Are you considering joining LinkedIn and using it to help connect and share information with people interested in your department or office? If so, please read the following recommendations for how you can most effectively use LinkedIn.
Understanding LinkedIn’s primary audience
The primary audience on LinkedIn is working professionals. The most common user age range is 25 - 45. However, at 30 million, college students and recent graduates are the fastest growing demographic (LinkedIn, 2013).
It is important to understand who the average LinkedIn users are when thinking about using the social network to market your University unit and to engage your audience. If your main goal is recruitment of prospective undergraduate students, LinkedIn may not be the best choice of medium for you to convey your message. However, if your primary audience is alumni, graduate students, donors or any other working professionals, then LinkedIn may be a good fit with your University unit's goals.
It is worthwhile to note that the primary audience for LinkedIn may be changing. In September 2013, LinkedIn lowered the minimum age to create a personal profile from 18 to 14. The lowering of the minimum age was done in conjunction with the release of university pages as part of LinkedIn’s new effort to connect high school students with colleges they’re interested in. LinkedIn’s drive to attract younger users may eventually impact the age of the average user, but it has not yet done so.
LinkedIn currently offers four types of accounts: personal profiles, company pages, university pages and groups.
University units that are interested in joining LinkedIn and using it to connect with users and share information are encouraged to create LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn groups are a great option for University units, particularly academic colleges and departments, because they provide a common place for users interested in your unit to share content, ask questions, post and view jobs, connect with other users and establish themselves as experts. To create a LinkedIn group, please follow these directions.
May I create a company or university page?
The best option for University units interested in setting up a page for their department or office is a group. To open a LinkedIn company or university page, users must supply a unique domain name. Missouri State University’s domain, @missouristate.edu, is currently associated with the Missouri State University company page and university page. Since LinkedIn will not allow the same domain to be used for multiple company pages or university pages, it precludes other University units from creating separate company or university pages.