As most of you know, LinkedIn announced last week that it would be rolling out its influencer program to all of its 277 million users. As a first step, they will expand the list to 25,000 users immediately — a big jump from the previously elite set of about 500 influencers deemed worthy enough.
With the networking platform previously positioning this new portal as the tried and true thought leadership channel graced by the presence of top experts in their space like Ariana Huffington and Bill Gates, the idea that now anyone can become an influencer will make any marketer’s mouth water.
Now, before we all get hyped about how this will be our answer to becoming the next conference presenter or be asked to write a book (not!), I can’t help but do what I do best: Second Guess All Of It. This will not be the answer to all of us expanding our reach by more than a million like those top tier influencers, but after some careful consideration and research, I’m into it and here’s why.
What Makes LinkedIn Influencer Different?
Here’s their promise: The time you spend on LinkedIn will make you better at your job today. Welp, sign me up! On a serious note, the goal of this expansion is really two-fold: make people better at what they do with quality, niche content from like-minded professionals and offer a platform where quality content gets in front of the people who care about it most.
As others have pointed out, these influencer pages have opened up an entirely new world of reading more in-depth storytelling from some of the biggest names out there like Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Jeff Weiner to name a few. More than that, it gives you control over what information you see and read.
The way they’ve set this up for new users coming onto the influencer program is this: your content will be pushed automatically to your connections on LinkedIn. From there, your content has the chance to be recommended to other audiences based on their professional interest with one major caveat – it has to be good. LinkedIn will measure the quality of your content based on clicks, likes, comments and so forth. Others agree that this is a win-win for content creators and consumers alike – your quality content will get in front of a targeted audience and you’ll only be bombarded with content from those you follow or quality posts focused on what you want to learn about.
What’s in it for Marketers?
For marketers in particular, you’re being pulled in a lot of directions as a blogger. I know this from experience seeing as I have goals around getting 10 posts per quarter on this here blog in addition to building my personal brand elsewhere by contributing guest posts, ramping up my social engagement and hosting webinars. It’s a lot.
So, how do you prioritize something like LinkedIn Influencer once they roll this out for you? Well, that’s simple. A lot of top influencers, like Dharmesh Shah, have written and gushed about the impact the Influencers platform has had on his or her personal brand. Disclaimer: You and I are not Dharmesh and that’s OK – more on this later. To make a long story short, Dharmesh proves that between his Twitter and Facebook accounts, LinkedIn influencer posts have gotten by far the highest CTR and expanded his reach on LinkedIn to more than 164,000 and counting. In his August post, after just a mere eight months on the platform, Dharmesh was getting almost three times more clicks on LinkedIn than on Twitter despite having almost three times as many followers on Twitter. Crazy, right?
All that being said, it’s worth a shot. The average user surely isn’t going to generate the same kinds of results but if we’re talking percentage and relative gains from LinkedIn vs. other platforms like Twitter and Facebook – Dharmesh sure makes a convincing point.
LinkedIn Proposing Promising Rules — Eliminate the Noise
Despite my concerns that this move will add more clutter to the already flooded internet, it appears that LinkedIn is taking the approach it always has with new features – a professional one.
In the LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform Rights and Responsibilities, it points out:
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.
This sentiment, combined with LinkedIn’s established format of promoting quality and relevant content to a wider audience, I’m really banking on this opening up an entirely new world of thought leadership.
While it’s certainly too soon to tell, I see LinkedIn’s influencer platform could finally be the place where the noise is removed and professionals everywhere step up their writing game. After all, only the best will get seen. Or will it?
What do you think? Will the influencers program get stronger or weaker with this change?