What do you have to share? LinkedIn and finding good data

One of the questions I’m often asked by clients is, “What do we talk about with the media or with our social media?”  When I started in technology PR, most companies had a standard product rev schedule and they had products they would update and ship on a regular basis.  This worked great for PR, you knew that a new product was going to ship in May, and another one was going to ship in August and you worked around this schedule and the media covered the new products.

That process has changed since many web-based companies now have many, small updates to their products or introduce new features in beta or quietly.  This makes it difficult for any of these to really be newsworthy or enough to get the attention of the media or customers.

So, what do you do? Look at what you have.  Do you have some kind of data that no one else has? I’m guessing that’s what LinkedIn did with their recent announcement that “Peter and Deborah are the top names for CEOs.” More than 100 million people have added their workplace histories to LinkedIn. This gives them an incredible data set, it’s just a matter of finding something that people will find interesting. And judging by the media coverage of this announcement, I think a whole lot of people are finding this interesting.

The other big change is that individuals have to find your information interesting so they will pass it along via social media. This worked for that as well.

What I really liked about the announcement was how many ways LinkedIn gave people to write about this story and reasons for individuals to share it by including information such as:

  • “It’s no secret that people often associate their title, employer and even their education as part of what defines them and their professional brand,” said Monica Rogati, LinkedIn’s senior data scientist. “What’s interesting about this data is that we were able to discover a correlation between a professional’s name and the industry or functional area in which they work.”;
  • Sales professionals tend to have short names, around four letters (like Chip, Todd and Trey);
  • Engineers tend to have longer names, around six letters (like Rajesh, Jeremy and Andrew);
  • U.S. professionals in the food and restaurant industry tend to have longer French names (like Thierry, Philippe and Laurent); and
  • Customize your LinkedIn Profile URL so that it’s your firstnamelastname, one word with no spaces (ex.http://www.linkedin.com/in/SarahSmith). Not only will it get your profile to the top of web searches for your name, it also makes it easier to link to your profile in your email signature or on your business card. You can make this change easily on your “Edit Profile” page. (If your URL is taken already, you can also do lastnamefirstname.)

So, LinkedIn created a story with mass appeal and then also made it appeal to specific vertical industries and then gave people an action to take.  Well done friends, well done.

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