Link Building for Little Guys

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Nishant Rao, CEO, LinkedIn India, talks about the usefulness of LinkedIn for small business, and how one can build a business more robustly through this platform in an exclusive interaction with Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur India
Nishant Rao, CEO, LinkedIn India

How does LinkedIn find a ‘Make in India’ connect?

We make sure that right kind of skill matching is happening. There is a gap in manpower’s demand and supply. We need more manpower. As everybody is unique, and based on your strengths we could tell you what career path is suitable for you. That’s one aspect where LinkedIn can help Make in India. Digital part of Make in India is about helping companies hire marketing cell.

Digital to me gives you scale. So if we can help any of these companies whether it is from health care, manufacturing, engineering or services, to actually hire right talent, they get their marketing messages exactly out to right people. LinkedIn is the only platform where you know whom you are going to reach. It’s first party information being distributed.

How LinkedIn is changing its image of being just a career enhancing tool?

Right now, it’s focused on professionals but genuinely broader vision is to create economic opportunity for working people. On our platform, a person usually comes for two things: knowledge and opportunity. Knowledge has to do with content. There is seven times more content on the site than jobs.

We have tons of knowledge. We have influencers like Swati Piramal, and Prime Minister Modi himself writes on the platform sharing his expertise and experience. We have millions of groups on the platform. The perception of being a platform for people and jobs was created around four years ago, which is right. However, now knowledge and opportunity is what actually happening on the platform.

Tell us about the influencer programme.

We have an influencer programme where there are figures like Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Nandan Nilekani, Kunal Bahl and Sachin Bansal actively participating, and we are going to add more. Now we opened it up as a publishing platform for everyone; so any of us who can write in English can publish on our platform and people can follow us. Hence this blogging aspect of us has been opened for around seven or eight months now and we hit a million unique publisher and we are seeing 130,000 unique posts every week that are being used on the platform. So this kind of scale we are actually seeing.

How is LinkedIn serving as the SME platform?

There is a ton of SMEs on the platform, and if I think about the core value proposition in transforming how they hire and sell that’s actually happening at scale. So SMEs are one of the fastest growing segments for us in terms of our hiring solutions products and marketing solutions. You don’t have to be a big guy to spend tons to put your message out there. We have equalised the playing field. So, lots of SMEs are using the platform to grow by getting opportunities and customers.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (October, 2015 Issue).