How You Can Take Advantage of LinkedIn’s New Influencer Feature
Two weeks ago, LinkedIn introduced a new feature where its users can now “follow” the activity of influential thought leaders without being in the individual’s LinkedIn connection network. Influencers can easily integrate YouTube and SlideShare content into their postings, creating the potential for a more personal, visually driven feel when compared to traditional LinkedIn updates. The introductory wave of influencers is comprised of figures such as President Barack Obama, Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson, and Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore.
This new element of the LinkedIn user experience builds off last year’s introduction of “LinkedIn Today,” and is part of the site’s mission to increase user engagement. As the Christian Science Monitor explains, “If the news section and the addition of the influencers pans out the way LinkedIn envisions, people will have more reasons to check into the website more frequently and perhaps stick around longer.”
LinkedIn is poised for growth, and you do not have to be a headline-grabbing politician or rock star CEO to benefit. The site will continue to introduce new “INfluencers,” and is currently accepting applications from its members looking to “join the club”. If you have a devoted blog following, or work in a newly emerging field, it is certainly something worth exploring. According to MarketingLand, the site is also currently examining criteria for influence on LinkedIn within various verticals, and will distribute a second round of invites in the near future.
What all this means is that it is not only a good time to increase your LinkedIn activity, but also to consider devoting more energy and attention to thought leadership efforts. Corporate blogs and social media accounts are certainly essential tools. However, establishing an online presence on a more personal level can also be a worthwhile endeavor. It gives customers a second level at which to observe how your company operates and innovates. Having a blog or profile with a “face” behind it, rather than a company, can appear more trustworthy and transparent. Would you be more likely to consume content distributed via a Virgin company page, or direct from the man who founded the company? For many, the answer would be the latter.