LinkedIn’s Content Conundrum
LinkedIn has had massive success becoming a huge social network (#7 in the world by user base as ranked by statista.com). And it continues to grow at an amazing pace both overall and within your own personal connections:
- Average of 27% YOY growth in users
- In the past 3 years the median no. of connections /user has grown from 200-299 to 501-999, a 300%+ increase
On top of this tremendous growth, LinkedIn has focused on increasing user engagement by enabling content sharing and publishing as a key element within the network. This has also been very successful, for example there has been over 3 million long form posts published since starting.
Being an avid LinkedIn user, content sharer, blog publisher – it has been a great way to grow my connections and followers. But as those numbers climb I have to admit I am more focused on social marketing within LinkedIn vs. growing relationships.
It is Becoming Harder to Stand Out
At Nudge, we did a quick analysis of the performance of long form posts from some of the best-of-the-best, the Top 30 Social Sales Influencers (as ranked by Forbes.com).
Since April of 2014 the T30SSI have posted 331 times and generated a whopping 372,000 views. Pretty impressive response. However when you look at this trend over time, it tells another story:
(*Note: 2015 Q2 no. of posts extrapolated based on 2 months of data – source: linkedin.com post analysis)
It is clear that avg. viewership per post has dropped significantly, in fact it is off by almost 76% since Q2 2014, even though the no. of posts has remained fairly consistent.
So what is happening? Maybe the content isn’t as good, as they have run out of all of their “best stuff”. So we also looked at “likes” and “comments” over the same time period.
(source: linkedin.com post analysis)
Based on this analysis, I would say that the content is still doing well. In fact with less views per post, they are still earning similar avg. likes and comments over the last year (note: there was one post in 2015 Q1 that generated 2442 likes, 38% of all likes that quarter, and without that post the average falls to 57 likes).
To me this is just representative that LinkedIn’s own success has made it more difficult for users sharing and publishing content to stand out. I think every social network that focuses on growing connections/followers faces this same challenge. At some point the signal (content from people you care about) to noise (content from people you don’t care about) ratio drops far enough so it becomes harder to find the right people and content you care about. Think of what has happened with Twitter.
The challenge is I want to grow my connections and followers for social marketing, but still have the ability to grow the right relationships – how do I get rid of some of the “noise”?
You Need a Better Lens to See Your “Network”
Networks like LinkedIn need a way to filter your streams/feeds based on the people who you have or want to have real relationships with. That way you can continue to use the network for both social marketing AND relationship building.
At Nudge we believe that lens is relationship strength. If you could see your network in LinkedIn (in Twitter, or anywhere) based on people you have had, or still have a relationship with, it would be helpful in filtering out the noise and getting to the signal. And that relationship lens is also a moving window, as you email, call, and meet new people every day.
I will say that LinkedIn is definitely the best place to publish content as a professional, but it is getting harder and harder to stand out. And it is not easy to determine which connections I should prioritize to build real relationships with over time.
What do you think of my idea on using a “relationship lens” to filter out the noise?