Sophie Mackintosh (@sophmackintosh) of TopLine Communications provides inspiration for the development of creative LinkedIn campaigns by presenting us with some of the best examples of how companies have used the LinkedIn development network.
It’s mean to admit, but it’s true – LinkedIn is just not as pretty/user-friendly/accessible as other social networks. It’s almost a little scary to the uninitiated, with all its sections and invitations and no-nonsense layout. But what it lacks in these areas, it makes up through being invaluable in an industry context. LinkedIn, as befits a social media site for professionals, means business. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for creativity or a bit of fun; in fact, given that it’s more challenging to attract subscribers than on other social networks, it’s more important than ever. And, as some innovative companies are discovering, one way to do this is through building their own apps, utilising the LinkedIn API (or Application Planning Interface), and creating a more unique and personalised way to connect with their customers.
Here are three examples of companies that have done exciting things with the LinkedIn development network, a way for companies to both create and share their own apps:
Fujitsu created the app Profile Pitch – a fun way to measure up your skills against others. By logging in with LinkedIn your resume is assigned points based on qualifications, network and experience, and you then ‘fight’ against other to see who has the best skill set through avatars. You can even join up with other contacts and put your skills together to form a lean, mean, totally-rad-transferrable-skills team.
A slightly more sophisticated offering is up next from CNN Money, who decided to utilise LinkedIn’s API for Company Insider when they unveiled their annual Fortune report of the 100 Best Companies to work for. When readers viewed the pages of these companies they could see who they were connected to – letting people see just how close they were to these top companies. This appealed not just because people were nosy, but because it helped them feel motivated about their own positions if they saw how closely everyone, even at the top level, was linked.
Volkswagen decided to promote the launch of the Volkswagen Passat in the Netherlands through the creation of a game called ‘Linked In, or Linked Out?’ Once you had signed up, you could challenge a connection to a nail-biting battle of recommendations and connections – but only one of you could be crowned the LinkedIn victor. However, if you were the victor you didn’t just get the satisfaction of knowing that your CV was better: you also got entered into a draw for the chance to win a new car.
These three examples show how companies have used the LinkedIn API in ways that are fun and thought-provoking – inspiring competitiveness, encouraging people to connect with the companies, and tapping into people’s desire to have fun and professional curiosity. If you look beyond LinkedIn’s slightly stern exterior, there’s a whole variety of unexpected ways to connect.