We recently received a question through our Contact Us page from a tech transfer professional in Scandinavia looking to make LinkedIn® an active part of his TTO’s activities. The inquiry concerned whether TTOs are posting technologies on LinkedIn, not merely pointing to the TTO’s own website. I figured my answer might be useful to our blog readers, so I’m sharing it here today.
The short answer is: Yes, TTOs are posting their technologies on LinkedIn, which we believe is a good venue for marketing intellectual property (IP). Below are examples from Johns Hopkins University…
… and from and the University of Michigan.
In both cases, the technology postings appear as discussions in these TTOs’ own LinkedIn groups. I have seen groups for the technology transfer offices at the University of Florida, Penn State, and the University of Utah, although I’m sure there are others. (Let us know about yours by posting a comment below.) As their various profiles indicate, these groups are intended to connect industry, entrepreneurs, innovators, and others to their institution’s technologies and research.
Most of the TTO groups I’ve seen are Members-Only groups, which require people to join in order to see the discussions. That request then needs to be approved by the group manager (unless the group’s settings are for auto-join). So I was able to take the above screenshots because I am a member of those two groups.
In December 2010, LinkedIn began offering an Open group option, which has some advantages over Members-Only groups when it comes to marketing technologies. In Open groups, nonmembers can view, like, and comment on the discussions without having to formally join the group. In addition to appearing on LinkedIn, all discussions in Open groups can be viewed by anyone on the Web, are picked up by search engines, and can be shared via other social networking platforms. LinkedIn offers information about the differences between Members-Only Groups and Open Groups as well as instructions for converting a Members-Only Group to an Open Group.
University of Virginia Innovation is an example of an Open Group. I had Fuentek’s Nancy Pekar take the screenshot below (since I am already a member of the U.Va group) so you can see what a nonmember sees. Notice that it says, “You can already comment and like these discussions.”
The University of Maryland Office of Technology Transfer is another example of an Open group. This is what the group’s landing page looks like when someone is not even logged in to LinkedIn.
Even better for IP marketing on LinkedIn is to post the technology in groups that would be interested in licensing the technology. In this approach, you are going to them rather than hoping that they run across you.
Here is an example we posted in a polyimide group to promote a client’s colorless polyimide technology. Note that this appeared in a Members-Only group; in some cases, you need to ask to join the relevant group before you can post a technology there.
BTW, if you’re wondering why I used a Bit.ly URL as the link, see this post about social media metrics.
Of course, LinkedIn isn’t the only free option for posting your technologies on sites other than your own. If you are a member of the Association of University Technology Managers®, you can post technologies for free on AUTM’s Global Technology Portal, which can be searched for free by non-members. And Flintbox is also free, with no membership required.
What are your experiences with posting technologies on LinkedIn? Post a comment below or send me a private message. And check out our webinar and other insights on using social media tools for technology transfer.
And BTW if you are a current LinkedIn user, you may want to change your password since they are the latest organization to fall prey to hackers.