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LinkedIn Following in Facebook’s Footsteps?

People are pretty familiar with Facebook’s “Like” button, especially when it comes to company pages. Now, LinkedIn, which has long been known as a great job search tool, is jumping on the bandwagon and making it easier for businesses to interact with customers, colleagues and prospects by offering them a “Follow” button to put on their pages right next to the “Share” button. Supposedly, this move sets up LinkedIn to become a social media site that’s as effective a tool for marketing as it is for job seeking.

In the past, when someone visited a company’s LinkedIn page, it was usually all about business. That’s not necessarily going to be the case from now on. Business professionals are also consumers, and some might enjoy the convenience of being able to network, connect with colleagues and interact with their favorite brands all in the same place, rather than having to go to Facebook.

The LinkedIn Follow button works in the same way as Facebook’s Like button in that the moment a person, who is already logged in to LinkedIn, clicks on the Follow button, he is subscribed to that company’s updates, which will show up his home page. The new button’s debut was announced on LinkedIn’s blog on Feb. 27. Already, large enterprises like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the Coca-Cola Company have added the Follow button to their pages. Savvy small- and mid-size business owners have probably done the same.

Maybe LinkedIn did introduce its new Follow button so it could position itself as a social media website for marketing. But it’s still an excellent tool for job searching, and the new button will make it easier for job seekers to keep up with what’s going in those companies for which they are most eager to work.

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