'It's all about being human' says LinkedIn's Peter Maxmin as it hits 20m UK members

As LinkedIn celebrates its 20 millionth UK member, Rebecca Coleman talks to the professional network's head of consumer marketing Peter Maxmin about the challenges and opportunities of having such a vast audience at his fingertips.

'It's all about being human' says LinkedIn's Peter Maxmin as it hits 20m UK members

LinkedIn has announced that it now boasts 20 million UK members. With a brand mission to "connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful", Maxmin has a clear cut brand purpose to market, however is it really possible to live up to this promise for 20 million people? He believes this is central to his job as marketer at the network.

We’re having an impact on a huge number of people’s careers

"We are very proud and excited that we’re about to reach 20 million users and that equates to more than half of the UK’s working population.

"So we’re having an impact on a huge number of people’s careers which is fantastic," explains Maxmin.

Rather than traditional demographics he tends to use job function or career stage as a means to target consumers and make communications feel more personal.

One of the most important target groups for LinkedIn is students, for example. Just starting out on their career path, these young adults simply need to be convinced of the potential power of making online connections and a strong profile on LinkedIn.

Real human stories key to engagement

A big part of Maxmin’s job is encouraging member sign up and then keeping those members engaged so that they regularly visit the site. He believes this is achieved through making LinkedIn seem "human and approachable". With this in mind, real member stories are central to marketing strategy.

Initiatives such as "Bring in your parents day" - which saw LinkedIn users being accompanied to their workplace by mums and dads, mainly in a bid to get them to understand exactly what it is their children do for a living - and video content featuring LinkedIn success stories, help to bring this human element to life.

We want to show people how members have built their careers; things that have happened to them just because of being on LinkedIn

Today sees the launch of a new campaign called "Power Profiles", part of LinkedIn’s celebration of hitting the 20 million member mark. It will include an awards ceremony and content detailing winners’ rise to success and the role of the professional network in helping them to achieve their goals.

"From our perspective it’s about asking how do we show those stories around how members have benefitted each other," says Maxmin. "We want to show people how members have built their careers; things that have happened to them just because of being on LinkedIn."

He believes this is especially effective when talking to millennials and students: "They’re a very peer driven age group. Something happens to someone else, and it inspires them to try the same things. Hence the focus on having members tell our story. That’s really important in what we’re doing."

More personal than personalised

Another great part of Maxmin’s role must be the wealth of data he has at his fingertips, with every member more than willing to share their CVs, locations and opinions.

However, when asked if they use any tools to hyper-personalise the experience, he tells me that it’s more a case of being personal than personalised.

Linkedin is an incredibly personal service. We just try to reflect that in our marketing

"Linkedin is an incredibly personal service," says Maxmin. "What you’re looking at on the site is your network and your profile. We just try to reflect the personal nature in our marketing."

For this senior marketer, it’s seemingly all about inspiring people. Maxmin is passionate about the the purpose behind LinkedIn. "When members think about it, work is such a large part of their lives, they spend so much time there and it’s so important to their success and their vision of themselves," he says.

"The stories we can tell about our members, whether it’s finding that dream job or connecting with someone and getting funding for a new business so they can work remotely, all of those are things when we play them back to people are inherently emotional and we definitely, from a marketing perspective, see ourselves as having a really strong connection with our members."

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