Social media has shown how a small message can catch fire and go viral. But the hard fact is that there is no code/recipe to make things viral. So today, from individuals to marketers, everyone is trying to reach a larger portion of the user base on the internet. At times we get a video like Gangnam Style where we really don’t know what is it all about but we still groove to it and make it the craziest viral video. But then we also come across marketing strategies like LinkedIn has recently adopted to celebrate the 200Million user milestone.
LinkedIn, world’s largest professional network is sending emails to users and thanking them as they are one of the top 1% or 5% or 10% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. LinkedIn appreciates the efforts of users for helping the network grow over the years. Additionally, the conversation has a tweet embedded which says “I have one of the top 1% most viewed @LinkedIn profiles in 2012.”
All looks really smart. I was informed by my partner a few days ago about this campaign as she had got the same email. I was wondering what might have she done since she has been active for a month or two. I had somehow killed the thought thinking maybe she is the lucky one. However, I was hurt again when I started seeing updates, especially on Facebook posting the 1% note along with pictures (yeah everyone knows pictures work better on Facebook). But wait then I started seeing people with 5% emails and in no time every other person was posting the same content.
And in no time, the professional ego boosting trick by LinkedIn was revealed and people were either proud with a grin or there were some sad souls like me who thought that LinkedIn could have tried a little better.
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Los Angeles Times thought that it was a clever marketing trick. Making users feel special is really what you need to do. Over the last few years I have seen lot of brands becoming innovative and celebrating milestones either by giving hampers or going to the extent of crowdsourcing a song. But sending a generic email to every other person is really not smart and when LinkedIn India introduced a feature like LinkedIn Power Profiles you really expect better things. In fact Kred, the startup that measures social influence tool had walked the same way as LinkedIn has done and had felt the heat by users. (However, hats off to Andrew Grill to join the conversation and make his point)
I know that there would be a massive bunch of people, specially marketers who would debate that this is a smart marketing trick to engage with users and create an indirect buzz. Agreed but if those emails could have highlighted that a certain user has been the most viewed profile in a certain professional category then it would have really been effective. Additionally, it’s high time when social networks stop boasting about total number of users and talk about unique users and time spent on network too.
Glad that I found some support from Danny Brown’s latest post on the same who thinks that these ego boosting tricks generally don’t work long-term. So hopefully LinkedIn comes out with some other interesting tricks next time.
Now let me push this article on to the networks and try to get more readers. And in the mean time you can share your thoughts and if you fall in the 1%, 5% category then do mention it. By the way I am still waiting for my email!
P.S. I am not a qualified marketer and I have written this post from a perspective of a common man who uses social media like all others do.