LinkedIn: BrandConnect12 Conference

This week was LinkedIn’s annual conference in NYC – BrandConnect12 – which gives marketers a chance to hear about the latest developments, and participate in discussions and panel sessions.


The keynote from Clay Shirky was fascinating, as he gave his view of how media usage is changing, and how marketing must adapt. I won’t do it justice here, but here’s a few key points

  • Why do people contribute to social media & online sites? Social Motivation = Membership + Generosity; a need to belong and a desire to help.  Further, it helps a person to build autonomy and demonstrate competence.
  • He suggested that, in on-line communities, the 80/20 rule still applies – about 80% of online content is created by 20% of the participants.
  • Bradley Horowitz of Google has developed a “Content Production Pyramid” which shows that it may be closer to 10%
  • If you want to attract people to your brand/group/company, “provide a platform for people to participate in” or go to the place where they are already connecting together.
  • Go over to and watch one of his videos. It’ll be worth your time.

Ironically, Clay has a minimal LinkedIn profile, and clearly isn’t an active participant on the site.

David Hahn, VP Product Management at LinkedIn then took the stage to talk about Relationship Building…which actually meant “let me tell you about our latest cool feature”.

Initially I was underwhelmed – the ability to “follow” thought leaders on LinkedIn; and to “endorse” various skills for your connections. But as I think more about them, I can see value – I’ll talk more in my next post.

It reminded me that LinkedIn is very good at releasing new Products or Features very deliberately; only if they make sense to the platform and the community; and only when they have been well tested. Can you think of an “Apple Maps” style mistake with a LinkedIn roll-out?

The rest of the day focused on panel sessions with some notable participants. Disappointingly though, they rarely talked about how to use LinkedIn for Marketing or brand building, and  honestly were too generic for most of the audience. One attendee I spoke to suggested it was because “there just aren’t that many LinkedIn success stories” resulting directly from  their marketing programs. If so, that’s a shame because I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn as a professional tool, and would love to find stronger ways to use it for Marketing.

Overall, LinkedIn presented a great event. Try to join next year if you can.


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