The delicious ongoing evolution of LinkedIn

LinkedIn Evolution

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I remember a time when LinkedIn was new.  Bear in mind, I came from a generation of kids that thought Myspace was the best thing invented.  Back in 2002, there were conversations condemning its future.

“It’ll never catch on.”

“Nobody wants a professional social media platform.”

Did you ever catch yourself saying something like this when you first found the platform?

And yet we obediently set up profiles.  For, when you think about it, all social media seemed like a flash in the pan idea.  The sort of thing that wasn’t taken seriously.  It’s potential not quite realised.

Within five years, everyone was taking it very seriously. And now it’s evolution is in hand.

LinkedIn redfuses to rest

It’s an ever-evolving entity

LinkedIn has become the social media platform that I spend most of my time on.  Possibly this is the same for any B2B marketing department.  Not that a B2C company cannot benefit from it.  It is the best way to grow brand awareness in front of possible customers and collaborators. 

The social giant has over 675 million monthly users, and is till evolving its platform.  Despite obvious uproarious success, LinkedIn has refused to rest upon its laurels.  It wants to improve the overall user experience for all its members.

Jeffrey Pugel was waxing lyrical about the many important changes that LinkedIn have made in recent times.  These changes all aimed at making sure the user experience is optimal for all their members.

So, for anyone who is unaware of the changes or are unsure how they will change your engagement, here is a look at how LinkedIn has evolved.

Storytelling skills

Let’s not dwell on those metrics

LinkedIn recently added something called “dwell time” to its arsenal of metrics.  Just as you might imagine, this calculates the length of time a LinkedIn user spends engaging with a specific post or its link.  Siddharth Dangi explains in his article Understanding dwell time to improve LinkedIn feed ranking:

“At a high level, each update viewed on the feed generates two types of dwell time. First, there is dwell time “on the feed,” which starts measuring when at least half of a feed update is visible as a member scrolls through their feed. Second, there is dwell time “after the click,” which is the time spent on content after clicking on an update in the feed.”

Andrew Hutchinson from SocialMediaToday expects this to change the ways in which content is created.  More specifically that the metric could see users stepping away from “Broetry” posts.  Whereas we can see the point being made here, you could also argue that the longer the post, the more time people will spend.

However, could it see a return of large chunks of text and essay-style posts?  Content writers could return to creating more detailed text to attempt to keep people focused on the same post for a longer period.  If that is the case, then writers should focus on their storytelling skills to increase user engagement.

Regardless of how the online community react to this element of the LinkedIn evolution, testing should be undertaken.  What can we do to keep people’s interest for longer on the same post?

Cut the waffle get your answers

Do we like polls?  [Yes] [No]

Arguably this feature has been a long time coming. The evolution of both  Facebook and Twitter have seen them running with this feature for a long time.  Brands have been reaching their customers and prospects with polls.  They increase brand engagement, and they enable you to learn important snippets of information from your audience.  It is the easiest way to allow your audience to feel that they can impact the way you operate as a brand.

So really, it is surprising that this feature is being rolled out so late. After all, this is 2020.

The polls themselves are easy to create. However, the options are limited.  You would be unable to create a cascading waterfall of nuanced answers to a wildly open question.  And you don’t have the space to write intricately complex choices.  What you have with LinkedIn Polls is the chance to right an extremely targeted question.

It’s the art of being succinct.

It’s the science of being direct.

Cut the waffle.  Get your answers.

Smaller polls are more attractive than the multiple-choice workbooks that you can create on Facebook pages.  The LinkedIn polls look short and easy to engage with.  It seems, at least as part of the LinkedIn evolution, simplicity is key.

LinkedIn Events

Another feature I am surprised only launched in 2020 was the LinkedIn Events.  It has long been a widely used feature on Facebook for businesses, musicians and even for announcing webinars.  As LinkedIn have built up their massive user-base, there has been a heavy emphasis on networking.

And what better way to organise online networking sessions than to make use of an events app.

During the time of the coronapocalypse this feature should really have been used more.  Creating awareness for online networking events and webinars has never been easier.  What was surprising, however, is how few people took the opportunity to use this function.

Our feeds should have been littered with invites to people delivering useful information.  But somehow it has been overlooked.  It is time to make use of this feature and create engaging events for your prospects.

LInkedIn emphasis on social

LinkedIn Stories

For some this wicked little slice of naughty hasn’t been rolled out yet.  But just like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn are creating a “stories” element of their social media platform.  Although this is not the first time they have dabbled with this sort of feature.  A couple of years ago, they created a feature called “Student Voices” just for university students in the U.S.

Much of how this newer, more professional, version of the ‘Stories’ element is left to conjecture until the roll out is complete.  However, this seems to be one of the bolder steps in LinkedIn’s evolution.   

It suggests a stronger emphasis on the word “social”.  It is a typical tool of the B2C world.  How this will translate to a professional world can only be left to analysis and conjecture.  Perhaps this will be a great tool for humanising business, and the people operating the businesses.

Thanks to the social networks that have gone before it, stories is a proven popular feature and can only increase the engagement of your prospects.

As would a live feature if LinkedIn thought about it…

Well funny you should mention that.

It turns out they are going to be rolling out a live feature, and with that you will be able to host virtual events.  During the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook live has been a useful tool for people to deliver webinars, host live music events and a wealth of other events.  And this can only be a good idea for LinkedIn’s evolution.

As the adage goes: “People buy from people and not brands”.

A Live feature will present an opportunity for people to be able advocate for their brand in real time.  And, whilst we are all still sitting at home unable to attend events, we can still deliver those killer speeches and proffering useful advice.

Wrapping up

LinkedIn’s evolution is deliciously ongoing, and it seems that the more they roll out, the more personal the entire platform is becoming.  There is a heavy focus on the individual.

Businesses should leverage the personal appeal and get behind these new features as they will only shine a spotlight on the expertise of their people and the trust that can be placed within brands.

If there is anything you would like to add or to discuss, please comment below.

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