It was bound to happen. And, after they announced it earlier this year, it was due to happen.
LinkedIn recently unveiled “Stories” on its platform.
Let me summarize the reaction for a vast majority of LinkedIn users: UGH.
I know we’re only one week in, but my initial reaction can be summed up in that one word.
And, I’m hardly alone.
What’s more, think about who’s using Stories in your feed so far.
In my feed, it’s been national players like Carlos Gil and local folks who aren’t afraid of video like Jenna Redfield. Or, uber-promotional folks who have something to sell. I don’t think I’ve seen a single person who works for an agency or corporation post in Stories yet!
Again, I know it’s early. And, behaviors can change. But, my initial reactions can best be summed up this way–based on personal use and potential brand use down the road.
What audience are they playing to?
LinkedIn trends older. According to Pew Research, 35% of LinkedIn users are 50 and over. Add another 37% that are 30-49 year-olds. Who are typically the biggest users of Stories? The under 30 crowd. Miss #1. What’s more, LinkedIn trends male. 57% of LinkedIn users are male. So, LinkedIn trends to be an older, slightly male network. Does that sound like the demo of a group who wants to use Stories? More like the opposite.
People are already intimidated to post to LinkedIn.
I recently started doing more social media coaching (in fact, I unveiled a new service around this last month–more here, if you’re interested). A lot of that coaching, so far, has revolved around LinkedIn. And, one of the common themes I’m hearing is this: I’m hesitant to post. For lots of reasons (all valid). So, now you want a user base (most likely) full of people who are probably more hesitant to post to the FEED to create STORIES? Um, that’s not going to happen. No chance. In fact, I’m already hearing whispers of people saying they will never publish a story, personally.
Desktop vs. mobile usage
57% of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile devices. That sounds pretty good until you think about the fact that 98% of Facebook’s traffic comes from mobile. And, the fact that roughly 4 in 10 people are still accessing LinkedIn from a desktop computer. What’s the issue with that, you say? Only this little tidbit: Stories aren’t available on the desktop version of LinkedIn (yet). Sure, they will probably add that eventually but for now, you can only publish Stories through your mobile device. A barrier for 40% of all LinkedIn users.
Do you have enough to say?
The beautiful part of Stories on Insta and Snap is it gives you the opportunity to publish stuff you wouldn’t normally publish in a more “permanent” feed. Throwaway stuff. The smaller snippets of your day. Which makes total sense on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. But, why would you do that on LinkedIn? Most people have a hard time coming up with 2-3 things a week (or month!) to say on LinkedIn let alone 3-5 things A DAY. Most people simply don’t have enough to say on LinkedIn to participate in Stories on a daily or weekly basis. I’m already seeing people running out of things to say on Stories on LinkedIn!
For starters, when will brands ever have access?
I haven’t seen much on this to date, but I’m guessing the plan is “soon.” My bet: They’re seeing how the rollout goes with humans first before rolling out to brands.
MORE CONTENT? You have got to be kidding me.
So, let me get this straight. You want under-resourced social media teams to come up with 5-10 new Stories per week for a single social media platform? Keep in mind, you can’t easily repurpose Stories from Instagram like you can on Facebook. This needs to be uniquely LinkedIn story content. I just don’t see already strapped social teams embracing that right now. And, probably not ever.
See #4 above–what are brands going to say?
Again, most brands have a tough time coming up with a couple things a week to say on LinkedIn. Now we’re asking them to come up with 5-10 Stories (and that might be on the light side) per week? Not happening–not for most brands. Their time and attention is better spent in other spots (like the feed!).
What would be the actual goal?
To increase engagement? According to reports, LinkedIn engagement is up 50% YoY, and that was back in March! Since then, COVID has forced even more people into LinkedIn power users. If your brand is on LinkedIn and your engagement numbers aren’t up in 2020, you’re probably doing something massively wrong. So, this is a long way of asking: how is engagement on LinkedIn a problem right now? Those levels should be way up in 2020. But, here comes LinkedIn with Stories telling you to use them to up your engagement levels (again, to be clear, brands do not have access to Stories yet–I’m just playing out a hypothetical). I’m just not seeing a big business case/metrics case here.