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Is Linkedin the social network of the future?
LinkedIn, with its clean image of being a professional network, has typically remained controversy free compared to its adversaries Twitter, Facebook or Tik Tok. While LinkedIn is older than Facebook, it was only during 2019-2020 that LinkedIn focused on content creation tools and its creators to align itself with mainstream social media trends. As a result, creating on LinkedIn today is one of the best ways to land jobs, build a personal brand and network with the professional community.
But is LinkedIn truly becoming the next hot social network? Or will its creator-first pivot lead to the path of Facebook?
✅Kevin says — Yes, LinkedIn has all the tools it needs to become the next hot social platform beyond professional communities.
⛔Eli says — No, Linkedin has become too much like Facebook and is moving away from its goal of being a professional social network.
In this episode of Contrarian Marketing, we discuss:
LinkedIn’s future as a social media platform
LinkedIn’s obsession with increasing engagement
LinkedIn growth tips
Let us know what you think about LinkedIn and its growth as a social network in the comments or in the poll below!
Key Takeaways from this episode
LinkedIn is one of the few text-focused creator platforms next to Twitter for building a personal brand.
LinkedIn is one of the few social networks with diversified revenue streams (ads and services).
LinkedIn’s quest for increasing engagement on its platform may result in irrelevant or opinionated conversations that aren’t suitable for a safe professional space.
Kevin’s take — LinkedIn has all it needs to already be the social network of the future
Kevin’s take is that LinkedIn is a creator-friendly social media platform poised to grow to 1 billion users in the next 12 months.
Here’s a summary of Kevin’s points to support his take:
LinkedIn is already a behemoth with more than 850 million users
With an annual revenue of $10B in 2021, LinkedIn is profitable with a great business model. For a social media company, it has successfully managed to crack the subscription model with LinkedIn Premium and B2B SaaS model with Sales Navigator.
For the same content shared, LinkedIn receives more engagement than other social platforms.
LinkedIn is creator-friendly and works on new tools and programs to support content creation by its users.
LinkedIn is great at managing any negative experience or attempts to game its algorithm on its platform. It is also open about how its algorithm works and what aspects it prioritizes for ranking posts on its feed.
LinkedIn uses real names that are tied to your employers, hence decreasing any unnecessary trolling on its platform.
Kevin also states how it’s the best platform to get engagement for textual content:
“LinkedIn is the best platform to get engagement when it comes to textual content. This distinction is super important. TikTok or YouTube shorts are the best for video content, Instagram for images, and for text, it is LinkedIn.”
Eli’s take — LinkedIn is losing its relevance as a true professional community
Eli agrees that LinkedIn has successfully managed to grow into a professional platform from a mere resume-sharing or job-hunting website. But in the quest to grow its social media platform, it is losing its core value proposition of being a safe space for professionals to network.
“I feel like in chasing growth, LinkedIn is doing things that will also lead to it not being the ideal professional network. It could eventually lead it down the road of Facebook, where it becomes more opinionated and polarized.”
Eli also shares concerns about how LinkedIn’s drifting away from its ‘no-political discussion’ stand. To explain, he compares it to how workplaces would react to political commentary versus LinkedIn:
“People that have minority opinions. Let's say you didn't support the cause that most of your network supported. So now it's no longer the same comfortable place.
Now, does this happen in any typical workplace? It happens less where politics is out in the open, and people are made to feel uncomfortable.
For example, I'm in Silicon Valley, and I think if someone has a conservative stand, they may not feel as comfortable in the workplace. But I'm sure that if they raised their hand and said - ‘I don't feel comfortable here’, there are rules that could say this topic is no longer allowed to be discussed. On the other hand, if someone has extremely liberal views and they're in a conservative workplace and there's an actual HR team that can police these kinds of things, this is no longer comfortable.
I think you can't necessarily control that on a social network.
On LinkedIn, you can express an opinion. Maybe everyone agrees with that opinion, and it goes a little viral. But if one doesn’t feel as comfortable, one may not say – ‘Hey, this is a place where I'm hanging out just to learn things and just for my professional community.’”
Eli suggests that one can promote discussion of neutral political topics that can be backed by facts, likethe state of the econom.
Kevin adds further:
“I think it might actually make a lot of sense for there to be a social network that's just about politics. One that's more about memes, one that's more about the in-depth conversation.”
Eli also mentions how LinkedIn is optimizing for engagement to convert more users into its LinkedIn Premium profile offering.
“There's very little value in LinkedIn Premium unless you're doing sales and want the LinkedIn messages feature. I've had premium for years and never used any of those LinkedIn messages. So the value you get is to see who looks at your profile, and LinkedIn charges you anywhere from like $50-$150 a month.”
Kevin’s take on LinkedIn’s efforts for engagement is how it is an important metric for social platforms anyway:
“The big question is whether that engagement is ‘toxic’, if it's helpful or if people like it.”
LinkedIn growth tips
Show LinkedIn that you can give them engagement by asking for reposts.
Write a good LinkedIn profile description and optimize it for keywords relevant to your work profile.
Set your profile to “creator”
Post daily, or at least every other day
Share what you learn and observe and your target audience will form itself
Eli: “LinkedIn is becoming a less comfortable and safe place to engage professionally. As a result, this could open them up to a competitor, or someone will start a new LinkedIn. This will be a challenge for the current LinkedIn because there's probably only one place that people are going to consider as a professional home on the internet.”
Kevin: “Linkedin is going to keep growing and cross 1 Billion users in 2023 (and 5B until 2028).”
Crush it - Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuck: the book teaches you how to build a personal brand and an audience on social media.
The Startup of You - Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnoca: the book teaches you how to think about your own career as a startup. It shares how one can apply the strategies of entrepreneurship to build and grow your career.
Harley Finkelstein shared a tweet on how LinkedIn gets him more engagement.
Google Trends for the term ‘Black Friday’: notice how the height of the peaks decreases year on year.
How LinkedIn’s feed works:
Community-focused feed optimization (2019)
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Eli and Kevin