LinkedIn Adds Recruiting Tool With Company-Tracking Feature
Following in the steps of Facebook and Twitter, professional social network LinkedIn has added the ability for users to track companies on the site. The new feature allows people to receive updates and information from nearly 1 million company profiles on LinkedIn, much as people can follow other users on Twitter or "Like" a brand or organization on Facebook.
Through the new "Follow Company" service, users can sign up to find out things like new job openings or new hires or promotions and other company developments. It can also serve as a business intelligence tool for competing companies.
"Most importantly, this feature can deliver insights you may be surprised at -- such as the pace of hiring at your nearest competitor or the start of a whole new industry as you see Web technology companies hiring geography teachers (for e.g.). Or better yet, you may find the job of a lifetime to do cause marketing for Major League Baseball," wrote Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn's director of product management, in a blog post Thursday announcing the new offering.
The ability to collect fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter has become a key element of many companies' social media marketing strategies. More than 150,000 businesses, organizations and public figures have set up fan pages (now known as "like pages"). So it's a logical step for LinkedIn to offer a similar capability and one that has been among the most requested features by the social network's 65 million members.
The move also comes after LinkedIn began allowing users to incorporate their Twitter accounts into LinkedIn profiles and vice versa late last year.
Among the most popular companies being followed so far on LinkedIn are GE, Ferrari, Netflix, and Starbucks. The company anticipates that member companies will try to capitalize on the new capability by ramping up marketing activities on LinkedIn. "As brands take notice of members following their LinkedIn Profiles we expect to see companies increasingly build out their profiles and more actively market their hiring brands, products and services," said Roslansky.
But unlike on Facebook or Twitter, heightened promotional efforts will be aimed at business professionals rather than the broader consumer market.
"I see the biggest value on the recruitment side versus the marketing realm for my clients. I believe following a company is less about brand affinity versus am I interested in it for some professional purpose whether that be jobs, competitive insights or as a business partner," said Shiv Singh, global social media lead at Razorfish.
But he added that if the program gained enough scale, it could become an attractive way for companies to target advertising at users who follow competing brands. For instance, Ford might want to run ads on LinkedIn aimed at people who have shown an interest in Toyota. But for now, the companies that should be most concerned about LinkedIn's new company-tracking feature are job sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and HotJobs, said Singh.
Users can affiliate with a company directly through its profile page or through the profile of any member affiliated with a given company. In the latter case, mousing over a company's listing will bring up a dialog box with a "Follow Company" icon to click on.
Users can also adjust the frequency and type of updates they get in their news and activity stream through the Notification Settings tab. That might include getting information only about new job openings or job changes only within a user's network instead of all job changes announced by a company. People can also opt to get an email digest of updates instead of via their stream.