With 135 million users, LinkedIn is ripe with opportunities to increase brand awareness, build a community of customers and clients and connect with journalists. In the following Q&A, Krista Canfield, senior manager of consumer PR for LinkedIn, says communicators should take a proactive approach to make the most of this powerful and growing platform. Canfield will discuss LinkedIn and its applications for PR practitioners at PR News’ Digital PR Summit on Feb. 16 in San Francisco.
PR News: What unique opportunities exist for PR pros on LinkedIn that they might not be aware of?
Krista Canfield: LinkedIn is a fantastic way to connect with advocates of your brand. It's a great way to uncover member success stories and to keep those core evangelists engaged via LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Company Pages can also spread the word about products and services that your company or client has. LinkedIn is also a great place to uncover business opportunities and new clients.
PR News: Which LinkedIn features are underused?â€¨
Canfield: LinkedIn Profiles, for one. Make sure that you have LinkedIn Profiles that are filled out and complete. As a PR pro, I'd make sure that I added LinkedIn Skills to my profile that are applicable to me like "crisis communications" or "executive positioning" so when people are searching for experts that specialize in those things, your profile is coming up. PR pros should also optimize their profiles to display articles, blogs, slides and even videos as ways to inform journalists or clients about their specialties, presence and expertise. â€¨â€¨
PR News: Should PR pros be concerned about crossing personal boundaries while contacting journalists though LinkedIn? â€¨
Canfield: This is less of a concern on LinkedIn than it is on some other sites. If you don't know a journalist, make sure you read their profile first to see if they are the right person for you to reach out to. Do your homework. Once you're sure they are the right person, send them an InMail or request an introduction through someone in your network instead of sending them a connection request right off the bat. It's also worth noting that LinkedIn's strengths often lie in keeping tabs on a journalist’s movements throughout an industry—What beat do they cover now? Have they switched publications? Are they currently looking for a source?—rather than in using the site as a platform for sending out pitches.â€¨
PR News: What’s one tip you’ll share with attendees at the February 16 Digital PR Summit?
Canfield: Don't be afraid to take matters into your own hands. Just having a profile isn't enough. Follow companies on LinkedIn that you're interested in so you get updates when people join a company, leave a company and when companies post jobs. Ask questions on LinkedIn Answers that will help you make career decisions. When you're proactive on LinkedIn, that's when you really reap career rewards.
Attend PR News’ Digital PR Summit on February 16 in San Francisco and learn more from communications experts like Krista Canfield.