A large number of media outlets; magazines, newspapers and web sites have busily worked their way through linkedin groups to spread their gospel and attract readers.
However, there’s been a bit of a backlash to the publication of links to subscriber only content on linkedin groups recently and it’s hard not to wonder if publishers should reconsider using them as a marketing medium. Is it worth the potential online aggro?
For example, the Lloyd’s of London linkedin group is not affiliated to the market itself, but has around 2000 members and was until recently a home for regular news story posts from the insurance newspaper Insurance Day, as well as appropriate content from Post Magazine also with the latter tending to circulate its free breaking news content instead.
However, a discussion thread during November resulted in an apology from Insurance Day regarding the posting of subscriber-only links. One group member specifically called for ID to stop posting links and five or six ‘and me’ comments ensued until one of ID’s staff confirmed they would no longer post up the connections.
I would wager that this isn’t an isolated incident and linkedin’s growth during 2010 has proven it is a powerful medium for discussion and comment; yes there’s a body of opinion that says they are just jobs boards but until only a few years ago, every newspaper and trade publication in the world gave over dozens of pages in their classifieds to situations vacant. Recruitment ‘discussions’ on linkedin groups is just an example of a market looking for a home which the network hasn’t successfully monetised yet.
If subscriber only publications want to entice new readers to their sites and portals, they do risk alienating some readers by posting links up for their paid for content. This is an important concern, if not for the initial grief caused, then for the fact said grief remains ‘shared’ and very public in the group’s discussion pages until someone demands it is removed from view.
To its credit Insurance Day has already begun to vary its content links through the Lloyd’s of London group, today posting video shared on youtube which for a social media audience that dislikes paywalls and obstacles can only be a step in the right direction.