LinkedIn is expanding its business model to include a education component with the release of the LinkedIn University Pages.
A Higher Education
As with other social networks, LinkedIn has been adding new features to its site, but it is still primarily focused job openings, employee and business profiles. As a result, the site isn't very relevant to a key demographic: students.
According to Christina Allen, LinkedIn’s director of product management this is changing with the launch of LinkedIn’s University Pages. It's a feature that aims to help students connect and network before choosing a college or university, which LinkedIn believes will help these students choose the right school and career.
Hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world,” wrote Allen. “If harnessed, these insights could provide incredible value for students – helping them explore possible futures and build a support network to help them succeed on campus and beyond.”
University page members will receive updates about the school, be able to ask questions and connect with staff, alumni and current students. Along with this, potential students will be able to browse schools from around the world and see where a particular school’s alumni are currently working.
To accommodate this feature, LinkedIn will become available to high school students on September 12. Universities and colleges that already have pages include New York University, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, The University of California San Diego and the University of Illinois.
Expanding its Membership
The decision to add a university component seems to be a good one. Many reports find that LinkedIn has the capabilities to make the transition from high school to university easier.
The service is a useful recruiting tool to help prospective students better assess their academic options,” wrote Ken Yeung. “Furthermore, it’s a helpful tool in making sure that alumni are not only kept abreast of what their alma mater is doing, but so that the school knows how to reach its previous students for help.”
According to Scott Martin, this also shows that LinkedIn isn't just a ‘niche’ network and that it can cater to different demographics.
University Pages could drive a new audience to LinkedIn and create a specialty category with appeal to social-networking-savvy younger audiences facing an ever more competitive educational landscape,” he wrote.