The portal world has given way to the platform era. But the old tricks of portals in courting advertisers are being learned by these new players.
Brands would often lead on portals to create all manner of content for them. You might not think of business network LinkedIn as a content creator, but it does have a wealth of data that brands want to use in order to form connections with their consumers. For Citi, that meant having LinkedIn build a new branded community for professional women.
“Some time ago we sat down and handpicked publishing partners that we want to work with to bring consumers more than we can do on our own,” said Vanessa Colella, managing director and head of North America marketing at Citi. “Citi has operated [the] Women & Co. [branded community portal] for about 12 years and we have a deep commitment to that. But we are also committed to provide tools, content and information in places where consumers are spending their time. Some people want to come to Citi to get that, and others may be looking for this on LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn’s data will help track what kind of content the members of Citi’s branded community prefer. Based on topics that are most discussed in the community, LinkedIn will create and aggregate existing online content that will resonate with members. Colella says that right now it is too early in the game to see exactly what type of data they will be able to dig up, but she’s sure that whatever it is, it will help foster engagement and dialogue within the community by channeling the correct content to members. Additionally, LinkedIn data will help Citi figure out which members of the community are most influential.
“We have a few different methods for deciding what is relevant,” said Alison Engle, marketing director at LinkedIn. “We evaluate the subjects trending on LinkedIn today and which topics are popular at what time of day. We also get pitches from various outlets with story ideas so we keep a pulse on what content is interesting and we look at the RSS feeds of members to also decide what people are thinking about at the moment. Through this data, we will be curating and also moderating content as well.”
Engle also said that LinkedIn will be guiding discussions and proposing topics, and all of this will be ruled by polls, which will be used as both an engagement vehicle and a way to gain insights.
Citi’s branded community features customized content around networking skills and tips on career advancement as well as access to the LinkedIn Today experience sponsored by Citi. LinkedIn will curate the content for the Connect Professional Women’s Network. Some content will also be integrated from Citi’s personal finance website for women, which is dedicated to helping women strengthen their financial futures.
The experience will also feature a monthly video series celebrating the inspirational success stories of influential women, which will give users the opportunity to share comments and insights and connect with featured professionals. The Citi destination on LinkedIn has Citi logos throughout and banner ads along the right-hand side for the Citi Premier Card and the Popmoney payment app by Citi.
Citi and LinkedIn are promoting the community through a number of tactics. Citi will initially use a combination of its social media presence, e-mails and e-newsletters to existing Citi customers, the Citi LinkedIn Company page, and links directing visitors to it from the Women & Co. site. At the same time, LinkedIn will be using editorial promotion, an e-mail to members, a customer video, and its social channels. Launching on Monday, the community now has 150 members.
“Success on social platforms is about being very targeted, and our platform gives Citi access to distinct audiences in the right context,” Engle said. “People want different things in different environments.”