Over the past few months, Linkedin has been rolling out changes to its site that reveal its ultimate A-Game: engage, engage, engage. And what’s to say that’s not a great strategy? This relatively (by social media standards) old-school social media platform has slowly and thoughtfully re-emerged as a real player in the social media space. They aren’t trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat (a la a new MySpace redesign) to save the platform. Quite the contrary, they’re doing it from a place of strength: between May 2011 and May 2012, Linkedin grew 67% and Linkedin’s latest stats boast of over 175 million Linkedin users worldwide. As I see it, Linkedin is improving its user experience with two goals in mind: becoming a news marketplace, and encouraging conversation and engagement between companies and followers as well as between fellow site users.
Linkedin completely revamped its company pages over the summer, offering status updates, targeted status updates, and more robust follower insights. This week, Linkedin adds a revamped company pages design that includes options for a header image and highlights recent status updates. Targeted updates, one of the best features Linkedin offers companies. allow company pages to deliver updates to followers by geography, industry, size of company, function and seniority. Companies may also “feature this update,” which pins the update to the top of the recent news feed on the page (similar to Facebook’s “pin this” option). Company pages also offer engagement-focused follower analytics, not just numbers of followers, but numbers of clicks and likes by date.
Linkedin is giving companies an opportunity to create targeted content, and track its engagement. These new features offer agile organizations the opportunity to track engagement with different types of professionals, experiment with content for different audiences, and cultivate followers by industries or professions (like philanthropy, for example).
Endorsements and Recommendations
Linkedin’s has maintained its first mover advantage as the connection space for professionals and industries. It has also become the online resume and professional recommendations site. As of last week, Linkedin rolled out another way to recommend colleagues: Linkedin Endorsements. With the click of a button, any user can endorse specific skills or skill sets of any other connection. I’m thinking of it as “recommendations light,” and think it’s an easy way to maintain connections with colleagues by recommending them with a 1-click endorsement.
Engaging Status Updates
Linkedin allows you to comment on any connection’s status update, and sometimes these are the most interesting ways to begin conversations. I had a lengthy back-and-forth with a connection who I had never met personally, and after our conversation, we met in real life. Commenting on updates and within groups can lead to deepening of relationships and new business possibilities – it has certainly happened to me time and again.
Another New Rollout: Linkedin Influence Leaders
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that Linkedin is making a play to be a professional news marketplace. Besides the news-focused redesign of Linkedin’s home page, Linkedin just offered 150 “influence leaders” the option to publish their content on Linkedin. You don’t have to be a connection to follow their content. Right now, the thought leaders are bigwigs like President Obama and Craig Newmark (I’m following him) but I’m sure others will be added soon. You can apply to be an influence leader yourself here.
How are you using Linkedin to engage, either as a company or with your connections?