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Linkedin features in China

Daxue Talks transcript #82: Can you access LinkedIn behind the firewall in China?

Linkedin features in China

Find here Daxue Talks 82. In this China business vlog, Julien Sicard and Tamar Hela from LinkedIn Local Asia (Shanghai) provide their insights on censorship in China and how top HR and headhunters utilize LinkedIn, one of the very few western social network platforms accessible in the local market.

Full transcript below:

What different regulations does LinkedIn China face that the West doesn’t?

There are some features not available. For instance, the native video doesn’t comply with the government regulations so LinkedIn was really smart and said okay we won’t have video. However, I do notice people will post at least a link to let’s say a YouTube video or Youku and you can at least see the preview for it, however, you won’t be playing and video unless you have a VPN on. 

The other thing that they took away last year and this is something I agree with because there’s a lot of people who want to take advantage of others here, so they do a lot of scams and a lot of scams are happening with job postings. Unfortunately, even though it’s such a great feature elsewhere, especially in the West – lots of people still do use LinkedIn to find a job or connect with head-hunters, they took away the job description posting feature which really bummed out a lot of people here. However, there are some ways to get around it. I mean I’ve seen people be really clever and creative and make a beautiful graphic and it’s actually a job post and then they post it personally or a lot of HR or head-hunters have gotten really creative, really massively grown their networks here within China, especially someone we know who is in our community as an executive head-hunter, he only focuses on C-level kind of people, so he just uses his network and comments on posts and posts content to show his expertise. So, I think in a way people who have taken advantage of this and built a thought leadership about their expertise, as far as it really is just for jobs in China – that’s how they’ve gotten around it, but not everyone has done that. So, Julian and I definitely get a lot of questions from people still about how to find a job in China using LinkedIn and you have to be really creative.

The other thing that’s not available but for us is not a big deal is events. LinkedIn will adopt this event posting feature and again it just doesn’t align with the regulations that the government here would like, therefore it’s not an available feature unless you have a VPN on. Also, they just relaunched Polls, and that’s not available here either but you have to think about it this way – if all 56 million users here in China are used to not having those features, it’s not a huge loss. So, again the most important part is educating people how to use LinkedIn in general before you get to all the bells and whistles and it really is focusing on growing and expanding your network and also increasing your inbound marketing plan by posting content consistently sharing your expertise.

How does censorship apply on LinkedIn China?

For example, for people that express this kind of political opinion in China, you don’t see it, so yeah there is censorship and this is abused. I mean, you know when you are a foreigner you have to be aligned on what we expect from you but yeah – for the rest of the topic you are free to share your opinion. Recently I would say because of the ongoing crisis, I mean it’s even rare that it was abused, that you cannot see on your LinkedIn feed – if your VPN is not turned on. But except that, if things are relatively freedom of expression, I didn’t see some pandemic content was posted, but yeah, what could affect again the central government is definitely not shown on LinkedIn and I think it was part of the deal right because LinkedIn its owned by Microsoft and definitely I think I don’t know how but, obviously, to be authorized like other social platforms like Facebook didn’t have this right, I think part of the deal was okay – you have to censor this kind of content and give us details of the user anyway – we know how it works here.

How can users integrate their LinkedIn traffic with WeChat or drive LinkedIn traffic to local Chinese platforms?

Like everything in WeChat, you have a feature that allows you to integrate your WeChat directly on LinkedIn. This is very useful because obviously, you don’t have to stay in the platform because you have to envision that LinkedIn it’s really the first entrance, but you want to drive people into a more convenient environment and here in China it’s obviously WeChat. I mean people spend the majority of their time on WeChat so there are many ways.

First act is obviously share the QR code. If you take a look on my banner its written “scan me now” on WeChat and there is my big QR code, and it works. Some people just add me that way and I’m like – okay – oh no! I just seen your WeChat QR code on your LinkedIn banner, means that that worked.

The other way is obviously when you share a sequence of messages. Again, even on the second message you can say – hey, thank you Linda, well I think that would me more great if we can keep in touch on WeChat, here is mine – and people just add you right away. I have many examples, like last week some marketing director of a car chain here in China just added me right away. So, here is my advice for taking advantage, it’s again definitely if you’re in China – just don’t ever think – okay the person is important or whatever, almost everyone – I mean 99% of people, when you just write your WeChat, they are going to add you. So it’s very, very powerful and it’s also observed in lead generation strategy definitely, you have to drive them here in China from LinkedIn to WeChat, then take them through the phone, get a call and after if its pursued well yeah maybe to see them face to face through Zoom. I think the integration again with Chinese social media where we don’t say – you can drive them to TikTok, well I try many times you know, try to drive the traffic let’s say from LinkedIn to Instagram, but again you have to keep that in mind. I mean like the audience is not an audience you could drive to Weibo, it’s not an audience that you could drive to TikTok, cause people they have money. Sorry for saying that, but for me Facebook is definitely a place for the peasants and LinkedIn it’s not – LinkedIn is a place where the audience they have money, its highly educated. I mean if you really want to have a return on investment in driving the traffic from LinkedIn, it’s going to be definitely WeChat.

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