On April 11, the professional network we know and love, LinkedIn, acquired Pulse—a news aggregating app which boasts millions of global users and more than 750 news sources for a cool $90 million. This seemingly conventional transaction points toward a shift in LinkedIn’s trajectory as a social engagement tool.
According to LinkedIn, this marks one in a series of efforts to edge closer to becoming “the definitive professional publishing platform – where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content. Millions of professionals are already starting their day on LinkedIn to glean the professional insights and knowledge they need to make them great at their jobs.”
A renovated version of LinkedIn Today launched in May 2013 and shows signs of the integration of Pulse-like technology. It separates the stories on LinkedIn into two streams, “Your News,” which pulls from those influencers and channels which you choose to follow, and “Influencer Posts,” which pulls from all influencers acknowledged by the site.
About influencers and channels
Influencers—sometimes called “thought leaders,” are a group of people whom LinkedIn deems important or interesting enough to post for the masses. Applications were submitted for some time to become an influencer and are now closed. So unless you have something world-changing to say or you head up a highly influential company, it’s a bit of a long shot for “normal” people to earn a spot among the LinkedIn gods.
The channels feature on LinkedIn developed most after the purchase of Pulse, and streamlines content along general lines such as “Entrepreneurship and Small Business,” “Law and Government,” “Social Impact,” and a personal favorite, “My Best Career Mistakes.” The ability to follow channels further personalizes your news experience on the site, not to mention gives LinkedIn access to tons of data about your interests.
This purchase and site renovation indicate LinkedIn’s conscious pivot toward content curation tailored to the user. The company is betting on the fact that increased intuitive engagement will fundamentally change how people think of and use LinkedIn, transforming it into what many anticipate to be a Facebook of sorts for professionals.
One question remains: how to best leverage these changes for your brand?
It’s clear that those crowned “influencer” are granted the highest visibility on LinkedIn and reach the most users.
While it’s always an option to become an influencer once they open applications again, as mentioned above, this is no easy task. Another more feasible option is to become the top influencer in a group or industry. One way to do this is to spark a barrage of discussion on one of the groups’ pages, similar to the way message boards light up after the mention of a divisive issue. However, the most obvious and basic option to increase your influence on LinkedIn is to simply share unique content which other users find useful and share themselves.
These new changes pronounce one loud message: the content side of LinkedIn is taking off and the smart should get on board.