The Tuesday Stack: LinkedIn for SMBs, AliBaba for Everyone

If you’re a small business or even a solo proprietor, you are one of an enormous group of 10 million currently using LinkedIn. Today, the business-oriented social platform announced a new feature to help you market your services. On profile pages, users for whom the service has been rolled out will be able too show they’re “open for business” by completing a form describing services offered.

On the other side of the coin, LinkedIn members will be able to filter their general searches to locate service providers. Users who have added descriptions of their services to their profiles will show up in the results. 

Initially, the feature will be available to small businesses and freelancers with Premium Business subscriptions in the U.S., but it will be more generally available to U.S. users in those categories in the fall.  There’s a waiting list to sign up here.

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For U.S. retailers, there are now two elephants in the room, as Alibaba opens its doors to U.S.-based sellers. Although Amazon’s eCommerce rival has a substantial number of U.S. buyers, more than 95 percent of sellers have hitherto been based in China. Unlike Amazon, Alibaba does not stock or warehouse its own, or third-party products; this pitch, primarily to small and local businesses, promises global selling reach for their inventories. Participation will require the payment of a membership fee to create an online store.

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And joke of the week, told last night at New York’s Paley Media Center, where an all-star panel was convened to discuss the trajectory of the popular Cannes Lions festival. Terry Kawaja of Luma Partners (indirectly responsible for giving us the marketing tech landscape) was there, along with Jonathan Miller of Integrated Media Company, and Michael Kassan, CEO of MediaLink, the company behind the festival.

The consensus was that the annual shindig for creative marketers had rejuvenated itself after several years of hard partying. Some companies were sending fewer people, but “the right people,” said Kassan, and although people were still raving late into the night, there were tangible signs they were getting up in the morning too: many more participants, for example, in an early morning charity run.

It was the difference between just being involved and being committed, which Kassan defined thus: “A plate of ham and eggs. The chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.”

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