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Want to Influence Public Policy? Engage on LinkedIn

Since its inception, most professionals have utilized LinkedIn as platform for career development, networking, finding that next job, or filling an open position. New data from the National Journal’s Washington In the Information Age Report (WIA Report) reveals that it may be developing a significant new function.

For the first time in the report’s five-year history, LinkedIn outpaced Facebook as the most adopted social platform among Washington D.C. insiders. Granted, this is the same group that called Twitter “pointless babble” and a “passing fad” in the 2009 WIA Report. But this trend is different. This time, Washington influentials are not years behind in adopting a trend. They are at the front lines of defining how we use an established social medium in a new way. LinkedIn’s increasing ability to put your organization, and your public policy goals, in front of key D.C. decision makers is what matters here.

The key takeaways are two-fold. First, understanding how to harness LinkedIn networks for social advocacy campaigns is both art and science. Those that treat all social mediums the same way (and post the same content across all networks) fundamentally do not understand digital communications or grassroots. Second, building thought leadership takes time. Those seeking to penetrate regulatory and legislative communities or encourage audiences to help sway their perceptions need to establish a LinkedIn persona with care. The potential of LinkedIn with its burgeoning self-publishing tools as an advocacy medium is great. With the right strategic plan, any organization can and should make the case that LinkedIn is worthy of dedicated resources for issue advocacy.

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