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Why LinkedIn is completely missing the boat with its new influencer videos

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In case you missed it, LinkedIn announced some “big news” last week: It gave 500 influencers the ability to post videos right in your feeds.

I say “big news” because I think LinkedIn really missed the boat with this move–and it’s indicative of a strategy that may miss an even bigger boat down the road.

These influencer videos are most likely a nod to the burgeoning growth of video across the social web. Can’t you just hear the conversations at LinkedIn HQ?

Guy K

“Hey, video is blowing up people! We need more videos in our newsfeeds. How do we do that?”

“I know! Let’s ask influencers to post 30 second videos that lack punch and depth and everyone will comment on them and share them!”

I mean, that has to be how the conversation went, right? Why else would they do this?

You see, I think LinkedIn is missing the boat here. The lion’s share of folks on LinkedIn don’t go there to hear from influencers, they spend time there to do one of three things:

  • Find a job.
  • Learn.
  • Or, find out what’s going on with friends/colleagues in their networks (new jobs, etc.0

Now, you could make the argument that people could learn by following these influencers. And, that would be a valid point. But, I would argue most people aren’t seeking out these influencers. If Guy Kawasaki has something interesting to say on a topic I care about (the last time he did that, by the way, it was 2010), I’ll stop and read it. But, I don’t SEEK OUT Guy Kawasaki on LinkedIn. And, I can’t believe anyone does, really.

So, to me, these influencer videos are contrived. They feel forced. And, by and large, they don’t add a ton of value.

Instead, why doesn’t LinkedIn focus on making the user experience even better by figuring out new and better ways for me to connect with people I care about (i.e., colleagues, former managers, college classmates, etc.)?

Since I’m never one to criticize and not offer up ideas, here’s a few free ideas LinkedIn on how to better the user experience:

  • Fine-tune the ability to sort contacts. For some reason, LinkedIn recently changed this. I used to be able to filter my contact list by location and a bunch of other factors. Now, I can only do it by first and last name. What good is that? For someone who sifts through his LinkedIn database A LOT, this is a huge perk that they took away. Suggest refining it ASAP.
  • Create a new “Ask Me Anything”-like experience. If you really want to exploit the influencers (uh, I mean, give them a better platform from which to speak), why not take a page from Reddit’s book and create an “Ask Me Anything”-type platform within LinkedIn where people would ask these influencers questions about a particular topic in real time? Now THAT’S something I think people would find useful–not these throw-away 30-second videos.
  • Offer more robust advertising options. I’ve been frustrated with this for a while now. LinkedIn is such a great platform for so many businesses (and continues to be under-utilized by many). But, ad options still aren’t up to snuff (and, they’re usually more costly than Facebook and Instagram). Why not beef up those options so more companies can participate and engage more effectively? I know this doesn’t really get at the whole “creating a better user experience” angle, but I’d like to see them spend more time here than creating more useless influencer stuff.

That’s my two cents. Your thoughts on the new Influencer videos?

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Why LinkedIn is completely missing the boat with its new influencer videos

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