It’s true that back in November LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform to the proletariat. To this point, only big names and the connected few were designated as “LinkedIn Influencers” and enjoyed access to the platform.
Don’t mistake access to LinkedIn’s publishing platform as being able to join LinkedIn’s Influencer posse that benefit from LinkedIn’s marketing muscle in promoting their posts. That’s how a LinkedIn Influencer like Daniel Solove, who teaches at George Washington University, ends up with 353,379 followers and counting.
I’m not picking on Mr. Solove, who no doubt is a capable professor with fresh takes on the world of law. But without access to LinkedIn’s audience and LinkedIn cultivating “connection,” those 353,379 followers don’t happen (5,820 followers on Twitter better reflects his stature). The reality is that without the clout of Influencer status, most people will need to ponder the deep question, “If a blog post falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?” As an experiment, I’ve published four posts on LinkedIn since April generating a total of 500 views and change. In contrast, a post from our friend Mr. Solove on the scintillating topic of federal health insurance policy titled, “Six Lessons from the Costliest HIPAA Settlement to Date” produced 3,000+ views. While not exactly apples to apples, it’s still revealing. I also question the promise of LinkedIn delivering organic search traffic for a trending topic. Within hours of Publicis and Omnicom calling off their merger, I published a post on the topic on LinkedIn.
I wanted to see whether I could siphon off some of the search engine traffic on the topic. While the answer is clearly no, I found that the content wasn’t even indexed on Google a full 24 hours after posting. I plugged into Google the exact and distinctive headline, “Ominicom and Publicis Finally Agree on a Message: We’re Done” and the post didn’t turn up. So much for riding the spike of attention devoted to a news event. The one form of promotion that LinkedIn offers to “the rest of us” is its curation of content (includes all posts published on LinkedIn), which then gets pushed out to LinkedIn members. Using software to automate the process, they strive to match an individual’s interest with a discovered post. It turns out that LinkedIn highlighted my Mother’s Day post as part of this curation service.
Yet, the views of this post didn’t even increase by 10, I suspect a byproduct again of not reaching the masses within the LinkedIn corridors. It was probably pushed out to a subset of my existing network, again limiting the potential to reach new folks. Taking mercy on me, LinkedIn included these “useful” tips when I checked out my stats.
You can remember your audience and pay attention to the headline with the intensity of Jeff Bezos. It’s still not going to access the vast LinkedIn community. Of course, there are other reasons to publish content on LinkedIn. Sharing your perspectives adds another dimension to your LinkedIn profile, so those looking – prospects, partners, job candidates, colleagues, customers, etc. – gain a deeper understanding of what you’re about. Just don’t expect that blog post to fall in the forest to go thud!
Note: For more on this topic, check out “Attention K-Mart Bloggers: Great Storytelling Alone Won’t Build an Audience.”