LinkedIn May 10, 2020
These new LinkedIn features can increase the engagement of your company
LinkedIn is known for its business nature and is deployed by companies for multiple goals. Mainly in order to respond to the needs of the business target audience in a professional way. In these times especially, it is more important than ever to stay in contact from a distance with your target audience. This is contributed by a personal and authentic way of communication. Therefore LinkedIn recently launched four new features: stories, conversation ads, polls, and events. These two functionalities could not have come at a better time. Two of the features (conversation ads and stories) will be rolled out for all business pages later this year. We have first access to these new features for our clients, which means we can test and build best practices.
The principal for LinkedIn stories is basically comparable to other social media channels. Upload a photo or video from the camera roll of your mobile device and it will be visible within the top of the LinkedIn mobile app. The duration is 20 seconds max and the story will be visible for 24 hours.
The stories are available within The Netherlands since May 13th. This means that The Netherlands is the second country in the world (subsequent to Brazil), in which stories are being tested. LinkedIn launched a stories feature because they are convinced that right now it’s more important than ever to actively interact with each other. However, these stories are not yet available for company pages. There are only a few companies who currently have access to this new feature. KLM published the first LinkedIn story. During the day it was published, a huge increase in reach was visible and the stories seem to have raised positive reactions amongst the Dutch LinkedIn members.
The feature will be rolled out for all other companies later this year. It opens up opportunities to share information with followers, in order to grow the community with engagement and interaction. Since the stories are only visible on the platform for 24 hours, it enables a lot of exclusivity. It is approachable and easy to create. Stories are only available on mobile.
Companies can use LinkedIn Stories in several ways, such as:
- Increase visibility (branding).
- Engage followers with the story behind your brand and behind the scenes material.
- Support business goals in a creative way.
- Give tips and keep your followers up-to-date with important (real-time) updates.
- Built thought leadership.
- Humanize your brand/company.
Stories will be available for paid advertising later this year. They will first be available to the lucky few companies who also had first access to post stories organically. Subsequently, it will be available to all the other company pages. Obviously we will share the first results whenever stories are used by one of our clients for the first time. The paid stories are a very welcome feature within the LinkedIn advertising landscape, especially for branding and awareness campaigns.
New: LinkedIn Conversation ads
Another new feature that was recently rolled out by LinkedIn, is conversation ads. This feature is specifically focused on paid advertising. The ad type can be distributed from the LinkedIn Campaign Manager and can be viewed as a successor to the Sponsored InMail. This advertising message is sent from a personal profile, which means this person will be the sender of the message. Only a few companies currently have the possibility to send a message out of possession of the company itself. By the end of 2020, this will be available for every company.
This type of advertisement enables companies to communicate directly with its audience(s), straight from the LinkedIn Messenger. This facilitates companies to deliver interesting content directly to their audience. Think of relevant events or whitepapers for example. The registration for a webinar or download of a whitepaper takes place directly within the conversation. Easy for your audience, since only one click is needed in order to undertake a given action. Besides that, it is possible to directly link a conversation ad towards a lead gen form or newsletter subscription form. However, the biggest advantage of this type of advertisement is that it empowers conversations with your audience. Therefore it is a great way to increase engagement. In addition, you can add multiple call-to-actions. Reports help you subsequently to obtain deeper insights into the behaviour of the audience, such as how many people click on each offer and how engaged they are with the conversation. This facilitates quick optimisation. Conversation ads could be deployed with several goals, such as a conversion-related message, as well as recruitment objectives.
An example of a conversation ad in the wild
As a company, always keep an eye on the tone of voice. Keep in mind that you are sending someone a message personally. Does the message feel like a sales pitch? Then this could be interpreted as annoying by the receiver. This challenges companies to look for personality and authenticity within their communication.
The polls on LinkedIn are back! Comparable to stories, the polls are a great way to foster interaction with your audience as a company and boost engagement. What have you always wanted to know about your business network? You can ask it now, quick and easy. This way you can for instance gain insights into which products or services that you offer as a company are perceived as most interesting by your audience, which features or services your audience is still missing, or what kind of event or webinar your audience is interested in. Or just ask a fun question in order to strengthen the brand image or drive eagerness towards an upcoming event.
An additional benefit of polls on LinkedIn is that you can share them within specific LinkedIn groups. Do you have a question regarding a specific topic and are you looking for the right experts to answer this question? Share your poll within a group with members who have a lot of knowledge regarding this specific topic. This will increase the quality of responses to your poll and enables you to gain interesting insights. Which you could later share with your audience. Let the engagement flow in!
After 8 years LinkedIn brings events back to the platform. Recently the feature was also rolled out for companies, which makes it easier for businesses to share their relevant events with their audience. There is no more need for a separate registration page on your website, you can guide your audience directly towards the event page on LinkedIn. The biggest benefit is that you can invite your audience to your company’s events yourself. Even better: your audience and followers can also invite their own network. This massively stimulates word-of-mouth marketing around your event, while also attracting the right audience for the event.
In order to make the most out of LinkedIn’s event feature, combine it with another relatively new feature: LinkedIn Live. Which enables live video on event pages.
Since the majority of events is currently organized online out of necessity, it is the perfect moment to test this feature and organise a LinkedIn Live Event. Share knowledge with your audience, without them having to leave the LinkedIn platform. Think of webinars or the launch of a new product of instance. Combining these features completes the event cycle: before, during and after.
Bring it all together
The new features of LinkedIn all share one trait: increasing engagement with your audience. Besides that, they provide space for more personal and authentic means of communication. Something that has never been stimulated like this before on a professional platform such as LinkedIn. Furthermore, the algorithm has also been changed recently, shifting the focus more towards high quality content. This is mainly determined by the time your audience spends on interacting with your content. The visibility of your content is therefore highly influenced by the popularity. In other words: high quality and personal content is becoming more crucial on LinkedIn.
These functionalities also offer lots of opportunities to reinforce each other within a full funnel approach. Are you organising an online event for your business audience as a company? Try setting up a live event within a LinkedIn event page. Promote the event through stories and conversation ads and ask for input from your audience through a poll on your event page beforehand. This way you will find out what really interests your audience and what kind of takeaways they would like to obtain by attending your event. To conclude you can share short snippets throughout and after the event through LinkedIn stories and create a momentum around the event and complete the event storyline. The possibilities are endless!