Audience Engagement Platforms Top Stories
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How Harvard Business Review harnessed LinkedIn to become its most powerful social media channel

Harvard Business Review has 13M followers on LinkedIn, built up through the sharing of up-to-date news as well as the careful curation of archived content. Such has been the success of HBR’s LinkedIn outreach, it has launched its own TV channel on the platform.

The show “The New World of Work” has HBR’s Editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius interviewing top-tier executives about how they see the future of work – and how their companies are meeting the challenges of a post-pandemic workplace. 

The debut interview had Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella discussing what work will look like going forward, in terms of the war for talent, the next generation of workplace technology, and the new imperatives of leadership. The next one featured former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson appears on 11/10. 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on “The New World of Work”

This ambitious initiative flows out of the substantial growth and engagement HBR has seen on the platform. LinkedIn is a “huge channel” for the publisher. Its LinkedIn group, created in 2010, currently has 2M members (plus 13M following its page as mentioned above). 

The biggest strategic shift

Sharing a mix of fresh and archive content, and highlighting strong insights or stats has been its key growth strategy on the platform, Kelsey Gripenstraw, Audience Engagement Editor, HBR tells WNIP. 

The group has HBR editors and authors sharing its content and projects through their own profiles. These pieces are used to spark discussion around various topics and give the community a chance to speak directly with the people behind HBR.

“We use the platform to provide readers with key takeaways,” she explains. “Even if people don’t click through to the article. So, no matter the level of engagement, every audience member can learn something new.”

The biggest strategic shift was emphasizing HBR archive. I’ve curated a massive archive list of HBR classics and high-performing articles, in terms of both traffic and social engagement. We share that archive on LinkedIn, in addition to new daily articles and one-off bursts of handpicked archive that feels relevant at the time.

Kelsey Gripenstraw, Audience Engagement Editor, HBR

“Our success…has a lot to do with relevance and timeliness”

The publisher continues to experiment with new initiatives, the “The New World of Work,” being one of them. Not all are successful – a feature resembling a Twitter chat on LinkedIn didn’t see much engagement.  

“It’s a collaborative effort across departments,” says Gripenstraw. “On the editorial side, we have a two-person audience team with a heavy focus on LinkedIn, and over the years, several editors have pitched in on various projects.” 

Posts are scheduled throughout the day and night. This is important as HBR has a global audience with 41% of its paid print circulation being outside the US. The channel is moderated daily and the team makes itself available for large crowd-focused events like LinkedIn Live.

“Work to understand your audience and highlight what you believe will resonate most,” suggests Gripenstraw for publishers looking to grow audiences on the platform. 

“Find the most interesting nuggets in your content and focus your LinkedIn posts on those. But it’s all about having great content — of course, our articles align well with what people are looking for on the platform, so our success, admittedly, has a lot to do with relevance and timeliness.” 

Kelsey Gripenstraw, Audience Engagement Editor, HBR