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Reboot: LinkedIn Debuts Thought Leadership Platform and Updated Profile Pages

LinkedIn has always been a place where professionals have connected with other professionals in order to communicate one-to-one in an online community setting. The platform has always been good for connecting with one’s professional graph when needed for networking and business motivations. Through its eight-year history, LinkedIn executed this with simple connections and “groups,” where people could discuss similar issues pertaining to business.

Now the social network moves forward with the advent of a new thought leadership platform allowing leaders to publish content direct from their profiles, which have also undergone a refresh. The most important observation of this new feature is the ability to connect experts within a company or organization to people on LinkedIn who can benefit from the leader’s thinking. The offering moves LinkedIn closer to the P2P engagement model found popular on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

For its initial rollout of the thought leadership platform, LinkedIn selected key business, political and cultural leaders, and is presently taking applications for additional leadership.  Ultimately, we see LinkedIn rolling this capability out for everyone, which will put two other services on high alert: Tumblr and WordPress. Both offer blogging services, but with the advent of blogging connected to one’s LinkedIn profile, where content can be followed via updates to a news feed, it’s only a matter of time until experts gravitate to the thought leadership platform on LinkedIn as a way to stay hyper-connected. It also remains to be seen if this will be part of LinkedIn’s premium offering for those who pay a monthly fee of $20, $50 or $100 a month, depending on their type of subscription.

As a result of this new tool, here are five ways we feel thought leaders may use this new feature as part of their social ecosystem going forward:

  • The tool acts as an enhancement to your existing company or personal blog. It’s a great way to steer traffic to your personal platforms from LinkedIn as a way to show your capabilities and critical thinking.
  • It’s a unique way to connect your thought leader with potential sales leads. Thought leaders can be followed, but also connected with by those who begin engagement or discussion with the leader. There is an ability for these thought leaders to ultimately become the human face of the brand.
  • In addition to having access to status updates, longer form and original posts from influencers with videos, photos, and Slideshare presentations can be embedded, making the experience dynamic and visual. This allows for a unique storytelling experience.
  • The ability for those who don’t feel comfortable engaging with a faceless company page to join a conversation with the thought leader as a real person and with other members of the LinkedIn community.
  • The ease of the content being shared by followers of said thought leader on a variety of their social networks, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

In addition to the thought leadership platform, LinkedIn quickly announced a refreshment of their profile pages for users. Other social networks have centered themselves around racking up big numbers of connections and getting in-group conversations. The refreshment allows LinkedIn to move in the direction of making the one-on-one connection with others to extend a business need. The reboot makes profile pages a combination of online resumé, professional directory, and powerful recruitment and B2B marketing tool. The revamp consists of the following new features:

  • The profile page is now more visually appealing, following in the trend of the social Web becoming visually dominant.
  • The profile makes information more upfront for viewing, including people in one’s networks who have shared interests and skills, all in the hope of increasing engagement between users.
  • Data is visualized and the focus on making relationships based on expertise is upgraded.
  • The newsfeed becomes more important in terms of noting what content a person shares on the network. Connections can like, comment and share this content within their newsfeed or onto other social networks.
  • Profile pages can be shared internally on LinkedIn to attract attention, or externally on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The old “Recommendations” feature has been upgraded with a new one – “Endorsements” associated with “Skills and Expertise.”
  • The change will most likely make the mobile application more visually enticing as a real-time connect tool.