Realizing a need for a social media hub where women could network and discuss the issues that affect their careers, Citi teamed with LinkedIn to introduce a first-of-its-kind social networking community for professional women in April 2012 – Connect: Professional Women’s Network.
The Connect community, which has since grown to more than 240,000 members, immediately hit a nerve. It’s the fastest-growing and most active group on LinkedIn – and has inspired a movement of live events, where members have been organizing meet-ups across the country to grow their connections offline.
Lauded by press and industry experts, perhaps the best testament to the group’s success is the sense of community inspired among the members themselves. Paula N. writes, “Finding this group of intelligent, caring, positive women has been a gift.” For Citi, the reward has been the opportunity to be welcomed into consumers’ trust circle, through content and conversation that helps women on their path towards professional and financial success.
The origins of Citi’s Connect: Professional Women’s Network on LinkedIn were rooted in more than a decade of talking to women through Women & Co., Citi’s award-winning personal finance resource for women. It became clear that women were looking for new ways to network and move their careers forward – whether they have their eye on getting the corner office, starting their own business or reinventing themselves.
LinkedIn also recognized that women were underrepresented on its platform, and was looking for new ways to engage with a powerful, growing audience.
In April 2012, Citi launched the Connect: Professional Women’s Network on LinkedIn, and has been present in the conversation every day since, working side-by-side with LinkedIn to engage in conversations, start discussions, share insights and resources with members on the best ways to advance their careers and achieve their financial goals.
• With more than 240,000 members, Connect is the largest women’s group and the most active community on the LinkedIn platform, with members engaging in discussions and sharing conversations at a rate that’s twice the level of engagement per member of any other group on LinkedIn. Discussion threads regularly receive hundreds and thousands of comments, where conversation revolves around everything from the best advice you’ve ever received, which received almost 2,000 responses (http://lnkd.in/eAkZx9) to corporate buzzwords that drive members (http://lnkd.in/8Xp4GF).
• Connect has also inspired an exclusive video series for LinkedIn available on YouTube and SlideShare. The "Get Connected" video series features an elite group of high-profile entrepreneurs and executives who share career advice and life lessons with the group.
• Both LinkedIn and Citi regularly use the group's conversations to spark original content, including a SlideShare channel with resources for professional women on how to advance their careers (http://www.slideshare.net/Women_Connect); and regular blog posts from LinkedIn Influencers including Citi’s Linda Descano and LinkedIn’s Jacky Carter.
• After seeing a need in the group for expert advice to address members' frequent career questions, Connect launched a monthly "Expert in Residence" program in July 2013. A preview Q&A with negotiation expert Victoria Pynchon garnered more than 800K page views, and members came away from the live Q&A inspired with actionable advice to handle important conversations and obstacles in their careers. Other "Expert in Residence" sessions include mentoring, navigating career transitions, personal finances and networking.
• The strength of Connect members’ online connections and networks has also begun to generate momentum offline, inspiring dozens of meet-ups in major cities across the country, where members come together to exchange ideas on the best ways to move their careers and finances forward. The meet-up movement was also the inspiration for a series of “Power Your Progress” events hosted by Citi and Marie Claire magazine in Fall 2013, where hundreds of Connect members gathered in NY, LA and Chicago for panel discussions and networking with influencers who are changing the world for women in business.
• Connect has also become a leading resource for media covering career issues, with outlets like the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Forbes Woman, AOL Jobs and Business Insider regularly reporting on issues and insights uncovered within the group. The semi-annual Today’s Professional Woman Report, a joint survey released by Citi and LinkedIn based on insights from the Connect group, generated over 800 million earned impressions in 2013 alone.
Last – and most importantly – Connect has also driven an increase in key brand metrics among LinkedIn members exposed to Citi’s efforts, leading the bank to continue to expand on the content and resources it creates to help professional women achieve professional and financial success. In addition to these benefits, Citi has also seen improvements in how their brand is perceived and their company is seen as an employer.
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/LinkedInGetConnected?feature=watch SlideShare channel: http://www.slideshare.net/Women_Connect Linda Descano's Influencer page: https://www.linkedin.com/influencer/34334392 Jacky Carter's Influencer page: https://www.linkedin.com/influencer/30084557
Linda Descano, Managing Director, Head of Content & Social, Citi
Dawn McAvoy, Director, Partnerships & Branded Content, Citi
Catherine McManus, SVP Content & Social, Citi
Jacky Carter, Community Manager, LinkedIn
Jason Hammer, Account Executive, LinkedIn
Josh Zimmerman, Senior Account Manager, LinkedIn
Matthew Breinich, Digital Project Manager, LinkedIn
Sabrina Zahn, Senior Consultant, LinkedIn