LinkedIn introduces direct messaging feature

Marketers who use the networking website to target potential customers should consider LinkedIn’s latest offering. Here’s how it works.

LinkedIn is expanding its options for social media marketers.

Sponsored InMail, a feature that allows brand managers to send a direct message to a chosen user subset, will now be available to all advertisers.

LinkedIn users could start to see unsolicited messages in your LinkedIn message folder or regular email inbox—depending on your settings.

LinkedIn piloted the new feature in August, and will roll it out generally to branded accounts immediately. InMail lets marketers to target users by job title, seniority, location and several other demographic criteria. If you’re selected, they can send you direct sponsored messages.

A LinkedIn rep told TechCrunch that open rates hovered around 45 percent and click-thru rates were around 47 percent.

Calls to action are expected to drive these sponsored messages (event registration, content downloads, etc.).

What remains to be seen is whether users will respond favorably or negatively to the ads. There’s good news for users on this front. Members can only receive one sponsored InMail message every 60 days.

The move marks a trend among social media platforms in which they’re starting to allow marketers to use direct messaging features to offer goods and services. For Microsoft, which acquired LinkedIn earlier this year in a $26.2 billion deal, it marks an added revenue stream.

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