Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Barack Obama — to date, these have been the people (along with an exclusive group of LinkedIn Influencers) who have been able to share their thoughts and insights through the LinkedIn publishing platform.

But this week, LinkedIn has opened its platform to the public, introducing a new way to promote your personal brand on LinkedIn.

Read about this top story, and find out how Facebook is hoping to improve its advertising platform in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. LinkedIn opens its publisher platform to all members

LinkedIn opened its publishing platform this week, giving all LinkedIn users the ability the publish long-form content on the social network.

Now, LinkedIn users will see a pencil icon in the top right of their Share Box, which will open up a compose screen for users to create and edit their post. Once a user publishes a piece of content, it will become part of their LinkedIn profile and will be visible to the public.

Bottom Line: The LinkedIn publishing platform has seen some great results since its launch in 2013. According to LinkedIn, published content on LinkedIn generates an average of nearly 31,000 views and more than 80 comments.

By opening this tool to the public, LinkedIn is introducing a new way for professionals to create and share content on the site. If you’re already using LinkedIn to build relationships, this is a great opportunity to engage your audience, and showcase your expertise. If you haven’t been using LinkedIn, this could be the perfect opportunity to get started.

It’s important to note that with this update, LinkedIn will see an increase of user-generated content on the site. Focusing on creating high-quality content that is relevant to the people you’re trying to reach will be the best way to standout.

2. Facebook introduces new targeting options for ads

Facebook introduced a new targeting feature called Core Audiences, which will allow business pages to target ads based on location, demographic, interests, and behaviors.

Here’s a breakdown of what these options mean for marketers:

  • Location: For businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, targeting based on location will help you reach the right audience. This has been part of Facebook’s ad tool for awhile, but will now offer more flexibility, including the ability to exclude certain areas.
  • Demographic: Facebook will use the data it has collected about job status, relationship status, age, and gender to help marketers reach the right audience.
  • Interests: This is another feature that has been available in the past, but Facebook will be providing a new level of precision. Rather than choosing broad categories, Facebook will allow you to target based on keywords and will pull in people who have liked or expressed interest in a particular topic.
  • Behaviors: This is a new category for Facebook ads. It will target users based on things they have purchased, and the devices they use to do it.

Bottom Line: When it comes to using Facebook to promote your business, being able to reach the right audience is crucial for your success. This is true when it comes to your regular posts, but is especially important when you’re paying to promote your content.

If you’ve been on the fence about investing in Facebook Ads, now might be a good time to start. Your initial investment doesn’t need to be huge, but will allow you to get comfortable with the tools Facebook has to offer, and learn more about how paid advertising could fit into your strategy.

Learn more about how targeting your social media content by location can help improve your results.

3. Brands see high engagement on Instagram

According to new research from L2 Think Tank, brands are seeing higher levels of engagement on Instagram than on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The report, which looked at data from nearly 250 popular brands, found that despite having a smaller user base, brands are seeing 15 times higher engagement rates on Instagram than on Facebook.

Of the brands surveyed, 90 percent had an active presence on both Instagram and Facebook.

Bottom Line: More brands are recognizing the value of using Instagram as a platform for engagement, rather than just a tool for creating content. If you’ve been considering using Instagram for your business or organization, we have the resources to help you get started:

Are you planning on using the LinkedIn publishing platform? Let us know in the comments below.