LinkedIn provides a channel for outreach, recruitment

LinkedIn invitations are piling up in the inboxes of PR pros. Yet, the value of getting involved in this business-focused social networking site depends on the end goal.

LinkedIn invitations are piling up in the inboxes of PR pros. Yet, the value of getting involved in this business-focused social networking site depends on the end goal.

Krista Canfield, PR manager at LinkedIn, said pros can best optimize their experiences by knowing what they want at the outset, whether media outreach or recruitment, to name a few possibilities.

“Everything we do is geared... to professionals; we purposely don't have video sharing or slides of vacation photos,” Canfield says. “We're a business lunch, not happy hour.”

Chris Lynn, peer media manager at Text 100 PR, says that in contrast to other social networks, LinkedIn enables pros to reach out without having to straddle the border between personal and professional information.

Adds Michael Olguin, president of Formula PR: “I'll search it to see if that brand VP or CMO is on, and see who they're connected to, and if we have a connection,” he says, adding that he later follows up with a face-to-face meeting or phone call.

Another way that Olguin uses LinkedIn is to keep up with former employees, some of who now work for corporations, through a group.

“LinkedIn is a great place for PR people to engage in communities that already have conversations going on, and establish thought leadership with spokespeople,” Lynn adds.

For this reason, Christine Olszewski, marketing and events manager at Eisbrenner PR, signs her e-mail with her LinkedIn link in her signature.

“Even if it's not the same as meeting [new contacts] face to face, it's important,” she says.

Last month, the site also launched a newsfeed function that enables group members to engage in discussions, Canfield adds.

Key points:

  • Keep updated information; you never know who's searching or recruiting you
  • Reach out to new business contacts directly or meet through colleagues
  • Create relationships through conversation on discussion boards

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