Ready to Be a LinkedIn Influencer Yet?

Avtar Ram Singh
Avtar Ram Singh Digital Marketing Manager, Circus Social

Posted on February 21st 2014

Ready to Be a LinkedIn Influencer Yet?

Don't lie: if you're a social media marketer, at some point in the last couple of months you went to Google and typed in, "apply to be a LinkedIn influencer" - or something of the sort. You know you have.

A platform that's been graced so far only with people with the pedigree of Sir Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington and Conan O'Brien, we mortals have been subjected to the torture of merely watching the massive reach, viewership and engagement that the LinkedIn influencer platform has been able to generate.

But that's just been blown open.

In a blog post earlier, Ryan Roslansky, the Director of Product Management on LinkedIn revealed that soon the platform's 225 million userbase will be able to become an influencer of sorts themselves. LinkedIn is initially opening up their publishing platform to a 25,000 members, and soon will expand to everyone else on the network.

Image Courtesy TechCrunch

With more content, LinkedIn hopes you'll visit their website more, and take a look at LinkedIn Pulse a little more seriously. LinkedIn isn't obliged to push out all of your content onto the network's professional users, but I can see them supressing external links in an effort to get their own content trending on the platform. It's an interesting move from LinkedIn - given that anyone who's seriously anyone is on LinkedIn in some shape of form.

If you're thinking that this is an awesome way for you to spam about your company to everyone three times a day, a quick look over LinkedIn's Publishing Platform Rights and Responsiblities will set you right.

It mentions:

LinkedIn discourages and may disable posts that self-servingly advertise a service, business, political cause or other organization or cause that does not benefit the broader LinkedIn community. Learn more if you’d like to advertise your business or service with LinkedIn.

The last thing you want to do is have your product/service or profile banned from LinkedIn or in their bad books. That's probably the second worst thing you can do as a professional marketer, the first one being not active on Google+ for SEO.

But that's a story for another day.

On the bright side, here's what LinkedIn's guidelines also mention:

LinkedIn may distribute your content, annotate your content (e.g., to highlight that your views may not be the views of LinkedIn), and sell advertising on pages where your content appears.

In short, write awesome content on LinkedIn and we'll throw it out to 225 million people and make money off it. That shouldn't really bother you. In an effort to ensure that LinkedIn's content stays high quality, I sincerely hope that the following type of articles aren't pushed by LinkedIn:

  • Gimmicky Articles Like "5 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers" which is basically an essentials list.
  • Click-baiting stuff around the lines of "This company grew its portfolio by 29% in 2 days using this one weird trick."
  • Hardcore reviews of tools and products.

The third one might have thrown you off a little, but let me make my case. Essentially, I think of LinkedIn as a "thought leadership" platform. The entire reason why I like to engage with articles on LinkedIn is because I'm looking on new insights and takeaways from what's going on.

LinkedIn could well be on its way to being the exclusive hub for great thoughtful content, and as marketers we should ensure that everything related to social media and marketing oozes quality, is fresh and new.

That'll be the key to climbing the ranks to being an actual LinkedIn influencer. Because let's face it, when everyone has access to publishing on the platform, it'll take something special to go ahead and stand out from the noise.

Avtar Ram Singh

Avtar Ram Singh

Digital Marketing Manager, Circus Social

Avtar Ram Singh is a social media strategist who values good content over all else. Having worked with global agencies and brands as well as fledgling  start-ups, he helps brands and marketers from various verticals with their advertising and social strategies on a global scale. He's always around on Twitter and you can also find him on Google+.

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Comments

This article has enthused me so much that I'm raring to exploit this new linked.in functionality. Imagine that tidbits from my novel can be posted on linked in and forwarded to more than 200 million users. 'Wow' is all I can say. Thank you, Avtar, for updating us on this significant change. Thanks a ton.

Hey Vivek, glad I could be of help. Thanks!

Perhaps I am a little less enthused because I am a publisher who has been buliding over the period of the last six years a strong network of thought-leader content, but I caution you to take a wait and see approach on this.  To really truly provide a thought-leader platform that moderates and edits for quality, LinkedIn is going to have to add a significant amount of staff (unless its members plan to volunteer for this role.)  If they don't, they won't be able to acheive their goals and either a good deal of your content will be suppressed or will be of diminishing quality.


Further, their description of their product as an Influencer product is disengenous.  True, Bill Gates, Sir Richard et al are tremendouly influential, but does anyone really believe that he or she is influencing them in return?  What good does it do you or any marketer for that matter that you can read what Richard Branson's speechwriter put on their site?  The truly influential folk within a company are those that will engage with others publicly and online.  I don't see that LinkedIn is moving to enable that engagement; in fact, LinkedIn Groups have been losing their impact and popularity for some time.

 

Just saying...

Hi Robin - thanks for taking out the time to comment! All valid and solid points. True, perhaps the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates aren't exactly the likes we should be talking about. In fact, one of the articles on LinkedIn that was doing really well a few months ago was a copy-paste of a blog post written by Guy Kawasaki in 2006 - 75% of which was not relevant in the current digital market. So yes - as is the case with most content platforms, there will always be certain content that won't deliver a great amount of value to readers.

As for the point about LinkedIn adding a lot of staff to ensure the quality of content - I think the way LinkedIn's content platform will work might be a little simpler. The Head of Digital Marketing for Nestle writes an article, as does the Head of Recruitment of American Airlines. Of course - their connections and follower base will be different, and those two groups will be the ones who first go through the content, decide to like, share or comment on the content. In the event the article initially does well, LinkedIn's algorithm will push it out to people who are similar to those audiences.

In essence, organic virality might be what causes content to be pushed up the ranks on LinkedIn. Probably the simplest way to ensure that good content reaches the right people. I might be dumbing it down a little too much, we can only speculate at this stage as no one has proper insight as to how this platform will work.

I will of course reserve judgement until this is rolled out completely and we've had a couple of weeks to analyze it, but I do hope it works out the way we're all hoping for it to.

I think we should do a Google hangout on this very topic. You, me, Viveka Von Rosen, and perhaps another managing editor or two.

LMK and we can set it up, Andre.  Great idea.

Sent: https://twitter.com/SocialMktgFella/status/437327470455291905 

Avtar, you join us too, since you started this entire mess. :-) 

Absolutely. :) Let me know when and I'll be there!

I agree, here's what's going to happen unless there's an entire editorial staff working this.

Two scenarios:

1) LinkedIn will publish anything, without fact checking, grammar checking, relevance scouring, and true editorial work to ensure only unique, valuable content is published. Therefore, the value of LinkedIn as a go-to destination for quality content will decline.

2) LinkedIn will decide to publish only content that comes to it completely consistent with the aforementioned criteria. Without editorial direction and coaching, novice writers will remain unpublished and grow frustrated with the blog, and the brand. The relevance of LinkedIn as a potential blog marketing tool, will never be realized. 

I think we should do a Google hangout on this very topic. You, me, Viveka Von Rosen, and perhaps another managing editor or two.

This is the first time am reading this new Linkedin feature and would like to explore it. It's good that Linkedin coming with such a activity to promote the content, considering it become a large platform in social media.