Have you noticed recent changes to LinkedIn? If you have looked beyond checking out Who’s Viewed Your Profile (I know you have) you’ll see they recently updated their navigation. Unless you use the search field at the top, the nice easy navigation to your preferred areas — such as companies and groups — is no longer there.
LinkedIn is not the easiest social network to navigate or keep up with. In fact, Chris Brogan deleted his LinkedIn account last year. On the heels of hearing the news, I also expressed frustration about how features were broken and too frustrating to manage.
For example, did you know that if you manage a group, you have to delete items from your Manager’s Choice list if you have over ten announcements in there? Otherwise, it doesn’t work. Luckily I found this out from one of our group moderators, Jim Hodson. Because when I asked the LinkedIn Help Center, they just told me I couldn’t post due to a bug.
Frustrations Of Operating As A Brand & Publisher On LinkedIn
Many brands focus on areas where they can share their content — most have company pages, and many others have groups as well.
The way we post to LinkedIn as a brand is a manual process; we manually publish to our groups, and manually publish to company pages. There once was a feature in the company pages where you could use an RSS feed to publish blog posts, but it has been disabled for some time now.
In terms of tracking, we do track links posted to groups to get a sense of what kind of content resonates with our members. But we don’t track company page links for a few reasons: they have gone through times of stripping parameters, and the shortened links we’ve manually added to updates would not be “live” links. There have been times when the headline link that appears with the thumbnail would go to a dead page.
What we do now is write up a social snippet (sometimes even using the headline), include the link, and let LinkedIn shorten it. At least the link works. Adding tracking and shortening manually is so uncertain that we simply don’t have the time to keep up.
Enter LinkedIn Today
Most publishers have a third branded area on LinkedIn: a “publisher” page that serves as an anchor for external content aggregated by LinkedIn Today. Here is Marketing Land’s page:
To recap how LinkedIn Today works, it is powered by what content is being most heavily shared across the network. This can come from shares via the InShare button on websites, shares from a company page or shares into a group. The “organic popularity” — which is really share volume — is still the biggest driver of content on LinkedIn Today. So, although there is a publisher page that LinkedIn members can “subscribe” to, there really isn’t any control as a brand.
As a result of the recent change, however, you can no longer easily access the LinkedIn Today publisher pages. I checked in with LinkedIn about the change, and they confirmed that they are no longer supporting these publisher pages, but they will be migrating the publisher pages — as well as their followers — to company pages “soon.”
Is LinkedIn About Sharing, Or About Driving Traffic Back To LinkedIn?
With LinkedIn Today and rolling out these upgraded company pages, the network continues to have the potential to drive traffic to sites. But lately, the focus feels a lot more about driving traffic back into LinkedIn rather than about sharing.
With the latest updates you can now browse news articles without leaving your updates stream. You can select LinkedIn Today to see the latest news right on your homepage. The recently rolled out “Channels” — topic areas of curated content written by “Influencers” (over 250 individuals specifically chosen by LinkedIn) — is designed to keep users within the network longer for advertising purposes.
I can see what I’ve shared and commented as an individual on my profile, but I can’t easily see the interactions like I can on Facebook, Google+ or even on Twitter. When I first joined LinkedIn, it was about managing my professional contacts and network. I made a firm decision years ago that this was the only place to connect with people I have worked with or have met in a professional setting. Yet, LinkedIn has prioritized the mad dash for ad revenue, instead of taking care of its core product — the professional network.
Admittedly, in the past year, LinkedIn has implemented a number of useful social updates such as new mobile apps and allowing @ mentions in updates; but, there are times when the fundamental functionality of the platform just does not work — and I mean technically operate properly. If you are marketing on LinkedIn, it’s something to keep an eye on. LinkedIn has never been the easiest platform to navigate as a brand nor as a publisher. It will be interesting to see what their plans are in terms of LinkedIn Today and company pages in general.