As a LinkedIn user you will be aware of the series of ‘Influencer’ blogs that welcome you as you log on. Since its launch, LinkedIn has restricted this feature to editorially selected “Influencers” such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Barack Obama who publish their thoughts and advice to the LinkedIn network as long-form blog posts. That’s soon to change as LinkedIn prepares to open up access to its publishing platform to all 277 million users on its network.
The company says the rollout is staged, with initial access arriving for some 25,000 English language users of LinkedIn, with a worldwide reach planned for a couple of months from today.
“One of our big, strategic bets for the company is for LinkedIn to become the definitive, professional publishing platform,” says Ryan Roslansky, Head of Content Products at LinkedIn. “We do this because we want LinkedIn to be the place where members can become productive, successful professionals – not just when you’re trying to find a job, or search for another person.”
Reading between the lines, LinkedIn acknowledges that it needs a hook to make it more of a daily, or at least weekly, destination for end users, rather than a place you go to update your resume when looking for work.
The company first launched its ‘Influencer’ network in 2013 with 150 thought leaders, and has since grown that to around 500.
Today, Influencer posts receive high amounts of traffic and see over 20,000 unique views, over 250 likes and 80 comments, on average.
Currently, LinkedIn’s publishing system lets the Influencers share text accompanied by images, with no limitations on word count. These posts are pushed out to the LinkedIn homepage, where featured items rotate between four top-level positions. The posts also appear in an email digest, in the flagship LinkedIn application and in the Pulse app (the news reader app that LinkedIn acquired last year).
For members who choose to participate, the posts will appear on their profiles where they will ‘live forever’ as a part of your professional identity. To reach those who can benefit from that knowledge, LinkedIn will tap into its understanding of users’ industry and interests to better target the right posts to the right people.
“One of the great things about LinkedIn is when you create a profile on LinkedIn, we know a lot about who you are, your industry, your function in your company, etc. – we have great insight into the interests you care about,” he says. So for example, if LinkedIn sees you’re a graphic designer and it sees a piece of content algorithmically trending on the subject of graphic design, it will make the match.
LinkedIn may be looking to deliver more personalised insights and increase user engagement, but what the end result will be remains to be seen. It can play out in a number of ways, but our money is on more sales patter and increased transparency for companies and job candidates.
[Source: LinkedIn; Pulse, Tech Crunch]