Quick, think of the top social media outfits in the world. Likely you came up with Facebook first. From there, where you went would depend on what you do on social media, as well as your age and where you’re from. You might say Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram. But would you say LinkedIn? If you were asked to name the top three? Most would not, and this is a reality LinkedIn is trying very hard to change.
Part of the issue is in what people use LinkedIn for. Social media is wide open for being “social” as well as posting cute or funny videos and arguing about politics. There’s an important business component, but, where LinkedIn is concerned, business is really the only purpose. It’s a place to network that most people don’t use as a default place to network.
That’s not to say there isn’t value there. Clearly, there is. Reading business news, interdisciplinary networking, branching out and meeting other likeminded business people are all important reasons to be on social media, and LinkedIn delivers on all of those factors. But that hasn’t been enough to make the site the go-to social destination for the majority of users. Ever since Microsoft bought the brand last year, the company has been working to change that, making key updates to both the website and the mobile app.
One of these new ideas is called “trending stories,” which is essentially an aggregator that brings in articles from across the web written by LinkedIn users. While the company won’t have writers creating content, they will have editors deciding which stories they want to feature. The basic idea, according to LinkedIn’s Daniel Roth, is to get people to start using LinkedIn as their “start the day” news source.
Reuters reported on an early rollout of that feature, saying it included stories about electronic devices being banned on flights as well as commentary by various LinkedIn users with some sort of direct connection to the issue. Users report liking the addition, but it’s unclear as of yet if it will make a discernible difference in how people use LinkedIn.
The biggest issue here is that Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat already have similar features … and people are already using those platforms more, and for more reasons, than LinkedIn. One thing the LinkedIn version will have going for it is niche marketing. They only plan to include business related topics, so people won’t have to sift through the “news of the day” they get elsewhere or don’t care about to get rich, relevant news content.