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Media on LinkedIn should ‘Get with the program or leave the stage’ says platform specialist

The Straits Times' barren LinkedIn page

The Straits Times’ barren LinkedIn page

The media is among the worst performing industry sectors in how it uses LinkedIn, according to a marketer who specialises in building brands on the business social network.

Newspapers ranging from The Guardian to The Straits Times are “just not getting it”, Chris Reed, CEO of Black Marketing, suggested in a post on LinkedIn yesterday.

“Marketing people can’t market themselves. Content people can’t create their own content. PR people can’t PR themselves. Advertising people can’t advertise themselves. The media though I think are even worse,” he said.

“LinkedIn has 400 million professionals on it. They all want to read, share and engage with business content. Do these [newspaper] brands wish to engage with them or ignore them and pretend that their website is going to get any more views and users than that?” he wrote.

“Do newspaper brands want them to share their content with all their followers on LinkedIn and use them to share with their connections? Do they want followers to become their biggest brand ambassadors and amplify their content for free? In many cases the answer appears to be…no.”

Reed criticised the views of News Corp CEO Robert Thompson, who recently attacked LinkedIn for being “spam central” as well as Facebook and Google for flouting copyright laws as a content distributor.

Reed described Thompson as “a dinosaur raging against the dying of the light” and then pointed to New Corp mastheads Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Daily Telegraph as examples of newspapers that are using the network as little more than a job posting facility, less so a content platform to share their stories.

“Why doesn’t he [Thompson] embrace the platforms and use them to sell more subscriptions and engage with content,” he suggested.

“News breaks every second. Business news is important to business people… all these papers have business sections yet don’t wish to share with 400 million professionals and potential customers,” he wrote.

Reed held up the likes of The Financial Times and The Economist, subscription-based digital publishers that sometimes give content away for free to their LinkedIn followers, and The New York Times as examples of media that “get it”.

SCMP on LinkedIn

SCMP on LinkedIn

He also commended South China Morning Post and Harvard Business Review, the latter standing out in how it has grown and managed its community of more than 1m followers on LinkedIn.

Straits Times’ sister financial title The Business Times has improved its LinkedIn presence, Reed noted, while the ST is “non-existent” and MediaCorp’s rolling news station Channel NewsAsia “seem to think that one update a month is good enough. This is the same brand who tell you news every minute on their TV channel and their website,” he said.

Singapore Press Holdings tabloid The New Paper, which has 12 followers on the social network, is “too focused on their trashy stories than engaging on LinkedIn,” Reed wrote.

He wondered why CNN Asia Pacific, which has just 35 followers on the network, has no rolling news to report.

Reed said that the trade press has “failed to understand that social media is a platform that used to be called “word of mouth” and “newsagents”.

He concluded: “Get with the program or leave the stage for those willing to embrace it openly and engage. But don’t protest that other platforms are moving on and you’re not and don’t complain about falling circulations and falling advertising revenue when you haven’t embraced LinkedIn.”

Mumbrella Asia has posted three articles on its LinkedIn page, two since Reed’s piece was published yesterday. The page was launched more than a year ago.

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