Welcome to the final episode of 2020, a year most of us are keen to put behind us no doubt!
That is why I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the future in this episode and predict what we might see happen on LinkedIn next year.
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
Did anyone else get this error message suggesting that they can’t reach your primary email address? I checked and there was nothing wrong with the email but it is a Gmail address so I suspect this was related to Google going down earlier in the week.
It was always going to happen but (groan) ads are now being tested in LinkedIn Stories. LinkedIn Starts Testing Ads in ‘Stories’
LinkedIn have published their workplace predictions for next year. Nothing surprising here and all very related to working at home. Are there any clues here as to changes LinkedIn plan to make? – I’m not sure there are but have a read and see what you think
Company page products are being re-introduced. Yet again LinkedIn are bringing back an old feature and announcing it as new!
This is a welcome return of a feature although I believe LinkedIn create the products themselves which seems odd to me. You can see which of your connections have a skill for that product and there is a link to message them. You can also review products, this is also copied from the previous version but named ‘Reviews’ with a max 5-star ranking – very Amazon but a big improvement on the old version.
New Admin roles
Company pages are also going to see a new feature with an extended list of admins.
And finally LinkedIn are introducing a ‘post reminder’ feature. I like this idea although it would be better if you could set reminders for daily, weekly or monthly.
LinkedIn have recently replied to several questions regarding the development of features in Stories;
–Recording a LinkedIn story beyond 20 seconds and having the platform automatically cut it into frames- that’s something LinkedIn is currently working on and hopefully, we can see that in the nearest future. This is great news and let’s hope it becomes a reality soon.
–You have mentioned, that you are using Canva as a third party tool to edit and design your stories, therefore we wanted to let you know, that taken this feedback into consideration LinkedIn has decided to partnered up with Canva to integrate custom LinkedIn Stories templates! I’m really not sure this is necessary. Canva already has plenty of good templates for Instagram stories that fit the exact same dimension as LinkedIn stories but let’s see what they look like.
-You have mentioned that it would be great if you could see the stories of the person you are most interested in front of all the other stories “bubbles” on your homepage. LinkedIn is actually working on the algorithm, that is learning how people are engaging with which Stories so that people you care about should show up first (in addition to chronology). No surprise here other than if the machine learning is separate from the main homepage feed then why is it the case that unfollowing someone via their stories means that you unfollow their posts? That seems like a contradiction to me and a bad idea. They need to allow an unfollow just for an individuals stories.
-Last, but not least, you were wondering if stickers have any correlation to the higher engagement, however adding stickers does not correlate with more reach. Instead, it’s a great way to personalise your Stories to make it your own. This is pretty obvious really – stickers could lead to more views in theory as with any feature that enhances the look of a story but the reach will always be the same.
While we on the subject of Stories, these were my predictions for 2018
LinkedIn in 2018
- Increased use of #Hashtags. Hashtags re-emerged in 2017 but next year they will become mainstream and ‘trending hashtags’ will become an important feature that we will all be using extensively by the end of the year.
- Livestream Video. This one has been on LinkedIn’s roadmap for a while and I predict 2018 will be the year it is finally implemented. Native video will be fully rolled out by the end of the first quarter and I believe Livestream video will start to become a feature (mobile only) by the middle of 2018. As with Native video, it will take a while for users to figure out the best way to use Live streaming so I don’t expect it to have a big impact in 2018…but it will start to roll out.
- More spam. As the number of users increase and spammers (not just cowboys but also the uneducated) start to realise that they risk big fines due to the GDPR legislation (effective from May 2018). LinkedIn messaging and InMail will become a more widely used tool for spammers.
- LinkedIn Hangouts. #LinkedInLocal will continue to grow and people will start to see the benefits of meeting their connections face to face…but not every business operates locally so LinkedIn will respond to this need by introducing a live video hangout feature – this will use the same platform as Livestreaming and be closely linked to, or integrated into, the New groups feature.
- New Groups. I know that LinkedIn are working on a complete re-design of groups and this will be implemented during 2018. Expect to see something completely different – possibly even renamed and rebranded that will include the hangouts feature mentioned above.
- Increased Engagement. This was the big surprise of 2017 and LinkedIn users will continue to learn that broadcasting content without attracting comments is a waste of time. Expect more and more comments on posts and articles as content producers get to grips with better quality (engaging) content.
- Engagement Analytics. Following on from the increase in engagement I predict that 3rd party tools will appear that allow you to find and assess people based on their Comments and Likes as well as their content.
- Voice commands. 2018 will be the year of Alexa type voice controls everywhere and it will become so mainstream that LinkedIn won’t be able to resist getting involved. We could see voice commands on the mobile app such as “search for marketing managers in Birmingham, United Kingdom” or “accept my new invitations”.
- Personal Branding. This will become more important next year as more and more people move away from corporate employment and become self-employed experts in their field. Another possible trend is that corporates may move away from enterprise/corporate brands and encourage employees to develop their personal brands on behalf of the company.
- LinkedIn Stories. Stories are big on Snapchat and Instagram and are now becoming more popular on Facebook. LinkedIn have a long tradition of adopting popular features from other social media platforms and I see stories as being no different. Native video, text and image posts can be combined and collated into stories. Expect to see this as a new feature in the second half of 2018.
Not a bad effort really – maybe they didn’t all happen in 2018 but most of those have come to fruition now apart from #4 – although the addition of Zoom/Teams integration to messaging is close and #5, 6 and 8 which were completely wrong! I’m especially proud of #10!
Features that haven’t quite made it – yet
I’m amazed at just how long LinkedIn A/B test and then roll-out a feature, it can often take years! Here is a list of features that havent yet fully rolled out;
- Mobile invites that automatically provide the option to add a nore (as on desktop). This one didn’t seem to get past A/B testing. Does anyone still have it?
- Suggested comments on posts. This one is clearly still be tested as it seems to come and go from different accounts frequently!
- ‘Open for Business’ or ‘Showcase services’ on profiles.
- Featured section under ‘About’ is still rolling out.
- ‘Share’ being renamed as ‘repost’ – this one seems to have failed the A/B test as I’m not aware of anyone else who has it now.
- Newsletter (previously Articles ‘Series). This is still at pilot stage and I’m not convinced it will ever be rolled out to everyone.
- Livestream. Still only on application although many more users have been approved this year. The rumour is that it will never be rolled out to everyone.
Those are the ones I could think of. Do you have any to add to the list?
My 2021 LinkedIn Predictions
I will start with a wish – this is not a prediction because I hold no hope that LinkedIn will finally sort this mess out!
I wish that LinkedIn will finally end the ability to add current employment to profiles without a form of ratification from the employer.
This can easily be achieved by requiring an email domain for that company to be associated to the account of the persons profile and if this isn’t possible then they would need to receive approval from a company page admin.
This would overnight make it much harder to create credible and convincing fake profiles. I really can’t understand why they insist on allowing anyone to say they work for whatever company they wish!
Now for my predictions. I’m cheating a bit because I actually think some of these are more likely to happen after 2021.
- Firstly I actually think there will be a noticeable drop in the number of new features next year. It’s been a tough year for LinkedIn having made redundancies for the first time in their history and the knock on effect of this will be seen in 2021
- We will continue to the influence of CEO Ryan Roslansky and LinkedIn becoming more and more ‘user centric’. A more open dialogue with users will continue and features that serve our needs will be prioritised over ones that suit LinkedIn’s needs.
- Stories will continue to improve with the addition of features such as better stickers, Greenscreen, music, polls and questions making the experience much more interactive.
- The new Products pages could lead to the ability to purchase products/services directly from a companys page. LinkedIn do like to copy features from other social media channels and this has been a feature of 2020 for many other channels. It will also provide a much needed new revenue stream for LinkedIn by them taking a cut of any sales. I very much doubt they will implement this in 2021 but I’m predicting they will start working on it.
- A recent trend this year has been to re-introduce old features such as polls and company page products so I’m expecting this to continue with the re-introduction of the much missed Q&A section (previously known as Answers). They may even look at bring back ‘Reading List’ if we are lucky! I also expect improvements to polls which still fall short of the previous version.
- Groups – Unfortunately I’m predicting we will be in exactly the same place this time next year! They may keep tinkering with features but it will make little difference. They won’t have the courage to implement the drastic changes (see last weeks LinkedInformed) required to get groups back to where they should be.
- This one is an outsider and probably more likely after 2021 but I suspect LinkedIn may be considering integrating video interviewing into their Recruiter product – either as a native feature or as a collaboration with 3rd party providers.
So there you have it. What do you think and what would you add to that list?
Post of the Week
Because it’s Christmas I’m allowing myself a winner and a runner-up this week!
The runner-up is a fantastic, funny and clever video. I’m amused at those people who have taken offence in the comments thread. I know politics can be a highly emotive subject but come on…get a sense of humour!
This is the winner.
it’s a very important message delivered through a powerful image that tells a lie.
We all know that mental health is a huge challenge for many and the chances are we know someone who is suffering. The problem is that these people don’t want to be a burden or worry us so they put on an act.
Look out for your friends and family this Christmas especially and take the time to check they are really OK.
That’s all for this week and this year.
I hope you have an amazing, family time with your loved ones over Christmas.
Bring on 2021!