by Michael Idinopulos
on September 3, 2013

Digital Marketing: Social Changes Everything

If you employ professionals, most of them are on LinkedIn. Each one has a personal website–their LinkedIn profile–with content. Each profile gets a few hits every week. Add them all up, and your employees are getting thousands or hundreds of thousands of hits every week. Maybe even more than your corporate website.

It’s radically disrupting digital marketing.

Digital marketing used to be a game of attraction. You built web content that looked great, conveyed your brand, communicated your message, and drove behavior. But building the website wasn’t enough. You needed prospects to come. That’s where the attraction game began. Whether paid search, SEO, or banner advertising, your job as a marketer was to drive traffic to your beautifully crafted content.

Social is turning that dynamic upside-down.

With Social, you don’t have to attract viewers. The traffic is already coming.

A lot of traffic. LinkedIn alone attracted almost 80 million uniques last month for over 1 billion total page views. Some percentage of that traffic is hitting your employees, your company, your brand.

Most of the traffic is free, at least to you. You didn’t pay your employees to be on LinkedIn. Even if you’re buying advertising on LinkedIn, clickthroughs to your employees’ profiles are organic traffic you didn’t pay for.

But the digital marketing game isn’t over. It’s just being played in reverse.

Digital marketing is shifting from a game of attraction to a game of creation.

All that free traffic is going to employee profiles–personal websites–that you don’t manage. You didn’t write the content. Your design firm didn’t select the visuals. Nobody A/B tested your employees’ LinkedIn profiles. You didn’t hold a focus group.

You wouldn’t launch your company website until you had everything just right: the branding, the messaging, the copy, the images. But that’s exactly what your employees are doing on LinkedIn. They’re launching hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of micro-sites that aren’t anywhere near ready for prime-time.

Many, perhaps most, of those profiles aren’t doing your company any favors. Your employees don’t look good on LinkedIn. They don’t have pictures. Their job titles are vague or outdated. Heck, their profiles may not even show your company as their current employer.

It’s not that employees are trying to sabotage your social marketing efforts. They don’t know what they’re doing. They haven’t given it a lot of thought. They’re not professional marketers. They need help.

As a digital marketer in the age of LinkedIn, you need to make sure that the content which is “out there” for the market to see is content that helps your company.

It’s a whole new world.

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