Earlier today, we covered the launch of LinkedIn Talent Updates, a content sharing service which allows LinkedIn Recruiter customers the ability to post content outside of just sharing jobs directly from the LinkedIn Recruiter interface. LinkedIn’s broader commitment to content marketing was again underscored by the simultaneous release of “Showcase Pages” today.

While Talent Updates are available only to those employers with active LinkedIn Recruiter licenses, Showcase Pages are available to any company with a LinkedIn company page at no additional cost. Showcase Pages highlight specific areas like individual business units, consumer brands or initiatives, acting more or less like targeted microsites within the larger LinkedIn Company landing page.

“Showcase Pages give companies the opportunity to create subpages within company pages to highlight what’s important to them,” said Joe Roualdes, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications.  Roualdes recently sat down with RecruitingDaily to discuss Showcase Pages, Talent Updates and what content marketing really means for recruiting and hiring.

Microsoft_Office-Blog-Screenshot-988x1024LinkedIn Showcase Pages:

LinkedIn users can follow Showcase Pages using the same “follow” button as a regular company page, but specifically choose to follow with and engage the specific subpages that most interest them.  At launch, the specific push around Showcase Pages, Roualdes indicated, would be specifically on content marketing; by allowing increased segmentation of their LinkedIn followers, companies can build more highly relevant, highly targeted content marketing and engagement campaigns.

Showcase Pages, on the back end at least, seem to function almost identical to the legacy LinkedIn Company Page product; similarly, the company’s existing LinkedIn administrator must grant rights to post on a company page to individual users. The intent, says Roualdes, is to ensure content uniformity and consistency across both company and showcase pages while allowing companies to create engagement and conversation with their community.

While Showcase Pages are not yet embedded around specific jobs or job categories, somewhat limiting their applicability to recruiters, they still allow recruiters with backend access insight into the unique audience of each respective showcase page, allowing recruiters to find and engage with users around more specialized content, optimally turning a passive follower into a potential warm lead.

“The biggest benefit of Showcase Pages are that members can send our customers a very strong signal as to the types of content they’re most interested in,” Roualdes said.  “Before, we could see that users were interested in a company, but now we know much more clearly what kinds of content is the most interesting and relevant to them within a larger organization.”

LinkedIn Talent Updates

talent-updates-in-recruiterAs discussed in the earlier post, Talent Updates represent a complementary product focused specifically on helping recruiters update their company pages with careers related content directly from the Recruiter interface.  For the time being, however, recruiting end users must still revert to the traditional dashboard – and get a different set of administrative rights – to post to Showcase Pages.

Additionally, Talent Updates cannot be shared using the mobile version of LinkedIn Recruiter, a significant limitation, nor can this targeted content be cross posted to groups without leaving the Recruiter interface.  This might prove to somewhat negate the value of the unified UI/UX offered by Talent Updates, not to mention the value of its analytics or dashboard capabilities.

Talent Updates also allows recruiters to segment followers of the larger company page around demographic filters like company size, industry, function, geography and seniority to better target their content to a specific audience segment. “Instead of just sending e-mails with job opportunities, sharing meaningful content and creating meaningful conversations with candidates increase that initial response rate and ultimately, lead to hires,” Roualdes said.

Roualdes also touted the ability to engage and monitor conversations in real time as selling points for recruiters, which signals that LinkedIn is not only making a play to become a “professional publishing platform,” but will likely be making moves into the CRM and social monitoring/analytics market in the near future.  Today’s product launches seem to indicate the increased shift of LinkedIn away from recruiting and into traditional marketing automation and lead generation capabilities, not that there’s a significant distinction between the two competencies in practice.

Neither of these announcements was particularly exciting; for instance, one of the primary stated benefits of engaging with users on LinkedIn’s platform is to “get better insights into who followers actually are,” but let’s face it: these profiles are just as much a marketing vehicle for individuals as the company pages they’re engaging with.

Other platforms, like Facebook Open Graph search or federated search products like Dice Open Web or TalentBin offer similar, but more robust, capabilities to get a deeper understanding of a candidate’s cultural fit than LinkedIn because they incorporate information from across multiple sites and sources, rather than relying exclusively on a single platform.  It’s also ironic that LinkedIn’s recent content marketing play emphasize “authenticity,” something that LinkedIn sorely lacks when compared to other online networks.

“Be authentic – showcase your brand in an authentic way to give candidates and prospects the real information on what it’s really like to work at a company,” Roualdes advised when asked about best practices for content marketing on LinkedIn. “Develop your own content and be authentic, really gives candidates insight into what it’s like to work at your organization.”

That’s excellent advice, but if authenticity and transparency are the goals of your recruitment related content marketing initiatives, then you’d be wise to steer clear of LinkedIn, with its autocratic corporate controls and questionable privacy and data collection practices, altogether.

You won’t, of course.  Because that’s where the candidates are – and where, if you’re a LinkedIn Recruiter customer, at least, you’re already spending too much of your time and money sourcing candidates there to care too much about creating any type of “meaningful conversation” outside the realms of traditional screening and selection. And if they, in turn, care about what it’s really like to work at your company, they’re not going to trust the recruiters on LinkedIn, but rather, their connections who actually work there.

After all, that’s the entire point of a “professional network,” isn’t it?

By Matt Charney

Matt serves as Chief Content Officer and Global Thought Leadership Head for Allegis Global Solutions and is a partner for RecruitingDaily the industry leading online publication for Recruiting and HR Tech. With a unique background that includes HR, blogging and social media, Matt Charney is a key influencer in recruiting and a self-described “kick-butt marketing and communications professional.”