What do LinkedIn members really want?

Get real with your online presence
Ostersund, Sweden – August 1, 2015: Linkedin website under a magnifying glass. Linkedin is a business oriented social networking website.

Assumptions and hype without critical analysis and unbiased feedback is a recipe for social media marketing disaster. Every platform holds distinctive value positioning in attracting and retaining members with LinkedIn being the flagship of professionals and businesses.

And great content drives eyeballs, builds trust and commercial relationships. But what content formats are preferred to consume (vs create) on LinkedIn, and why?

With the newly rolled-out feature of Polls, I asked this and the results were as insightful as surprising. Every LinkedIn member consumes content in some way with many also curating it.

It is important to understand there are many lurkers who consume content silently without ever engaging. There are few statistics to confirm these numbers, but it has been touted at circa 80 per cent never or rarely engage. The implication of that is clear. It is also worth noting that engagement metrics are not a predictor of sales success or enquiries. Many engage but never intend to buy. But ensuring content is relevant and delivers meaningfully to your target market is the name of the game to inspire on- and off-line conversations.

Poll results

The question “What is your number one content preference?” received 511 anonymous votes (44 per cent women and 56 per cent men). Every sector was represented including sales, law, finance, technology, media, science, recruitment, marketing, government, retail, digital, medical, NPO, education and IT.

An overwhelming 77.8 per cent preferred written content (a combination texts/images at 47.3 per cent and articles, 30.5 per cent), videos, 20.1 per cent and podcasts, 2.1 per cent.

Preference motivators

What motivated choices was essential for context as was analysing if there were any industry based preferences. To the later, there were none as there was no preference consistency across age or geography.

Interestingly, the reasons for choices were often similar across both text-articles and video. Efficiency of time, easy to digest, short and sharp were equally apportioned to video and text-article content.

Many expressed a palpable dislike for casual talking head videos driven by immediate thought bubbles etc. Others preferred videos as it encouraged deeper human connection and sense of the energy behind the message. Many enjoyed the insights from body language and voice messaging was easier to absorb.

The majority who voted for written content with images-infographics felt identifying points of value and relevance was quicker and easier to skim. And well-structured content inspired action and insight as it demonstrated considered thought. Many preferred these formats as they were less intrusive. Deeper articles (on and off the platform) were preferred for their depth of subject matter insights, opinions and learnings.

Summing up
  • A quality multimedia content mix is essential with a weighting towards text-image-written formats. But horses for courses, as whilst video on LinkedIn isn’t the top preference it is very important and relevant.
  • Don’t buy into the herd hype and pressure to push video on the platform at any cost, way or quality.
  • If you struggle with writing content hire someone to write in your voice. Many price point choices available.
  • Shorter, sharp and quality videos are key. Give a snippet and link to the full video if over five minutes. Subtitles and engaging narrative works best.
  • Don’t try and game content reach with engagement pods, automated systems, and paid actions/bots? LinkedIn have rolled out their new algorithm system Dwell Time to signal content value.

Instead of ranking content based on clicks, likes and comments, it will a fairer AI based on dwell time as an indicator of rich value to distribute within the first- and second-degree networks. Gaming will be thwarted and great content of any type given a lot more oxygen.

Sue Parker, Founder, DARE Group Australia

DARE Group Australia is a valued content partner of Inside Small Business