The Dilemma With LinkedIn Company Status Updates

In case you have missed the news, LinkedIn posted the following video on their blog regarding the new Company Status Update functionality:

As an individual who is a competitive intelligence researcher and a content strategist,  I really do not know what to think about it to a point it presents a dilemma for me.  In fact, it may pose a dilemma to others which use LinkedIn strategically.

Here is the dilemma:

From a defensive competitive intelligence point of view

Company Status Update functionality should be a real cause for concern.  As seen in the case in Hewlett Packard (Please read: “Hewlett-Packard Shows Hazard of Sharing LinkedIn Profiles“), individuals are prone to post information that competitors can easily gather and use strategically.  As a result, companies in their haste to engage potential clients in a business-to-business context may post strategic details (i.e., acquisition, partnerships, personnel changes) on their company status update for followers to read.

Of the companies that have a profile on the business social network, how many of them are aware that their competitors are following them for competitive intelligence purposes?

Some may say that a company status update is no different from a RSS feed with a press release.  Although a valid statement to make, the functionality does make it easier for companies to track activities of competitors by simply logging onto LinkedIn.

From a content strategy point of view

The functionality is ideal for content strategist that are seeking to engage their target audience in a very efficient manner by simply pushing content to followers.  Followers who select to follow a company based on their own respective needs, will be open to receiving the updates on their respective feeds on LinkedIn.  This is definite advantage in using LinkedIn versus Facebook due to the recent changes to Facebook in which the social network has changed what is presented on users’ feed based on a new algorithm.

Although the Company Status Update takes a broad and “shotgun” approach to engaging, one can argue that representatives of companies should update their own status to engage specific individuals in their network from a business-to-business perspective.  This approach will aid in identifying and qualifying potential leads in the future.

A possible solution to the dilemma: A strong social media policy

As stated in my previous posts regarding defensive competitive intelligence, social media and content strategy, competitive intelligence personnel should have a role in developing a strong social media policy.  The personnel can contribute their input in terms of what should be posted on LinkedIn Company Status Updates without divulging too much information to competitors.

Do you agree?

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