LinkedIn Adds New Targeting Options

50 brands participating in beta test as of April

Last October LinkedIn announced marketers would be able to post status updates to their company pages. Now the business-minded social network is adding the ability for marketers to pinpoint those posts at specific groups of followers.

Companies can target status updates based on seniority, job title, geography, company size, industry and employee tenure. “To now go out and be able to target vice-presidents of IT at companies with 500 employees and larger and send them a very specific message about enterprise software, that is a very specific message that those people have a high interest in receiving,” explained Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn’s vp of North America sales and marketing solutions.

LinkedIn has been beta-testing targeted status updates since April with 50 companies, and Lister said these posts have been broadly shared and commented upon to date, delivering more followers to the participating marketers. For instance, one of the beta customers, Salesforce, used the targeted updates to drive participation in offline events and saw a 30 percent increase in participation, Lister said.

The targeted status updates are part of LinkedIn’s Follow Company program, in which LinkedIn charges companies for followers on the platform. Within that program companies pay LinkedIn on a cost-per-follower basis and can specify which types of users they want to purchase as followers; Lister wouldn’t go into cost specifics other than to say that rates vary depending on audience and industry. “But once they’ve paid for that follower, it’s free to send as many targeted status updates as they like,” Lister said.

Lister said LinkedIn has “lots more coming” for its Follow Company program—particularly in mobile. He added that LinkedIn will be rolling out more custom partnerships, such as its recent program with Citi to create a branded community for professional women. That network counts more than 16,000 members with roughly 1,500 discussions and 5,600 comments, Lister said.

As for the security breach LinkedIn suffered a couple weeks ago, Lister said that LinkedIn reached out to its marketing partners whom the company thought had been affected.

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