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LinkedIn Continues to Evolve into Proving Ground for Thought Leaders

This post was first published by Jimmy Young on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

LinkedIn has become a marketplace for thought leadership content. Jay Leno only recently signed off The Tonight Show for the final time, and I’m already missing his “Jaywalking” segment. In this classic “man-on-the-street” bit, Jay would walk up to unsuspecting passers-by to ask questions about hot-button issues of the day. Most didn’t know what he was talking about and responded with hilariously uninformed answers.

In one of the more recent “Jaywalking” segments, Leno asked people about their social media behaviors. There was a lot of talk about selfies, Facebook and Twitter, but nothing about LinkedIn.

Granted, NBC would likely only air humorous responses from people who don’t know what they’re talking about – you know, everything from “LinkedWhat?” to “It’s sort of like Facebook for rich people, right?” But most of those interviewed, if they were familiar with LinkedIn, would probably have described it as “the social network for professionals.”

The most common perception of LinkedIn is that it facilitates professional interactions among its 250 million users, matching up job seekers and recruiters. In recent years, however, LinkedIn has evolved considerably.

Now, that doesn’t mean that LinkedIn no longer facilitates those engagements – it does. But, it also now hosts a marketplace of thought leaders. It has become a space where professionals and leading brands in their respective industries convene to engage and share ideas, resources and various types of content.

LinkedIn’s Expanding Utility for B2B Brands

The Content Marketing Institute’s “B2B Content Marketing 2014” report found that B2B marketers continue to flock to social media platforms to distribute content and engage audiences, and there’s no more popular destination than LinkedIn – 91 percent of B2B marketers say they use the platform to distribute their content.

Not only does LinkedIn take the top spot in this category, but it is also the most trusted social network, with 62 percent of B2B marketers saying they believe it is an extremely effective platform, ahead of Twitter, YouTube and SlideShare and others.

LinkedIn is the ideal B2B lead generation tool, as it allows brands to distribute quality content that reaches relevant, influential and well-informed audiences through your own company page, as well as Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Ads.

Author and self-proclaimed “LinkedIn Catalyst” JD Gershbein has said that mastery of LinkedIn takes time. You may not see results even after significant investments of your time, but once you do, you will start to see an “avalanche” of success.

Take Gershbein’s advice. Keep looking for those “snowflakes” and the perception and reputation of your brand will continue to rise. Then watch the leads pour in.

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