According to a report in Q4 2014, Facebook still dominates and dictates the news we read, enables brands to promote targeted messages and offers, and is the #1 source of social referrals to sites around the web. LinkedIn – the world’s largest professional network with 350 million users has been actively working so that it’s users spend more time on it rather than just posting and keeping a track of jobs.
LinkedIn states that today when a user shares six pieces of content, on average, they receive six profile views and make two new connections, which helps them strengthen their professional brands. At the same time, the company they work for receives six job views, three Company Page views, and one Company Page follower, which helps them better hire, market, and sell. However, only 2% of employees share content their company has shared on LinkedIn.
One of the reason being that the content is not compelling enough for employees to share as they would otherwise do on Facebook or Twitter. Trusting the data that employees drive 20% engagement for companies on LinkedIn, the network itself has decided to work with companies to empower their employees to be social professionals.
To make this happen, LinkedIn has rolled out Elevate – a new product that helps companies and employees curate high-quality content, share easily to social networks, and measure the impact. The app will act for the company to easily and effectively curate content, suggest it to the right employees, and measure the impact on the bottom line.
For now Elevate is opening up for a closed, paid pilot mobile and desktop app that suggests articles to its users — based on algorithms from its news recommendation services Pulse and Newsle, as well as “human curation” — and then lets users schedule and share those links across LinkedIn and Twitter. Going further it aims to add more networks like Facebook too.
Besides sharing content, one can take advantage of LinkedIn Elevate’s intelligent scheduling capabilities to ensure their content gets shared when their networks are most active.
The app also provides powerful analytics for employees and companies. Employees can see how many times content they’ve shared has been liked, commented on, and reshared, and how many people it reached. Insights like who viewed their profile and requested to connect as a result of the content they shared will also be made available. “LinkedIn Elevate provides companies with the same data, as well as numerous micro-conversions – like job views and Company Page followers – and results that impact the bottom-line – like hires, leads, and sales.”
LinkedIn plans to make Elevate available for the general public by Q3, 2015.
Meanwhile the company ran a series of pilot tests in Q1, along with Adobe, Quintiles, Unilever and several other companies. LinkedIn states that employees who participated in the pilot shared six times more often than in the months leading up to the pilot. Quintiles’ employees who participated in the pilot received four times more profile views and made two times more connections, and Unilever employees drove four times more Company Page views, two times more Company Page followers, and six times more job views.
But why would a company invest in Elevate when it has existing free and paid apps such as Hootsuite, Buffer, among others which do the job efficiently. The answer lies in the data insights that LinkedIn will provide which the others won’t be able to do so. For example marketers will be on their toes to pay for data insights that could tell them what has impacted the bottom line like leads and sales.
Additionally, the app is going to access the recommendation from LinkedIn Pulse and Newsle, and human curation, so that employees get a steady stream of quality content to share across networks.
If Elevate can drive two times more Company Page followers, and six times more job views for Unilever, then other companies would be likely to try it out, especially when Facebook’s organic reach is dead. Apart from sharing entertainment stuff on social media, people share because that is what they define themselves by, apart from feeling more involved in the world. Elevate has been built with the same thought process to spike the engagement on LinkedIn which is quite miserable right now.
While Elevate adds another potential revenue stream for LinkedIn, it would be interesting to observe how employees take to this app and will they be ready to share content just because it is streamed for them (Enterprise Networks is an excellent example which failed to fit in most company culture).