LinkedIn’s promoted tweets!

As someone who was involved in recommending that LinkedIn India join Twitter, more than a decade ago (while at Edelman, when handling the LinkedIn India mandate), I recall creating their Twitter handle myself… literally with my own hands.

So, to see them hard-selling LinkedIn like this via promoted tweets that don’t even make much sense in terms of connecting it to LinkedIn or the point of the platform is mildly distressing 🙂

I see these as low-brow engagement tactics that would no doubt get some perfunctory engagement but not as something that may lead people to engage more on LinkedIn, or even think of LinkedIn, the platform, in a positive connotation.

As I have always said, and explained in far greater detail in my book (and also in my corporate workshops), I see LinkedIn as the last bastion for sane, professional conversations (despite people trying their best to lower the bar every single day) online. However, I do understand that this alone won’t keep LinkedIn alive because those conversations are not going to generate them any revenue – the recruitment, sales and premium accounts will. But these casual Twitter promotions may not also lead to that goal, in any case.

Why should one platform make its presence on another? In this case, LinkedIn’s presence on Twitter.

The nature of these platforms is like that – LinkedIn is more of a slow-burn platform and broadly, the data suggests that people log in once or twice a week. Compare that to a Twitter or a Facebook where people seem to spend a lot more time, day after day. The Twitter timeline is usually very fast and busy.

So, LinkedIn is possibly trying to remind people that they too exist, on a fast timeline like Twitter, in the hope that they may want/remember to log in a bit more often than they do now. This is a good objective.

What I believe to be LinkedIn’s X-factor is this: it is the only social/professional platform where people have some incentive to behave reasonably well (though, of course, you could cite enough deviations to this by showcasing specific examples) because everything they utter here is right next to their entire educational and work history. It’s like they say something on top of their CV. That brings some amount of responsibility to sound sensible (to some extent) than what they may say on a private/personal network like Facebook or a public, anything-goes network like Twitter.

The other part is the word ‘professional’. Most people tend to assume, mistakenly, that ‘professional’ means something to do with ‘offices’. A professional is simply someone who earns their living through a professional activity. Professional is also connected with codes of conduct for certain types of jobs. But broadly, LinkedIn is a place for any kind of professional.

A career politician could talk politics on LinkedIn, with sane, meaningful and respectfully argued points. Politics is the politician’s professional, and they could use LinkedIn as a platform to be taken seriously.

An RJ could share audio segments of what she/he has done for a show. And be in the visible spectrum of corporates who could hire them for a service.

A sportsperson could talk about their perspectives on something that affects their sport/industry.

A film reviewer could share their video reviews on the platform. A chef may share their videos of making a dish. You may argue that these seem like ‘Facebook’ and ‘YouTube’ material and should not be shared on LinkedIn at all. But that belies the fact that for a professional film reviewer or a professional chef, those are their professions. And there are no rules that bar people from talking about their professional work on LinkedIn.

The opportunity is very wide. The connecting factor is that everyone’s talking about some kind of work they do, in some industry/sector, with a certain legitimacy and seriousness (not ‘serious’ as in ‘stiff’). And regardless of each person’s years of experience, they get a chance to demonstrate their thinking and articulation capabilities about their work/sector/industry/profession in a democratic way on LinkedIn.

These opinions and perspectives do not travel outside LinkedIn, because like Facebook, LinkedIn is also a walled-garden. But Twitter is an open platform. In most social media listening tools, 90%+ results come from Twitter. Twitter is also the only social media platform where individual tweets appear in a Google search result (subject to logins, of course), unlike any other platform’s content where you get only profile-level search results, not individual post levels.

So, highlighting well-articulated professional opinions and perspectives from LinkedIn, on Twitter, could be a great way to get more interested in spending quality time on LinkedIn.

There is enough precedent for this anyway.

Take a look at what Instagram shares (organically; not promoted tweets) on Twitter.

Instagram is, of course, showcasing Reels on Twitter now.

Or, see what TikTok shares on Twitter.

Or, let’s take YouTube’s Twitter handle!

Or, even the promoted tweets by TikTok.

The idea across all these is the same: to see more content and content creators like this, come to our platform. But even in the tweet, you do get to consume the actual content as-is; that is gain some value. But, if you go to that platform, you can get a lot more. They use Twitter to showcase content from their platform, that their users had created exclusively on their platform.

LinkedIn’s worldwide handle seems to be taking a cue from this quite well. That article opens on LinkedIn and quotes a lot of posts that were posted on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn India already has a lot of content editors who collate posts under related topics and share them as feature stories on LinkedIn. That would make great promotional material on Twitter’s promoted tweets. For example, “Here are X, Y, Z and A sharing their views on the state of real estate sector’s recovery in India”. Is it possible to find such a collation on Twitter? Not easily – you’d need to search and head to news articles and possibly blog posts by a lot of people. But this is considerably easier on LinkedIn. That is a great selling point for LinkedIn to showcase its value on Twitter and get more serious people to its platform.

Despite all my quibbles, despite all the jokes about it, LinkedIn is my first platform of choice, by a mile. On any given day, this is the platform where I gain tangibly useful perspectives and alternative viewpoints to consider and expand my world-view and thinking. I’d love to see LinkedIn showcase that benefit to more people on open platforms like Twitter and do less of low-brow engagement hacking.

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