- Hurray! I have one of the top 5% most viewed @LinkedIn profiles for 2012; and
The first message was driven by a LinkedIn (LNKD) campaign to notify owners of the 20 million most active profiles that theirs was among the "top 5%" or "top 10%" most-viewed profiles. Clicking the link brought you to a page which encouraged you to share this message over Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn:
Hurray! I have one of the top 5% most viewed @LinkedIn profiles for 2012. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/profile/0/066/72a
It's not the first time LinkedIn has taken this approach. In March of 2011, LinkedIn sent an email blast to many of its early adopters showing them that they had been among the first million users to sign up for the platform. For a week or so, we all saw many tweets boasting of users' early adopter status (for the record, I was user number 135,826).
There's nothing wrong with what LinkedIn is doing, but it does feel a little forced. And by the 4th or 5th time you see that message in your stream, it begins to feel a little spammy. And, of course, for those who bothered to do the math, being among the top 10% of LinkedIn's 200 million users doesn't really feel that special. But LinkedIn knows that rankings and gamification works, and they have been clever in getting users to promote their message.
This week also brought a marketing partnership between Twitter and American Express (AXP) aimed at testing out Twitter-based social commerce (TCommerce?). As you've no doubt seen and heard by now, users could link their Twitter account to their American Express account, then make purchases by tweet. To encourage users to try it, American Express offered a $25 gift card for $15 for those using the process.
Unlike the LinkedIn approach, where sharing the message was optional, users were required to tweet a message using a specific hashtag #BuyAmexGiftCard25 to start the transaction. This was the way that American Express could identify buyers, but it also clearly was used to promote the message to that users' social network. In order to complete the transaction, users needed to then link their card to their account, then tweet a final confirmation message including the hashtag #ConfirmAmexGiftCard25.
Using Twitter for commerce, and particularly mobile commerce, is interesting. You can tell that American Express was trying to emulate the simple approaches used for fundraising via text message. But the multi-step process felt a bit clunky. Part of that was due to the need to link a card with a Twitter account. I have to assume that the conversion rate, from those who tweeted the initial #BuyAmexGiftCard25 to actually completing the process was probably less than 50%. But apparently the offer is now sold out, so American Express must have achieved their targets.
Twitter and other social media platforms are clearly becoming more commercial. Innovative companies like LinkedIn and American Express will experiment - and that's all good. At the same time, companies will need to be careful not to appear too spammy, as a backlash can come quickly and is likely to spread more virally than the original message.