LinkedIn turns 18 with a whirlwind of updates

Once again, Sue Parker demystifies the latest LinkedIn updates, outlining what will be relevant for marketers.

LinkedIn turned 18 in May. In the human world, turning 18 ushers in new rights and joys including a seat at the pub and a ballot paper at the voting booth. Being given a vote in our democracy is important. It’s also meaningful that every LinkedIn member is likewise given a voice via content curation and engagement.

Change, transformation and experimentation at whirlwind speeds are hallmarks of teenagers traversing into adulthood. Simultaneously LinkedIn test and evolve tremendously, often without much notice or explanation. Just as we navigated the 2020 changes there is a plethora of new features and updates to digest.

Many of the 2020 features seemingly didn’t reach projections including Stories and private message audio and video options. Not every new feature will be embraced from this new batch either.

New updates and features

Below are updates relevant to content marketers. Company pages, personal brands and profiles. There is not enough room to list each one here and as ever, the roll outs will be staggered and frustratingly random.

Creator mode

Launched to support content creators and increase organic conversations and audience reach. Profiles will list up to five hashtags of the topics talked about (written) under the headline. ‘Featured’ and ‘activity’ sections move up to showcase content and the ‘connect’ button automatically changes to ‘follow’.

The use of hashtags in this feature indicates an ongoing focus on the importance for content search and topic relevance. Watch this space for further hashtag updates.

Posts: character increase

Newsfeed posts are given a character limit increase from 1300 to 3000. A welcome update giving greater flexibility to style, long form content and storytelling. Sometimes, ‘less is more’ and other times, ‘more is better’.

Articles from LinkedIn (company) pages

Articles can be published from the company page. Surprising development indicating algorithms may favour company articles and pay to play value.

NB: The whole article issue needs redress as they provide highly valuable SEO, Google rankings and permanency of thought leadership.

Boosts of posts: LinkedIn (company) pages

A Facebook-like ‘Boost’ option for posts. The feature seeks to turn organic page updates into paid ads, while also adding new tools to help maximise virtual events, and track their performance in the app. Highly targeted spend giving small and larger brands value.

Cover story: video behind photos

A 30-second introduction video can be downloaded or recorded behind photos flagged by an orange circle around the photo and a 3-second silent clip prior to clicking.

A great idea giving personal brands impact. The uptake will be interesting across different sectors and levels in the race to stand out and differentiate brands. The current name/introduction audio feature has had minimal uptake so will be watching closely to see how cover story videos will be embraced.

LinkedIn live streaming on banners

LinkedIn Live sessions will be streamed in real time directly on personal profile banners. The banner will automatically stream silently and when clicked go to the full session. This is a cool technical feature. As LinkedIn Live is ‘application only’ with low numbers accessing it, will this be foretelling an access increase and intention to take a greater slice of the Facebook live success?

My company tab

Tab appears on the LinkedIn page providing employees access to staff notifications, stock information (if applicable) and trending company content.

Changes of note

  • LinkedIn is in deep testing mode of an audio-based networking feature to rival Clubhouse. The differentiation to other platform iterations will be the direct connectivity with profiles. Commentary is circulating that Creator Mode (see updates) is a preceding feature to support the audio networking functionality to topic forums.
  • The LinkedIn Transparency Report has demonstrated commitment to eradicating fake profiles (11.6 million last tracked) and reporting a significant crack down on inflammatory content and User Agreement breaches.
  • Automation (which is banned) and spamming invitations have been a major concern. It appears a limit is being randomly introduced to address this at around 100 maximum invitations sent per week. Members are reporting account warnings and restriction notifications.
  • Newsletters are still not accessible widely with only a select and random few given the tool. Sitting in Articles (which have full multimedia therein) they are subscriber based with a notification sent when published. The subscriber numbers, value and success is palpable confirming a desire for richer platform content and guaranteed notifications being sent.

The next milestone

The 21st birthday is the next traditional milestone. So much will occur in the world and social media over the next three years. And it’s really anyone’s guess as to what 2024 will look like on and off the platform.

Happy 18th LinkedIn and thanks for the wild, valuable and exciting ride to date. Enjoy the pub seat and vote with bravery and wisdom!

 

Sue Parker is the founder of Dare Group Australia, a unique communications, LinkedIn and personal branding consultancy.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.