As the world of social continues to change and evolve, LinkedIn often seems to struggle to keep up. Unlike so many platforms, it lacks crucial analytics tools for marketers to explore. It also lacked functionalities that come standard with many social platforms, like on-site hosted video, etc.
But that is about to change, according to an email to influencers. Since Microsoft bought the professional networking site last June, it has slowly made changes to the platform. But this latest batch of updates promises to strengthen the platform and bring it up to par with many primarily consumer-oriented social platforms.
What changes is LinkedIn making? Why are they being made? And what are the implication of these changes?
Upload Multiple Photos in One Post
Status: Only for iOS presently, but functionality for Android and Desktop is “coming soon.”
The Change: Before, LinkedIn users could only upload a single photo at a time, like the way it used to be on Instagram.
Why:This change is likely being made to keep up with Instagram and Facebook both having the option to upload multiple photos at once, often in a spread.
Visual media is becoming more and more critical and since LinkedIn is used primary for professionals to both communicate and market to one another, it makes sense that the platform is trying to keep pace with its fellow consumer-oriented social platforms.
The Implications: By allowing users to upload more photos, we will likely see an increase in visual media on LinkedIn. For designers and photographers, this means they can create more posts with a handful of photos/graphics, therefore strengthening their personal brand.
Another implication of this is that LinkedIn in general will likely become more visual-based. We will likely see differences in algorithmic preference for posts with multiple photos to encourage users to play with the new feature.
Share Content Off LinkedIn
Status: Live on all devices
The Change: Before, LinkedIn posts, articles, and content were gated to non-LinkedIn users. Those barriers are now down, allowing users all over the web to stumble across LinkedIn users’ content.
Why: Limiting public view of posts means that a user on LinkedIn could only reach other LinkedIn users. This provides a limited audience. By opening content on LinkedIn to the rest of the web, LinkedIn will likely draw in more users and expand the reach of current users.
This could be in response to the growing popularity of medium, which does not gate content for non-users.
The Implications: Your LinkedIn profiles (private page, company page, groups, etc.) will now be visible to everyone.
This means that becoming an influencer will be easier, as you can gain followers from offsite. It also means that you need to ensure that your brand and personal pages are optimized and up-to-date.
Failure to do this will likely hurt your brand, so make sure any and all content you have is now optimized for the world outside of LinkedIn. There might also be SEO implications, especially for brands reposting content on the platform.
Share a Draft Before Publish
Status: Live on all platforms
The Change: Before, it wasn’t possible for users to share their post with anyone before posting. Now users can share their article before publication.
Why: This is likely Microsoft’s attempt to make Pulse more like Medium, which already has this feature. It makes it easier for users to collaborate, which LinkedIn likes hopes will lead to better articles on the platform and more articles being posted in general.
The Implications: More users will likely compose on LinkedIn, instead of having to start and share them with editors and collaborators, then move them over to LinkedIn.
Turn Off Comments and Change Privacy Settings
Status: LinkedIn said the disable comments feature is available, but we found that not all users can use it (myself included). Privacy settings are now accessible to all.
The Change: Before, LinkedIn comments could get heated/offensive, especially on controversial issues. Now users can disable comments on their posts, as well as adjust privacy settings to control who sees the features.
Why: Because LinkedIn is supposed to be a professional platform, being able to limit inappropriate and offensive posts will give users a measure of control that they didn’t have before.
The Implications: Users will be able to control who sees their posts and if anyone can comment on them. This change mimics Facebook’s privacy settings, as well as the countless platforms where comments can be disabled.
This means that users might post things they wouldn’t have before for fear of backlash. This measure of protection could make the content posted on the platform more diverse.
Status: Some members already have access; the rest will have access soon.
The Change: Instead of having to host a video elsewhere, users will soon be able to post directly into the platform.
Why: Video is the most favored form of content currently, so it makes sense that LinkedIn is trying to catch up with other platforms like Facebook.
The Implications: Native video will likely see a higher preference in feed algorithms. This means that if your brand isn’t already doing video, it should be.
It will be interesting to see if the videos will auto play like so many social networks. This could mean increased impressions with video and the need to design videos without sound.
Why so many changes?
For some time, LinkedIn has not kept up with major trends in social networking, likely because it is not designed for consumers, but for professionals.
To stay relevant as companies like Facebook create platforms that intrude on LinkedIn’s space, like Facebook for Work, it was imperative for LinkedIn to make these changes.
The most impactful change of these will be LinkedIn going from internal to public-facing. It will be easier for content creators and brands to drive referral traffic because of this change.
But we won’t know the full scope of these changes until all the newly announced features go live. It will be interesting to see the results.
Have you noticed any other changes on LinkedIn? Have you used any of the features? What do you think of them?