Sahail Ashraf posted on 24 August 2022
LinkedIn is now pretty far from what it was a few years ago. But its most recent testing phase shows that it feels it has to change even more.
Wherever you stand on LinkedIn, you can at least agree that it’s huge. Just dipping into the platform now tells us that there are 830 million registered users on it. That is a lot of people.
Some people will tell you that a large chunk of that user base don’t spend any time on the platform. That may be true, but it does mean that LinkedIn has huge potential reach. At the same time, it has been presented as very business-like and slightly above the more popular social media platforms. It has recently relaxed its feel, but still markets itself as the place where professionals go to share ideas about work and business.
However, LinkedIn continues to rumble towards becoming very different to what it was even a year ago. Tomer Cohen, Chief Product Officer at LinkedIn, recently shared his memo to the team at LinkedIn around product developments. The first and perhaps most impactful one concerned what is essentially a ‘Discover’ feature.
This is in the testing phase right now, but it’s probably the case that most users have access to it.
‘That’s why we’re continuously experimenting with new ways to help you discover relevant news, conversations, and voices from people and organizations you might not otherwise know. In addition to surfacing relevant content in Search, you’ll start seeing recommendations for people you might want to follow, or newsletters you might want to subscribe to. Also, we’re starting to test a dedicated space for you to discover trending conversations that align with your interests (see below). These include newsletters and videos, and events curated by our editorial team. As always, we’d love your feedback on these new experiences.’
Development is all about discovering new knowledge. LinkedIn has been useful for professionals in that respect, but Cohen has a new argument. LinkedIn thinks that it is not always easy to find that useful knowledge, so it has put the new feature in place.
Just like in other platforms, new content suggestions will pop up in a user’s feed. Having seen it ourselves, it isn’t particularly intrusive, but it does look a little like an ad when it presents itself. The content is recommended by an algorithm so it is very much the same as what you are currently seeing in Instagram, TikTok and everything else that suggests discovery content.
Newsletters, for example, a relatively new development on LinkedIn, will become part of the new feature (remember this is being tested right now so it isn’t an absolute guarantee that any of this will become established). The events (there seem to be thousands right now) that people organise through LinkedIn will also crop up, as will videos from other members and accounts that are judged to be relevant to the user.
LinkedIn has many detractors, and they will jump at the opportunity to point out that it is a little strange to see that a professional platform is using an algorithm just like the more social platforms. But it does have a couple of intriguing aspects.
First up, it does make sense that people who are hoping to network and make valuable connections on LinkedIn will see relevant opportunities for this in the feed (the feature also suggests people you may like to follow). And if the videos and events are going to help you run your business or grow professionally, then it makes perfect sense.
Secondly, there is a real opportunity for B2B social media marketing teams here. Just like in all other social media platforms that use an algorithm to present useful and relevant content to users, if marketers can develop high quality content that is useful and relevant they are going to be featured.
As we said earlier, this is just a sign of a social media platform adapting to meet the market. However, after the testing period, and assuming it gets the go-ahead, it could be useful for marketers.
B2B marketers can take the feature as a reason to spend even more time making their content relevant and useful to LinkedIn users because, maybe soon, you will be battling for space on their feeds.
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