to share, allows them to schedule the best time to post it on LinkedIn or Twitter and provides data - likes, comments, engagement time and more - that shows how much traffic it drove.
"We realize it's not that easy. It's difficult finding quality content on a regular basis, figuring out how to get that content to the right employees and then proving that it's actually valuable to the bottom line of the business," said Will Sun, a product manager at LinkedIn, in a webinar last week.
LinkedIn has been piloting the product with Adobe, Quintiles, Unilever and other companies this year and it says results from the test program show that businesses will also reap the benefits if more employees share content with others on the social network. The program's app is expected to launch Monday, but LinkedIn Elevate is currently available to businesses by invitation only.
Sharing a presentation, blog post and other links not only allows an employee to show others how much they know about a topic and promote their brand but also helps increase job hires and sales, Sun said.
LinkedIn members who shared six pieces of content on average received six profile views and made two new connections. Their company then received six job views, three company page views and one company page follower, which helps them hire, market and sell their products.
With other marketing companies such as SocialChorus and DynamicSignal also encouraging employees to advocate for their brand through sharing and creating content, the concept behind LinkedIn Elevate isn't new.
But the advantage that LinkedIn has is that more than 300 million people worldwide already use the service, said Omar Akhtar, who focuses on marketing and technology issues for the research and consulting firm Altimeter Group.
"The real power that LinkedIn has is that most employees are already on it and if they're not they're encouraged to be on it, which means they have a whole bunch of data that is relevant to what people are sharing," he said.
While some employers encourage their workers to use social media, others, especially those that are more heavily government regulated such as the health care industry, might be more wary of social media marketing through sharing more content.
"That's a problem that LinkedIn and others have to overcome," Akhtar said.
LinkedIn Elevate is expected to be released to the public sometime between July and September.
The company plans to charge businesses for the service, but has not disclosed the price yet.
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