LinkedIn has a secret, and it really isn’t all that much of secret. They are being proactive in keeping users engaged while staying true to their core mission. They keep developing new ways to help users enhance their careers, making them more relevant and therefore more valuable to their users.
For example, LinkedIn just announced a partnership with seven online education firms so users can add certifications and courses to their profiles. Users can advertise their accomplishments to potential employers and clients by a simple click response to an email sent automatically by LinkedIn after completing a course with one of the providers. This also ties in perfectly with LinkedIn’s recent push to bring a younger audience to the site. Just like Facebook set out to take users from high school through college and on to sharing photos of their first born, LinkedIn is setting out to help users carry their professional image from high school through college and into their careers. The younger crowd used to be driven away from LinkedIn because they didn’t have much to show on their profiles. If you have a year at Best Buy and two years in a few student organizations, you just didn’t feel like you belong on LinkedIn. But these formal certifications give students a new way to show off their talents, and feel like they have something worth showing on LinkedIn.
The certification program isn’t the only move LinkedIn is making. To help users build careers and stay connected with their industry, LinkedIn has launched LinkedIn Pulse, a news aggregation service based off users’ professional networks. Pulse helps users connect to news, blogs and other points of interest fellow users in their industry are perusing. It is the latest way LinkedIn assists users in building their careers by literally keeping them “linked in” to others in their profession. Again, this is just another example of how LinkedIn has been ahead of the curve for quite some time.
This year alone LinkedIn has started generating its own content, created an influencer program, and now integrates photos and more visuals to make content consumption more appealing. If you think photos and videos aren’t changing the social industry as a whole, think again. Facebook and Twitter have added video integration, Twitter Cards pulls in larger images from users’ web links, Facebook has increased the size of preview images from links, and even Google has started to integrate photo results and video screenshots into basic search. All media has followed this trend. Take a look at a newspaper from 1950 and compare the amount of text to that found in today’s newspapers. A picture does say a thousand words, and the right pictures telling the right stories add tremendous value for users. LinkedIn combined with Pulse is a powerful new tool to keep users interested and keep LinkedIn growing.
Here is a screen shot from Splash Media’s LinkedIn profile so you can view firsthand some of the visual changes:
Finding new ways to engage users—that’s LinkedIn’s (not so secret) secret that is helping this social media giant accomplish its core mission. This secret is also important for marketers and businesses to keep in mind. If you aren’t providing value in a format that your audience will find easy and enjoyable to consume, you will see your efforts fall flat. So take a look at LinkedIn’s new services, and think about how you can use them to tell your company’s story.