Today, on LinkedIn’s Blog they announced that they are opening their “Professional Publishing Platform” to 25,000 members, giving them the ability to publish content on LinkedIn similarly to Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, & Dharmesh Shah.
LinkedIn being the primary B2B (business-to-business) social network has a great opportunity for members to show their expertise and connect with others on a professional level.
Back in December 2013, LinkedIn disabled the activity feed on profile pages of LinkedIn users on the premise that the feature wasn’t being used by members so they dropped it. Since then, in my opinion there has been a gaping hole in LinkedIn on an online marketing premise. Much of this was because I felt that I missed a majority of the updates that would actually interest me. They made it harder to gain confidence in an individual, because you'd see only their resume and not necessarily how they contributed to a discussion or how active they were in the social sphere.
Fast forward to today (February, 19th 2014) we get what I consider as an answer to the reason why the “activity feed” disappeared. I think LinkedIn saw the opportunity for member engagement and saw the widespread reach that some of the “influencers” had with their posts. Combine that with the internets hunger for quality content, you can see why LinkedIn is now allowing members to not only show their resume but have a soapbox too!
So… What Does this Mean For Marketers?
There are thousands of business professionals that simply don’t have the platform to be heard. The idea of blogging is a constant battle for business owner because they get minimal views and typically aren’t motivated to continue. For industry leaders, LinkedIn has opened up another door to drive qualified traffic, and introduce thought leadership without the reader having to leave Linkedin.com. By using LinkedIn posts as a way to share industry expertise, “influencers” will be able to establish thought leadership and grow their content distribution and take their followings to the next level.
Many business owners that I come across simply don’t have the time to even maintain their own websites content or blog (find out how we help them here). At this point, LinkedIn is going to become more work and take extra time (that they don't have) for the average member to display their industry expertise on their profiles. Members will have to resist the urge to copy their content that they already have on their website in an effort not to spread duplicate content. Marketers' will now be forced to spend even more time creating original content for their LinkedIn profiles.
SPAM…. I know I’m not the only one that gets spammed on LinkedIn’s Messages, or spammed in my favorite LinkedIn Groups. Do we think that Linkedin posts are going to be any different for those “spammers”? I refer to the issue as Signal vs. Noise. The engagement of articles by “influencers” like Dharmesh Shah are highly valued because the quality of writing is amazing. LinkedIn readers are attracted to this content and it has higher click rate because of the remarkable content that’s being created. But if spammers are creating to much noise it’s going to be hard to hear the signals for the “influencers” that we want to hear from.
What should you do?
Just like we tell our clients' with any new marketing idea. Try it out, “own it” and share some of your expertise, measure the results, keep up with it and give it time. Make sure that if you're trying LinkedIn posts you will maintain the other marketing activities that are generating results as well. Consistency is Key!
Personally, I’m going to treat LinkedIn posts just like one of our blogs. I’ll write a few extra posts a month and see the response we get. Check back here and let me know your thoughts on LinkedIn’s new feature.