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Contented thinking: LinkedIn’s growth means content must work harder

Matt Smith

September 8, 2020

Matt Smith is chief content officer at WHJE

Lockdown has changed many things – not least our behaviour – but one silver-lining for Microsoft, at least, has been the growth of our collective appetite for certain types of social media.

Among the star performers of recent months is LinkedIn which has experienced unparalleled growth through the COVID-19 lockdown, while at the same time unsurprisingly seeing less ads and job listings.

The platform grew by 15 million members to a total of 690 million in the first quarter of 2020 alone, and 40% of those members are using the site daily. This change in use and time spent on the site began with the COVID-19 lockdown.

Once on the platform the way in which users have been posting and engaging has also changed through the period With more people working from home or being on furlough, conversations between connections rose by 55%, with a 60% increase in users posting on the news feed, and 30% more users were checking their feed more regularly to stay up to date with Coronavirus related news.

Posts which are experiencing the most engagement are ‘How to’s’, list posts, short articles, and industry news, and the most popular topics are technology, business, science, society, and finance.

LinkedIn also offers LinkedIn Learning, previously known as Lynda.com, after acquiring it in 2015 and offering it as a video learning platform alongside your LinkedIn profile, recommending you courses and videos to help develop your current skills.

Director of brand and consumer marketing Srividya Gopani said that professionals watched nearly 4 million hours of content on LinkedIn Learning in March, a nearly fifty percent increase month-over-month.

This also helped to increase LinkedIn Live streams up 158% since February, mainly because of the lack of face-to-face communication, but also the use of LinkedIn learning encouraged more people to share their new knowledge.

It will be telling to see how the LinkedIn stats perform in the next quarterly report, as some workplaces return to the office.

Some of us are old enough to remember the surge in usage during the credit crisis. My suspicion is that like then some gains will abate but many will be embedded into new behaviour.

Whatever the new normal, the tech giant is not resting on its laurels, moving into the events space too, launching their LinkedIn Virtual events, which allow you to schedule content like LinkedIn Live videos or recorded webinars.

Clearly LinkedIn is not the only game in town but it is currently an important one. But the growth shines a light on the importance of quality content. To lead thinking and action now requires empathy.

Content needs to enlighten and inform and tell readers things not readily available elsewhere. ‘Me too’ will not cut through. Our research has generated as much content as anything we have done recently because it is about listening first and then leading the debate.

People want and need leaders at the moment in all walks of life and these qualities should inform what individuals and to a lesser extent businesses say.

Grandstanding and ‘me first’ posts are distinctly tone deaf. As LinkedIn continues to dominate the business space,  the content, in body and format, that everyone publishes can and should work harder.


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