2018 is coming up fast, and that means you need to get your planning in place for what's coming.
But what, exactly, is coming in social media and digital marketing?
To help set you up for the new year, this week, we're publishing our predictions for each of the major social platforms, with a specific focus on marketing-related options. We've already covered off on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest, and now it's LinkedIn's turn for the crystal ball treatment.
And while not all of these predictions will come to fruition, they should give you some idea as to where the platform is likely headed, which may help your advanced planning.
LinkedIn in 2017
Following its acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn hasn’t made a heap of changes, but they’ve continued to add to their core offering, while adding in a range of new tools and features which point to their advanced use of their audience data – and further integration with Microsoft’s offerings.
Improved Data Options
With their expansive professional dataset, LinkedIn has a huge opportunity to become the essential platform for human resource professionals and job seekers everywhere.
Even back in 2014, LinkedIn was showcasing how they could use their data to provide in-depth insights into your potential professional future – and with the career histories of more than 500 million people on their books, they have the capacity to make some fairly educated assumptions on this front.
With the resources of Microsoft behind them, expect LinkedIn to make some significant advances on this in 2018. They’ve already made improvements to their Recruiter platform to better utilize their data, but the next level will be more in-depth, more all-encompassing, using LinkedIn’s available insights to full advantage.
Eventually, LinkedIn’s professional insights could become a key element for all job seekers and recruiters, with the system able to provide clear recommendations on your ideal career path, and ideal employee, based on correlated trends.
They still have a way to go on this, but expect LinkedIn to make improved data-based pathways a key focus in the next year.
Further Integration with Microsoft Apps
This is pretty much a given, but you can expect to see further integration of LinkedIn functions into Microsoft’s apps in 2018, particularly their Enterprise offerings.
This should make it easier for those businesses using Microsoft’s tools to gain more insights and assistance from LinkedIn, with reminders about career insights, commonalities, topics of interest – all triggers to help improve interactions with prospective customers based on their listed information.
Much of this type of insight is already available, but as LinkedIn and Microsoft merge further, you’ll likely see Microsoft’s products move ahead and gain distinct advantages over others in the sector in this regard.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner recently made an interesting comment about the future of video on LinkedIn, noting that they may be looking to fund their own, exclusive content, taking a similar approach to Facebook and Twitter.
That makes some sense – LinkedIn could create a suite of exclusive, business-focused programming that would appeal to their audience-base, but considering LinkedIn only recently added native video, it seems like a bit of a jump.
Then again, they’ve already added event filters for video content, and given video is rising in popularity on other platforms, such a shift would make sense.
Expect LinkedIn to put a specific focus on video over the next 12 months to test the waters – and maybe to even start airing their own, exclusive video programming to give users more reason to stay in the app.
While it’s not discussed as much as the algorithms on other platforms, your LinkedIn feed is very much driven by an internal sorting process which decides what you see.
Algorithms work because they show you more content of relevance to you, based on your personal habits, so it makes sense that LinkedIn's also looking to drive engagement via machine learning. The problem is, LinkedIn’s algorithm is probably not at optimal levels as yet – it regularly shows me posts from weeks ago, often for events that are long past.
Expect LinkedIn to continue to improve their feed to help boost engagement, which could have significant impacts on time spent, and may help them better promote more current, relevant content on the platform.
Advanced Career Tools
LinkedIn will also continue to develop its career advice options through the expanded development of their LinkedIn Learning platform.
Using their huge career data pool, LinkedIn is in prime position to be able to offer better advice on how people can move into their ideal career, with educational resources to help improve your positioning relative to others in the field.
LinkedIn provides this functionality now, so it’s not a huge stretch, but the next level will see them connecting users to even more insight into the best education options, while also evolving their training programs to better suit industry evolutions and trends, helping better position LinkedIn Learning as a key professional education tool of choice.
While other social platforms continue to take each other on, LinkedIn continues to set itself apart, and the the additional resources of Microsoft behind it, it looks set to continue to advance in 2018. Of course, Facebook has shown that it is looking to step on LinkedIn's turf, but the comparative datasets are so different that it'll be a big challenge for Zuckerberg and Co. to do so.
For professional insights, LinkedIn remains firmly in the drivers' seat, and should look to press that advantage with new tools in the new year.