LinkedIn is a professional networking website which is also used for the exchange of information, ideas and opportunities.
A closer look at linkedIn
Both individuals and businesses/organisations can create a LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile is used by an individual to outline their career history, education, interests, and other related content, i.e. it is an online resume which can be updated as appropriate. Company profiles include a detailed company description, an overview of products and services, and profiles of current and former employees. Users can use LinkedIn to post/look for jobs and to expand their professional network by connecting with other users and by joining (or even creating) groups with a common interest. Many examples of these LinkedIn groups exist within the area of food safety. An example of this is the European Food Law LinkedIn profile which you can view here. This LinkedIn group links professionals sharing an interest in Food Law, providing news, analysis and expert insight into the latest developments affecting the food industry in Europe and Worldwide. Members can share information and learn of sources of the most comprehensive and timely information on EU and World Food Law.
See how LinkedIn can be used
The coffee and beverage company Starbucks have a LinkedIn page with over 180, 000 followers. They use LinkedIn to promote new products, provide people with insight into the company and fill job vacancies.
Advantages of LinkedIn
- Appropriate for informal engagement with consumers if handled appropriately.
- Appropriate for interacting with interested parties.
- Good for defining who we are at a professional level.
- LinkedIn hosts many active communities of professionals where interesting discussions take place.
- Can support outreach to new audiences.
- LinkedIn groups can be effective channels for monitoring both content and tone or sentiment of discussion.
- Low cost
Disadvantages of LinkedIn
- In-appropriate for sensitive subjects if resources cannot be found to manage community discussions and needs.
- Handling complaints on social networking sites can be a problem or an opportunity.
- Necessary to actively engage in communication.
- High time & staff effort