Over the past few months, LinkedIn has released a whole host of new features. In this blog, we discuss the most significant LinkedIn updates and how they could benefit your business.

GROUPS

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, LinkedIn is increasing its focus on Groups in an attempt to encourage conversation and relationship-building.

An imminent mobile and desktop update will see the release of a range of new features:

  • Group content will now appear in the main newsfeed rather than a separate tab.
  • Users will be able to post native video, rich links, and multiple image posts.
  • The introduction of threaded replies, @mentions and the ability to edit posts.
  • An increase in Group-related notifications.

LinkedIn hopes that by increasing exposure and accessibility it will encourage more participation within Groups. It also hopes this change willattract lapsed and new members.

We think it poses a brilliant opportunity for businesses. The opportunity to connect with audiences in a personal way and build member communities around key interest topics.

To harness this, encourage key employees to contribute to Groups by posting thought-leadership content, joining discussions, and developing connections with industry figures and prospective clients.

It’s likely that this move will spark the creation of new Groups too. This should also be a key consideration for organisations.

For example, to increase its talent pool, a technology company could launch a STEM discussion group aimed at students. This would provide them with an opportunity to establish their employer brand and advertise roles, while directing relevant and useful conversations.

HASHTAGS AND TRENDING TOPICS

Hashtags are a brilliant way to discover new content and join conversations, but they have been pretty neglected on LinkedIn. This is about to change. LinkedIn is rolling out the ability to follow hashtags; functionality that you may already be familiar with on Instagram. Users will be able to see posts featuring their selected hashtags within their newsfeed, allowing them to discover new content and people.

Alongside followable hashtags, LinkedIn has also introduced Trending Topics. These are displayed underneath the ‘What people are talking about now’ headline on the right-hand side of the newsfeed. The feature works in a similar way to Twitter. It will group together posts mentioning popular news stories or topics into a feed which updates in real time.

LinkedIn assigns a unique hashtag to each topic, which is pre-populated into a user’s status update. It’s a really nifty feature, which makes joining conversations super easy.

Consider which hashtags your target audience are likely to be engaging with and begin to use them in your own content. The tactics here are similar to the ones mentioned above. Key employees should offer opinions and thought leadership, expand existing conversations by asking questions and develop genuine relationships through ongoing engagement.

NEW ADVERTISING FORMATS

It’s easy to feel frustrated with LinkedIn’s limited post and ad formats. The platform massively lags behind Facebook and Instagram. However, the platform is slowly dragging itself into the present, marked by the introduction of Carousel Ads and video for Sponsored Content.

Heralded as ‘a new way to tell your brand story and interact with your target audience’ the carousels operate in the same way as Facebook. By displaying a series of up to swipe-able ‘cards’ with short headlines, advertisers can link through to individual URLs. It’s a much-needed addition to LinkedIn’s ad suite, and one we’d encourage you to test.

The introduction of video for Sponsored Posts is significant, due to the well-known effectiveness of the medium. LinkedIn has published a Video Ad Gallery of Greatness’ full of examples of brands utilising the format their top tips, which is well worth a read.

These latest updates indicate an exciting new phase for LinkedIn, with a renewed embrace for community interaction and the continuing adoption of rich media formats. It’ll be interesting to see whether the platform moves beyond industry tried-and-tested functionality and begins to innovate. Time will tell!

Images courtesy of LinkedIn and Viveka von Rosen, CVO at Vengroso.