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.
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.
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.