LinkedIn Today: The next big social tool?

LinkedIn announced the launch of LinkedIn Today last week, their new daily digital newspaper. It's still too soon to say for sure, but I predict this will quickly become one of the major tools for social media marketing.

In a nutshell, LinkedIn Today is a cross between a news aggregator and a social bookmarking site. It brings you the top daily stories from selected categories (and recommends new categories based on user profiles); more importantly for our purposes, it draws those stories from articles shared by your contacts.

Suppose you connect with me on LinkedIn. If I share an interesting article about QR codes it will show up on your LinkedIn Today page. Since I work in the construction and marketing industries, it could also show up on the page of anyone interested in those industries. If they read the article and share it with their contacts, it will spread even further. And if, several iterations down the line, someone wants to know who originally posted this article, they can view its history and all the conversations happening about it.

Which means you want articles about your company and products appearing there. Best way to make that happen? Get active on LinkedIn yourself, and be sure you have a "Share on LinkedIn" button on all your posts, articles, and webpages.

Social bookmarking sites, such as Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon, never really caught on for business use. The content on those sites tends to be decidedly NSFW (Not Safe For Work), so they never built a critical mass of professional users. LinkedIn, by contrast, is starting with that critical mass. Architects are already gathering to discuss the latest building products and get their questions answered, which means they are very likely to share interesting articles, and read those shared by their contacts.

I will be experimenting with the system in the coming days and share my observations. When you start using it, let me know about your experiences, and share any interesting lessons learned.