The Big Issue partners LinkedIn to help vendors keep selling during pandemic

Many magazine vendors have lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic, but LinkedIn partnership gives them access to a bigger platform online.

The Big Issue: campaign created by FCB Inferno
The Big Issue: campaign created by FCB Inferno

The Big Issue has teamed up with LinkedIn to support the magazine’s sellers whose livelihoods have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The campaign, created by FCB Inferno, will use LinkedIn’s network to offer support, such as training, skills development or new job opportunities, to The Big Issue vendors. The partnership will give the participants access to a professional platform and aim to help them increase their sales amid the Covid crisis. 

Sellers of The Big Issue run their own micro-businesses by buying copies of the magazine for £1.50 each and selling them to the public for £3, through a scheme allowing those from disadvantaged backgrounds to earn a legitimate income. But during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, many have been unable to make a living this way. 

Nine vendors are taking part in the pilot scheme with LinkedIn, with The Big Issue aiming to add more people to the programme throughout the year. 

Through the partnership, the sellers have received specialist training from LinkedIn volunteers to help them build their confidence and reach an online customer base, engage with a wider community and find additional opportunities. They have also been taught best practices for disseminating news and stories from the magazine, and received tablets donated by Dixons Carphone to help them access their online profiles and training. 

The participants’ profiles will be searchable on the platform through The Big Issue’s LinkedIn page, and people will be able to discover those who previously had a pitch near their place of work or to purchase copies of the magazine from them digitally. 

The campaign was created by Francesca Ferracini and Alice Teruzzi.

Paul Cheal, group chief executive of The Big Issue Group, said: “Covid-19 has changed everything for everyone, but its impact has been keenly felt at The Big Issue. All earning potential was stripped from our 1,700 regular vendors who made their living selling The Big Issue on the streets of the UK. 

“Now, as we find ourselves in our third national lockdown and with high streets likely to be quieter for the foreseeable future, we are fully focused on empowering our vendors with the digital skills they need to connect with their customers online. 

“The partnership with LinkedIn, which we welcome wholeheartedly, will not only help the vendors sell their magazine again, it will ease the feeling of social isolation experienced over the past year, allowing them to reconnect with their customers and community.”

FCB Inferno has previously helped The Big Issue by creating the six-year-old campaign “Change please”, which trains vendors as baristas to run coffee carts; “Pay it forward”, a resellable magazine powered by digital bank Monzo; and the “Remember me” Christmas appeal. 

Owen Lee, chief creative officer of FCB Inferno, added: “Helping the vendors reconnect with customers on LinkedIn is an unexpected, yet totally logical, idea, and a great way to remind people that the vendors are still out there, even if they can’t see them on their familiar streets.”

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