social media & social networks

LinkedIn’s new features under the microscope

What are the most outstanding new features of LinkedIn in 2024? Reid Hoffmann’s professional network was created almost 21 years ago (in May 2003) and acquired by Microsoft in 2016. Visionary Marketing invited Bruno Fridlansky to talk about this platform, of which he is an expert. Together we were able to answer a few basic questions about using the tool and review some of its latest features. It’s worth noting that Bruno isn’t ecstatic about most of them.

The New Features of LinkedIn Under the Microscope

We’ve been using LinkedIn professionally for 20 years, a tiny bit less than the age of the application, which will celebrate its 21st birthday in May 2024. Nevertheless, this gives us a lot of hindsight on the use of the leading business-to-business application, which over time has managed to do away with all its competitors.

LinkedIn's new features
LinkedIn ‘s new features: working with our favourite AI tools, we headed for a benevolent illustration that describes an optimistic and innovative corporate world. At the end of the day, Midjourney (with a little help from ChatGPT) got it right. LinkedIn is a bit like a business district where you walk around and pick up information, but also where you meet people. All in all, even if we are fairly critical of some of LinkedIn’s new features, particularly those related to AI, on the whole we remain very keen on this platform, which has no competitors.

LinkedIn gone rich and the enemy of reach

As a key player in this sector, LinkedIn is a flourishing platform with annual revenues of more than $15 billion. What is particularly remarkable is the rapid growth in recent years of this turnover, which has even almost doubled since 2020.

A business volume that, compared to Microsoft’s total revenues is still small (around 7% of the Redmond firm’s $211 billion), but substantial in the world of social networks, even with a very business-to-business positioning. To give you an idea, it’s just over 10% of Meta’s turnover in 2023, but around 5 times as much as the advertising revenue generated by X in this period.

LinkedIN and new features
LinkedIn’s surprisingly expanding turnover probably has little to do with the advent if new features on the platform, but much more to do with a business model that has found its audience and the fact that there are no competitors today

But beyond these staggering figures, there are a number of questions to be asked.

First of all, there’s the recurring interrogation about “reach”. Many users are wondering how and when their publications will be seen and by whom…

LinkedIn is rich but its reach is poor

A question that is increasingly hard to answer. So much so that the platform seems to be playing a game of cat and mouse with its content creators.

Recently, a large number of the latter has opted for content creation techniques favoured by B2C influencers. Selfies flourished but have been heavily criticised on the B2B network. This trend seems to have been halted, Bruno Fridlansky confirms. Some of us continue to complain that many self-focused publications are still populating their feeds, however. Perhaps the measures put in place by LinkedIn are not being deployed in the same way or at the same time for all users, which seems to be customary according to Bruno.

But that’s not the most important philosophical question: what is a tool made for, and ultimately, in this platform economy, are these social tools at our disposal, or have we become their slaves? Bruno’s answer to this question struck me as particularly apt:

It’s a platform that was originally made available to us but now we are the ones feeding the beast.

Beyond these considerations, most readers are interested in the tool’s new features. No matter how hard we try, repeating over and over again that a tool is just a tool, we might as well bite the bullet. Hence our review with Bruno of the various LinkedIn features that have been added to the tool recently.

Bells for a Better View of Content on Your Network

LinkedIn added a feature some time ago, a bell icon, that you can activate if you don’t want to miss anything posted by someone you follow. But things aren’t quite as simple as that. First of all, try and click on your 25,000 followers’ bells! Good luck with it. But that’s not all.

LinkedIn's new features
The bell is one of LinkedIn’s new features, but not everything works exactly as it seems.

The bell doesn’t always work as planned. It’s just supposed to send a notification about a publication. And I’ve seen comments that, when you exceed 20 or 25 bell activations, it grinds to a halt.

The bell won’t solve our reach issue it seems.

AI et foncationnalités
LinkedIn expert Bruno Fridlansky gave us his thoughts on LinkedIn’s new features – Photo by Yann Gourvennec

New LinkedIn Features: Certified Profiles

Recently, LinkedIn introduced user verification via third party to its users. Bruno, as well as yours truly, has a verified account. This feature, according to Bruno, has not been fully deployed across Europe.

LinkedIn's new features
Clear Secure is the US company used by LinkedIn to establish identity verification. Its presentation on its website is not the clearest or most transparent. To find out more go to good old Wikipedia which tells us, I don’t know if it’s reassuring that this company first went bankrupt six years after it was founded.

To validate one’s account, one has to enrol with an American-based service that certifies one’s identity. This entity is based outside our European countries. Above all it is vulnerable, like all technological activities, to cyber attacks that could make our confidential information and personal identities visible. It should be noted that this observation applies, and perhaps even more so, to European-based identify verification services such as the Gov.UK ID check app or France Connect + in France and other European equivalents. Just because these services are based in the UK or Europe is no guarantee that they will ever be targeted.

Maybe we could have thought about that before getting our accounts validated. Clicking before thinking is never a good idea and we all fell for it. It doesn’t take much stretch of the imagination to wonder how a cybercriminal could use our identities and steal them to commit a crime.

If I had to do it again, I’m not sure I would. Especially as it is not certain that this functionality will be maintained given the extreme volatility of LinkedIn’s features overtime. However, if the platform decided to link the ability to add contacts to one’s network with this certification (to avoid fake accounts), this would change the overall picture. Nevertheless, one should be able to choose one’s provider and switch to Gov.UK or France connect + or whatever tool promoted by one’s country’s government.

Have We Become Slaves to AI?

Another feature discussed with Bruno was the ability to reply to collaborative or supposedly collaborative articles. Bruno was very critical of this feature. The questions posed by LinkedIn, which are pushed to users in order to make them believe they could be granted a hypothetical “expert” badge and status, are in fact produced with generative AI.

Bruno even pointed out that some of these questions sometimes missed the point, and especially the rules for using the service. Asking, for example, “How do you ‘scrape’ data from LinkedIn?”

This expert status, while relative, is only temporary, Bruno explains. In short, it’s best to avoid wasting your time. This exercise involves providing content to the platform free of charge and becoming a slave to the social platform, for the benefit of an algorithm. It’s likely that no one will read your publications, which even you will find hard to recover. (Bruno provided a tip to explain how to recover them by logging out, but it was a trifle complicated…)

If I don’t recover the content, I produce so that it is at least visible on my profile, what’s the purpose? At the end of the day, if a subject uncovered in a collaborative article appeals to you, take up the question and deal with it in a post on your profile independently of the “collaborative” article.

Writing Posts With Artificial Intelligence

A feature not yet deployed in all languages (for instance, it’s not available to French-speaking audiences as we are writing these lines), is the possibility of writing articles or correcting them rather, using artificial intelligence in LinkedIn. Bruno doesn’t see much point in it.

In his opinion, there are enough text-generating AIs here and there to allow you to compose a post without having to resort to a wonky feature inside LinkedIn. But Bruno went on.

If it’s a question of using AI to write something that you will copy and paste into a publication, I consider that to be shooting yourself in the foot. Assuming that the AI makes you a superb publication based on a prompt, what’s going to happen the day we meet in real life?

As a result, you had better waste five minutes of your precious time, so you avoid looking silly later on.

Reacting to Publications with AI

A new feature offered by LinkedIn, is the ability to react to a publication, directly using suggestions offered by artificial intelligence: “Very good comment!”, “I fully agree with you”… Etc. Here again, Bruno’s reaction is rather lukewarm, if not downright negative.

It’s a downward spiral. I agree that LinkedIn members sometimes need encouragement to speak up and post comments, but providing such ready-made answers is bad. It reminds me of “LinkedIn pods at their worst”.

LinkedIn Not So New Feature: Newsletters

The ability to write newsletters directly in LinkedIn has been available for a few years. It has had its ups and downs, with the platform bringing it forward, then withdrawing it, then putting it back, and so on. A rather erratic practice of innovation, yet not unusual when it comes to Internet giants.

This is an interesting feature, but Bruno advises us to use it in copy-paste mode. Our own content should always remain ours, he added.

It should be considered as ancillary content, and your newsletter should not be based on LinkedIn. They decide at will whether your content should be shown or hidden. Yet this content is yours, the benefit should be too. It should be up to us to decide who we want to show it to.

Insofar as the platform decides and has the right of life and death over our publications, it’s about time content creators took back control of their work.

This newsletter feature on LinkedIn is interesting. However, if we put all our eggs into one basket, the day LinkedIn decides that everything has to be paid for, how will we manage?

Videos and LinkedIn: A Love-Hate Relationship!

This isn’t a new feature as such, but the question regularly arises as to whether putting a video in a LinkedIn post improves its visibility or reduces it. Unfortunately, there is no absolute answer to this question. But Bruno’s makes perfect sense.

Are videos a plus or minus on LinkedIn? I republished a video recently and it “hit the bull’s-eye” compared to other publications. And yet I’ve often been told that you shouldn’t republish a post! Was it the video that gave the post more impact? I think it’s mainly the message you’re putting across that counts, the quality of your content and who you’re addressing.

In conclusion,

It doesn’t matter what content mode you use. What’s important is that you have an important message to get across. Interesting and enriching content. Here’s Bruno’s conclusion.

Let’s make videos and see how our audience reacts. Let’s do carousels otherwise. And if we want to do text, let’s do text! The idea is to get a message across to our fellow human beings, rather than wondering whether a particular format will clinch it better than another. At the end of the day, what does “reach” mean? Is it about our customers? The people we find interesting, those who will read our stuff, watch our videos, read our content or our carousels? And anyway, the algorithm keeps changing. Native video posting used to do the job, and later it didn’t because the algorithm had changed. At one point surveys were a big thing and LinkedIn was pushing them. We then had surveys about this and that and the other. Most were completely inane. I created one that made no sense just for fun. And it ended up being a big hit! Then it stopped working. The algorithm had changed again. In my mind, you have to use a humane tone of voice then favour one format over all else and stick with it.

Yann Gourvennec
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Yann Gourvennec

Yann Gourvennec created in 1996. He is a speaker and author of 6 books. In 2014 he went from intrapreneur to entrepreneur, when he created his digital marketing agency. ———————————————————— Yann Gourvennec a créé en 1996. Il est conférencier et auteur de 6 livres. En 2014, il est passé d'intrapreneur à entrepreneur en créant son agence de marketing numérique. More »


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