By 2009 people were on LinkedIn to develop business networks that would help them find new jobs, new employees, referral partners, advice, new clients and even help with customer service. It was a golden age for B2B networking and LinkedIn was the place to be. I myself was rabidly against using non-LinkedIn social media platforms, especially for business. I had the paid account and evangelized about why professionals and organization had to be there.
Now 6 years later I have to counsel clients that Facebook is the place to be for user engagement, Twitter drives traffic to your website and is much easier to use to get past the gatekeeper, Google+ is the best place to optimize your search engine results, Pinterest & Instagram graphically show your business and YouTube is the best place to educate current as well as potential clients about your industry, your company and your brand. What about LinkedIn, you ask? Well, in my opinion, 2015 is shaping up as a potentially bad year for LinkedIn. Why?
1.) Endorsements – If you Google the phrase LinkedIn Endorsements you will return over 2.6 million results. The vast majority are negative posts. Recruiters that I have spoken to generally laugh when I ask if they value endorsements. One of the biggest complaints is that LinkedIn recommends that people endorse me for skills I haven’t listed. This really annoys me.
2.) Group engagement – Groups used to be golden. They were a way to foster community and engagement on topics that mattered. Groups were the place to be on LinkedIn. Now partially because of link dropping, other social platforms and LinkedIn’s own system-wide moderation status policy, group engagement continues to plummet. By our own research, group interaction is less than 15% of what it was in 2009. While link posting is up, actual discussion is down.
3.) LinkedIn’s stream – I used to love my LinkedIn stream. I was able to keep track of my network updates and engage people over relevant content. Now the LinkedIn stream looks more and more like Facebook (such as more people posting cat pictures, etc.). This seems to be a common complaint I hear from professionals who use LinkedIn. “If I want a Facebook stream I will go to Facebook”
4.) Premium package price increase – Prices are going up for all of LinkedIn packages, yet there doesn’t seem to be a corresponding increase in functionality. Yes, you can unlock more leads with a paid account but I find most people don’t unlock all of the leads they have available with an unpaid account. Also, LinkedIn’s oft stated “Only connect with professionals you know” policy seems to really be, “Only connect with professionals you have paid us to connect you to.”
5.) Facebook at Work – This is the big one. Many in the social media ecosphere think that Facebook at Work will fail. I don’t seem to understand why they believe that idea. Facebook has been more succesful than any other social media platform in history. In a shorter period of time Facebook has grown to 3 times the size of LinkedIn. They have an estimated installed user base of 1.3billion to draw from for Facebook at Work. Compare that to LinkedIn’s estimated 350 million users and you have almost 4 times as many business contacts in a potential Facebook at Work as are found in LinkedIn. Add to that fact that people hang out on Facebook because they want to as opposed to hanging on LinkedIn because they need to, and you have powerful reasons to spend time on Facebook at Work.
Personally, I would love to see LinkedIn return to the luster of 2009 but they need to do more than just the planned facelift. More thoughts on changes needed to Linkedin to come.
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