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Wunderbar humblebrag: Deutsche Börse breaks LinkedIn

It’s rare that LinkedIn is either funny or truly engaging. But the comms team at Deutsche Börse proved themselves to Be More Ryanair last week.

In a post that was simply called, ‘whatever.’ the team pasted an image of in-house comms Oliver Frischemeier’s message to his intern Veera Dagbagli to sort out a recruitment post about a social media internship. And to ‘be creative’ about it.

The confidence, swagger and vibes were perhaps surprising from one of Germany’s most systemically important financial institutions, and it could have backfired. But LinkedIn loved it, and at 26,000 likes and 511 comments, the engagement rates were at Elon Musk proportions. It was amusing, but it also worked and was appropriate.

LinkedIn is the social media platform that tends towards the dry and corporate. Personal posturing is common. “We’re incredibly excited to announce…/So proud to work with this wonderful team!” is the usual M.O. That said, it’s an important part of the marketing mix especially as part of the employer brand and building senior networks of customers.

Digital marketing has accelerated during the pandemic and the Great Resignation driving uptake of LinkedIn’s other important function as a hiring tool means it now has 800 million users. But getting attention is becoming harder. Marketing and Comms teams must cut through to reach their audiences on the traditionally B2B platform, and evidence suggests B2C techniques of audience engagement are being increasingly used.

An even more august institution, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in a recent post about the ‘supervisory deadline for Libor contracts (not a subject, one would think that’s easily illustrated by a meme), posted this on LinkedIn, featuring Tina Fey from 30 Rock.

This trend is set to continue. As financial market influencers have been employing gifs and memes on their Twitter handles since the start of the pandemic, presumably in a bid to get more ‘retail’ which is a big trend after the GameStop short position blew up on Reddit, we are likely to see more of this action on LinkedIn.

There’s more pressure on comms teams to convince people with short attention spans – your staff, the media, your customers and investors with fresh content amongst all the corporate noise. The upsides are clear – it’s a great way to get eyeballs on your point of view, your values, and your accomplishments.

Getting the tone right on corporate social media is a tricky business and needs good judgement, and a supportive management team. But a more approachable, less formal voice serves companies well. We are all human after all, even on LinkedIn.