Many social media platforms are making changes since they’re becoming a critical channel for marketing efforts given the global pandemic, so it’s no surprise that LinkedIn marketing is already in the works with several changes to compete with other platforms.

Will their changes be worth it and help leverage them into being a top-performing platform that marketers should use in their social media strategies – many signs point to yes, but we’ll let you be the judge. 

We will work through how LinkedIn has changed, what we still see happening in this platform that shouldn’t be, learn more about their new marketing features and opportunities, and understand how users interact on LinkedIn and what that means for brands.

What is the Future of LinkedIn Marketing?

Posts on LinkedIn: Then Versus Now

Traditionally, LinkedIn helps its users by acting as a digital-friendly Rolodex. It allows you to connect with others in a professional setting by aligning interests, finding services, knowledge, or experts with great search functions. While this is something we don’t see changing any time soon, we’ve all likely noticed a new trend happening inside LinkedIn.

It’s becoming more social overall – no longer are we constantly seeing whitepapers, case studies, webinar announcements, or other lead generation tactics clogging up our feed. 

Alternatively, we see more storytelling, feel-good posts, more friendly reactions, meaningful comments and celebrating victories or milestones with others and it’s not all work-related. We see personal content on this channel now, not just the traditional career stuff.

Have you noticed this trend happening on your feed? Have you seen any difference between your engagement levels when comparing them to business or personal themes? 

If so, it may be worth exploring to see if there is a way for you to capitalize on this shift for your brand or business. 

What Still Needs to Stop in LinkedIn 

We still see this core problem happening with LinkedIn today and it has been a problem since its inception – do not connect with someone then instantly try to sell them on something you offer. 

Generating business from this platform is possible, but you need to apply proven methods of LinkedIn marketing to make it work well. If you want to connect with someone, you want to make sure it’s mutually beneficial and customize your introduction as much as possible, so it doesn’t appear you’re simply using a “copy and paste” template. 

We’ve all received these kinds of messages before or customized invites to connect with a pitch attached with someone we’ve never met. Be cautious when connecting with others. Ask yourself why you want to connect with someone, how it could help both of you, and be sincere as you start engaging with them to build some rapport before trying to sell anything. 

Failure to do this will likely result in a dismissed connection request or removal. Some users are tired of this tactic so much that they’re beginning to report users for spam. 

Another note to keep in mind while on LinkedIn is remembering that this platform tries to be professional, so it’s not the best place to try to flirt or connect with someone on a personal level. There are several other platforms devoted to that kind of thing. 

If you’re constantly tagging connections that would not benefit from seeing an article you post, stop doing this while you’re ahead. We often see this happening on Instagram (toward well-recognized brands) for users hoping to get noticed for their content, but we’re starting to see this happen on LinkedIn lately.

Therefore, you might potentially miss the opportunity for a connection to see something relevant or would be helpful for them to review and miss your chance for a follow-up conversation. Tag connections meaningful and you won’t have to worry about this.

Bottom line: Don’t immediately try to sell someone something after they accept your connection request, use LinkedIn as a dating app or abuse this tagging tactic.

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Say Hello to the New and Improved LinkedIn Marketing Opportunities 

LinkedIn marketing has stepped up in many ways – this list speaks for itself. Have you noticed any of these new features already being used? Do any of them seem appealing for you to try out yourself or for your brand?

Not familiar with any of these? No problem – we’re going to talk about each of them!

LinkedIn Stories

Just about every social platform is finding ways to add stories for its user. LinkedIn stories allow you to share content with your community for up to 24 hours (which tends to be the standard timeline for this content to stay active). As the story creator, you will see who viewed your story, which can be helpful if you’re working sales and post something relevant that may lead to a well-timed direct message. 

Video Profiles

You’ll be able to take your profile to the next level by leveraging their new cover story option. This function will let users add a video to their profile, which is often indicated by an orange ring around your profile photo along with your video auto-playing silently within your photo frame. We love the way Tomer Cohan describes this new option – a “Harry Potter” effect about the moving photos you see in their movie series. 

Example of LinkedIn Video Profiles in action. Source: The Verge

The real question is, how successful will users be when creating this kind of pitch video? This video could be a weighing factor for recruiters using LinkedIn to find their perfect candidate, swaying them to request the interview or moving on to another candidate. It will also be interesting to see if LinkedIn will move to make these their “new cover letter” in the future for job applicants to further assist recruiters, especially for positions where communication or customer-facing responsibilities are essential to that role. 

Social-Audio Capability

Like stories, we see many platforms competing with Clubhouse for live social audio and LinkedIn is up for the task. While they’re still in the early stages of testing, we’re anticipating this feature to roll out quickly and are curious to see how they plan to bring audio into their events and groups. 

Product Pages

This new tab on your LinkedIn company page seems like a great addition. If your brand relies on LinkedIn marketing, this is something you will want to check out further. Product pages allow you to add information and establish further credibility by sharing your solution offerings, generating leads, highlighting influencing testimonials, and more. 

We really like the product pages because it allows you to select who your product is for based on job titles or industry groups. This feature lets the user self-qualify themselves before taking any further action by asking themselves: Would this product work for my company or me because I fall into this group, or we have this problem? 

LinkedIn Product Page example. Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn Events

Online events are becoming popular across platforms but using LinkedIn events is another option for brands to consider. We like that LinkedIn gives you several choices to run the event, ranging from LinkedIn Live or adding a link in from another channel (such as YouTube Live, FB Live, Zoom, or Webex). We think this was a smart move to let users take what they’re familiar with working with into this new offering.

Events will be easy to find as they’ll be able to show up by:

  • Finding events with the search toolbar
  • Reviewing your “My Network” tab
  • Seeing them appear in your feed
  • Sending direct invitations
  • Automatic reminders – 7 days, 3 days, and 15 minutes – before the event start time/date

Are you interested in learning how to set up a LinkedIn Live event? We highly recommend using this guide!

LinkedIn Creators

LinkedIn is helping its users grow their followers by introducing Creator Mode. One of the most favorable features of this mode is changing your profile action from “connect” to “follow” to help individuals grow their followers. It also allows Creator users to embrace their voice and add hashtags around what content they share or write on the most. 

It doesn’t stop there either – as you share original posts as a Creator, your posts will be highlighted for you and others to see. 

How People Use LinkedIn 

To understand if any new LinkedIn marketing features could work for your audience, you need to determine how people are using LinkedIn. We looked at some Q4 2020 GWI data for the United States from LinkedIn Users to see what actions they’ve taken on the platform recently. The results were fascinating – as most data is – and this is what we learned.

The top five actions taken from LinkedIn users in the past month were:

  1. Added/accepted new connections
  2. Looked for jobs
  3. Commented, liked, or reacted to content (posts or articles)
  4. Followed a company page
  5. Watched a video

Based on this, we could see some of the new LinkedIn marketing features fit perfectly into these user actions: 

  • Continue to network with others where you can mutually help each other and start nurturing that connection.
  • When your company needs to hire someone, take advantage of using LinkedIn during your HR efforts and check to see if they have a video profile.
  • Continue to share posts and articles – both personally and from a company page.
  • Ensure your company page looks great and add in product pages for a chance to capture more qualified leads or send them through a unique marketing funnel.
  • Video content is popular across social platforms – find ways to integrate it into your content strategy mix and consider using the new video profile feature (if it makes sense for you or your team).

What This All Means for Brands 

If your brand is looking to target consumers or businesses – LinkedIn can help advertise toward both and offer more than 200 targeting characteristics. By understanding the potential of results, you can see and weave their new marketing features into the equation. We’re confident that brands can see optimized results from their marketing and advertising efforts. 

 Consider these stats from LinkedIn:

  • There are 61 million senior-level influencers, along with 65 million decision-makers on LinkedIn, which means those targeting characteristics can help you get in front of the right people.
  • An estimated 34% of young millennials (19-25) and 41% of older millennials (26-35) have decision-making responsibilities.
  • Brands have seen a 33% increase in purchase intent resulting from LinkedIn ad exposure.
  • 82% of B2B marketers had the greatest success with LinkedIn – this is important if your brand primarily focuses on B2B.
  • LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to re-share a video post and engage with video ads almost 3x longer than a static ad.
  • Brands get 7x more reactions and 24x more comments on LinkedIn live streams than regular video.

We cannot wait to see more results from all the feature changes LinkedIn will be implementing and see potential growth from everything they’re rolling out. By exploring these new options, you may see some lift in your engagement, conversions and more.

Also, we highly recommend checking out the value of LinkedIn’s Insight Tab – this is something you don’t want to miss if you advertise on LinkedIn.

TL; DR

LinkedIn marketing is releasing many new features for users, from adding LinkedIn Stories to Video Profiles. From a user and brand perspective, these new features are worth trying out to see if they can assist you with your marketing or advertising efforts or improve your KPI’s. 

The top five actions taken from LinkedIn users from a recent survey indicate opportunities for yourself or your brand to gain more exposure and engagement. While LinkedIn is slowly becoming more social, it’s still aligned with being a professional networking site and should continue to serve as one. 

Are you ready to take your brand to the next level on LinkedIn or need help deciding how to target your audience? 

Contact us our team of Linkedin marketing experts – we’d love to show you how you can use LinkedIn to accomplish your marketing or sales goals. Not ready to chat yet? No problem! Feel free to subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter, Social You Should Know, so you’ll never miss out on what’s going on in the world of social. 

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