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LinkedIn helps Big Issue vendors reconnect with customers online

Raising profiles’ campaign launches in partnership with LinkedIn

  • The Big Issue and LinkedIn have partnered to help the magazine’s sellers reconnect with customers after losing their livelihoods in the pandemic
  • LinkedIn supports the Big Issue vendors with training, building their digital skills and helping them find new opportunities
  • People can support The Big Issue vendors and buy their magazines on LinkedIn

The Big Issue (TBI) and LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, have partnered on a pilot scheme to support 9 of the magazine’s vendors who have lost their livelihoods and their sense of community as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Big Issue vendors taking part in the pilot, who are based all around the UK, have joined LinkedIn to find a new lifeline for their work, as they remain unable to sell the magazine during the latest national lockdown as high street footfall is much lower.

The 9 vendors have received specialist and bespoke training from LinkedIn to help them build their digital skills to reach an online customer base, find new opportunities, and engage with LinkedIn’s community of 30 million UK members. They have also received tablets donated from Dixons Carphone, the business behind Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse, to help them access their LinkedIn profiles and online training.

The vendors will be able to reach out to new and existing customers on LinkedIn to let them know that they can purchase a copy of The Big Issue digitally. Their profiles are all searchable on the platform through The Big Issue’s LinkedIn page.

Big Issue vendors run their own micro-businesses, buying copies of the magazine for £1.50 and selling to the public for £3, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income.

The partnership with LinkedIn aims to connect the vendors with the 30 million-strong network of UK professionals, giving them access to a platform which reinforces that they are working for a living, and allows them to increase their sales in the face of the ongoing challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic.

As we remain in national lockdown, and with footfall on the high streets of previously bustling cities and towns declining, The Big Issue and LinkedIn’s ambition is to onboard more vendors onto the scheme throughout the year.

Emma Ford, Big Issue vendor who usually sells the magazine in Victoria Station, London, said: “Covid-19 has affected me very badly. I haven’t had Covid-19 but it’s changed my life. It’s played with my mental health and has affected my confidence. I really hope the partnership with LinkedIn will help me a lot. We can’t sell the magazine now, so it’s amazing that we can sell online. We really need that income boost. No one knows what will happen, but any little help makes a big difference.”

Paul Cheal, Group CEO of The Big Issue Group, said:

“Covid-19 has changed everything for everyone, but its impact has been keenly felt at The Big Issue. All earning potential was stripped from our 1,700 regular vendors who made their living selling The Big Issue on the streets of the UK. Now, as we find ourselves in our third national lockdown and footfall on the high street likely to be almost non-existent for the foreseeable future, we are fully focused on empowering our vendors with the digital skills they need to connect with their customers.

“The partnership with LinkedIn, which we welcome wholeheartedly, will not only help the vendors sell their magazine again, it will ease the feeling of social isolation experienced over the past year, allowing them to reconnect with their customers and community.”

Josh Graff, UK Country Manager, LinkedIn says: 

“The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the livelihoods of Big Issue vendors and wreaked havoc on their ability to earn an income. We’re delighted that this pilot programme will give vendors a new, safe, and much needed opportunity to reconnect with customers and sell their magazines. We’re really excited about the potential of this scheme and hope that LinkedIn members across the UK also welcome the opportunity to buy from Big Issue vendors once again”. See Josh’s blog post on the campaign here.  

You can find out if your local vendor is on LinkedIn by visiting The Big Issue’s company page and searching for the vendors. Alternatively, you can support The Big Issue’s 100 Days of Action Appeal by buying a subscription from your vendor or by subscribing online at bigissue.com/support.