On any given day I get one or two emails from insiders at Social Media and Technology Companies that I either work with or use their products/services. I also get emails from unknown third party vendors that are sending me news that they think I will find useful (remember how we’ve been talking about adding value to your prospective customer’s lives?). I have never been more pumped on receiving one of these emails than this morning.
When I rolled out of bed at 5 AM, as I do every morning, I grabbed my cell phone to take a quick scroll through my email before I started executing my plan for the day. Before I could even get two messages into my inbox, I saw an email from one of my vendors with the subject line “LinkedIn Algorithm Changes!”.
I don’t know if it was because it was early and I wasn’t fully awake yet, but I saw this and instantly got pissed. Generally, when I read about algorithm changes, the changes the given platform made usually makes a very small percentage of people super happy and everyone else devastated and threatening to leave the platform. Now I had to know what was in this email.
First Let’s Set Some Context
So first off, it was reported that LinkedIn was reporting ‘record levels of engagement’ (50% growth YOY) and that they recently announced a change to its algorithm. Record levels of engagement. It’s always nice to be right (Honestly, I don’t thrive on being right, but I love it when an independent third party backs up the words that have been coming out of my mouth).
So this sounds like a positive change, right? After all if their YOY numbers are up 50%, why would they do something rash to impact that amazing growth?
They also included a diagram of their new algorithm so people could more easily understand it. Here is a diagram of their new algorithm:
|I know. It’s a diagram. So what does this diagram mean? Let’s listen to
what LinkedIn said themselves about the new changes:
“More and more people are using the feed and giving feedback to their
network’s posts: our members generate tens of millions of viral actions
(likes, comments, and reshares), and the number is increasing more than 50% YoY.
However, we found that these increases weren’t equally distributed.
In fact, at the beginning of 2018, we were in danger of creating an economy where all the gains in viral actions accrued to the top 1% power users,
while the majority of creators who don’t receive much feedback were
receiving less than ever.”
In other words: LinkedIn wants to reward people who contribute and engage on the platform more equally, hence the diagram above.
Here’s what it means going forward, according to LinkedIn:
“We have rebuilt our machine learning model for candidate selection from scratch, with new objectives and different algorithms. As part of this, we
introduced the prediction of professional conversation contribution into
our model to capture the community-building aspect of each feed update.”
This is HUGELY positive for creators.
There has never been a better time to post content on LinkedIn and build your brand. There just hasn’t. Their engagement growth is crushing and as I’ve said many times before, they still rank as one of the most
undervalued platforms when it comes to engagement on the Internet.
With Great Rewards Come Great Responsibility
So this is awesome right? The 1% (Big Brands and Power Users) can now be unseated by small brands that drive lots of valuable content to the platform, engage with the users that are sharing the content and all around become active, good citizens on the platform. BUT, with every great opportunity, there is a responsibility you need to be aware of.
The responsibility here is one I recently spoke about on our premiere episode of our video podcast. Bluntly put, your responsibility is to be sure not to fuck this up. You just cannot afford to do that.
Do what’s right. Create thought-provoking content specifically built to perform well within the LinkedIn framework. Create CONSISTENT, frequent content. Engage with those that are liking, sharing and commenting on your content. Become the popular person in the room by working it until you have engaged with everyone and truly made it a social conversation that ultimately will pay you back in the currency of new clients.
As long as small brands command these digital marketing best practices, LinkedIn will have no reason to rethink their position on their new algorithm. I expect that they’ll not only keep moving the same direction, but also continue to make tweaks and changes that will even increase brand size equity and benefit smaller brands even more.