With over 80 million members worldwide (31+ million in the UK), LinkedIn is not only one of the oldest social media platforms (launching before YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) but also ever increasing in popularity.
Even in LinkedIn’s first month, it had accumulated an impressive 4500 members and was off to a promising start.
Founded by Reid Hoffman back in 2003, it was originally designed as a platform to connect job seekers and potential employers…or employers and potential candidates. LinkedIn’s mission statement, “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” still holds true today but has taken on further meaning as the use of the platform increases and evolves.
More businesses are using LinkedIn for lead generation, brand awareness and marketing than ever before. In fact, in 2020, content creation increased on LinkedIn by a whopping 60%! LinkedIn has proven to be more than 277% more effective for lead generation than other social media sites.
LinkedIn are constantly developing and trialing new features to adapt the platform for their members and encouraging users to create original and evergreen content.
In 2020, they trialed a “Stories” feature, like what you can see on other social media applications such as Snap Chat and Instagram. These short stories could be uploaded for other members to view over a 24-hour period. However, LinkedIn decided to remove this feature towards the end of 2021 as they didn’t feel it matched their ethos. Now, the LinkedIn algorithm is more interested in favouring evergreen content – meaning that the content remains engaging and interesting, regardless of when it was uploaded.
Understandably, that isn’t always possible for individuals or businesses who are posting about specific events or promoting certain products or services. But it does inadvertently encourage its’ users to be creative, strategic, and mindful of what they do choose to post and upload.
There are a few contributing factors which I have identified which have attributed to this shift in usage and away from other methods such as email nurturing campaigns and cold calling….
There are over 10 million c-suite level decision makers on LinkedIn. For business development managers, this is a unique opportunity to directly connect with senior decision makers and stakeholders through social media.
By engaging with their ideal prospects’ posts, content creators on LinkedIn can work the algorithm so that decision makers and employees of companies they wish to work with are significantly more likely to see their posts.
When the General Data Protection Regulations came into force in 2018, sales and marketing teams had to rethink their practices. Scraping data from online sources and adding people into cold marketing campaigns quickly became a thing of the past with companies fearfully avoiding potential heavy fines.
Companies had to find new ways to market and paths in which to communicate with potential clients and buyers through open-source information.
With the on-going global pandemic, there has been a fundamental change in how many industries conduct business. LinkedIn has played a key role in helping businesses to recruit new staff during the mass redundancies, furlough period, and beyond.
It’s allowed companies who use the free version of the platform to keep costs down on marketing but creating industry relevant content to promote their business.
Furthermore, it’s been invaluable for raising the profile of many start-ups which have emerged over the lockdown.
Cold calling is dead…or is it?
With the shift to working from home, a lot of decision makers became unobtainable via their company phone number and are only contactable on their mobiles which aren’t always displayed for the public. However, LinkedIn opened a new route for sales and marketing teams to engage with their ideal clients.
Through a combination of growing their networks, engaging with their prospective clients, and creating engaging and educational content, sales and marketing teams can use LinkedIn as their primary marketing and lead generation tool!
LinkedIn has adapted dramatically in the last few years and are continuing to add and trial new features, such as:
“Creator Mode” – designed to promote content more through personal profiles
“Cover Stories” – allowing users to upload a 30 second video behind their profile picture
“Featured Posts” – which creates a reel of primary posts which the user wants to promote towards the top of their profile
As well as many more…and undoubtedly more still to come.
At the same time, LinkedIn is also finding new ways to monitor user engagement and adapt their algorithms accordingly. LinkedIn decides how to prioritise posts based on several factors, but the main one being engagement from other users.
This includes likes, comments, votes on posts, etc. However, these aren’t always an accurate representation of how engaged with a post a user is. “Dwell time” monitors the amount of time another user stays on a post to read it. And other factors, for example, clicking the “see more” button, can also determine how interested other users are in a post.
All in all, this is an exciting time for the LinkedIn platform and for the users who take advantage of its features. With over 57 million business pages, LinkedIn is absolutely the place to be to increase your business opportunities and to network!