For the first eight years of its existence LinkedIn has been about connecting people. Over the last 18 months LinkedIn has begun to offer more content matching services thanks to the addition of LinkedIn Today. A new feature being released today, the ability to follow key LinkedIn influencers, will help bring even more content to LinkedIn.
A select group of 150 influencers will be upgraded to the new LinkedIn and will be given the ability to create longer form posts that can include rich media. Some of these influencers include Barack Obama, Tim Robbins, Richard Branson, Mitt Romney, Tim O’Riley, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra and our very own Danny Sullivan. A custom tailored list of influencers for you to follow can be seen here.
Unlike the standard short-form LinkedIn update, users will be given access to a slick content management system that allows for longer-form Tumblr-like updates. The addition of photos and embedding of content from YouTube and SlideShare are also included. Updates look much more like full fledge blog posts thanks to the formatting and styling that the CMS offers.
LinkedIn users will be able to follow any of the 150 influencers by simply choosing to ‘Follow’ instead of ‘Connect.’ This will give many folks the opportunity to gain knowledge and stay in touch with those LinkedIn users that they might not actually know or be able to connect to. Once a user follows an influencer, updates will show in their activity stream, with their name listed as the source under the article:
The new follow feature will be getting even more visibility than just the activity stream. Content from influencers will also have the ability to make its way to LinkedIn Today for an ever greater reach. Following users will be pushed on the profile pages as well. When a user clicks on a piece of content and arrive on the influencer’s profile, you’ll see a blue button to “follow” rather than that familiar yellow “connect” button. LinkedIn will also be making a push to match users up with key influencers by spotlighting users in prominent site real estate:
One of the slickest features of the new content publishing ability is the user dashboard that comes jam-packed with relevant data. Influencers will be able to see total views, likes, shares and comments on each post to find out what messaging has gotten the most traction. Additionally, follower data including professions will be displayed for all those following a profile.
While the new functionality is currently rolling out to a limited number of influencers there are two ways to gain access. The first method is to apply via an influencer form located here. The second is to excel at LinkedIn in the current format. LinkedIn is using algorithms to determine who has the most influence across various verticals and will extend out invites – no invitation required. LinkedIn will be analyzing usage, making improvements and slowly rolling out to the masses, so stay tuned to your account.
For more information see the official LinkedIn blog post.