I can remember creating my LinkedIn profile while I was at University, hoping that it would help me, come graduation, attract the attention of recruiters and potential employers. For the past few years I’ve grown to accept the InMails from recruiters offering me “great roles at growing and leading companies” and the web developers/link builders at affordable prices as part of the background noise. On the whole, LinkedIn has been good to me, my last two jobs have come from their jobs app, but one thing I can’t accept is this new breed of LinkedIn user, treating the platform like Facebook and sharing ‘Facebook-style’ posts.
But that’s how we distinguish the main difference between the two platforms, right? We mentally draw the line on which parts of our lives are appropriate for each platform. LinkedIn by definition is a ‘business-oriented social networking service’ while Facebook is a place for connecting with friends and family, among other things.
On Facebook I’ll share a rant about Hull City losing their manager two weeks before the start of the new season, or about how good a show on Amazon Instant Video is – and on LinkedIn, I’ll share articles I’ve written or read, or if I’m looking for a recommendation for a WordPress developer.
From a consumption point of view, I expect to the see the same on LinkedIn, I’ve even grown to accept the recruitment noise and seeing what positions people are hiring for, I even like that some are branching out and creating visuals rather than just using plain text.
In recent months there has been a gradual shift in the type of content and engagement on LinkedIn. Posts about religion, jokes, animal memes, brain teasers and even funny videos have began to creep into our feeds. There has also been a rise in users using LinkedIn for dating purposes, although whether or not each instance of this is real, is for you to decide.
So why is this the case?
Facebook user engagement growth slowing:
Facebook’s active user base has been plateauing for a number of years, even more so in the last couple thanks to Snapchat and user cannibalisation from it’s own properties, such as Instagram – both of which are attracting the younger audience. It’s also been estimated that between now and 2018, total time spent on social networks as a whole will increase by 5.9% but time spent on Facebook will only grow by 5.3%.
Lazy social media management:
One thing I’ve seen a lot of in companies is a misunderstanding of social media and social media management. I’ve worked with people who have been given the responsibility of ‘social’ with little direction or thought process that has then been put into their objectives, like ‘reach 5000 Twitter followers’.
It’s also commonplace to see social media management tools such as Hootsuite being implemented by companies in order to save time. Couple this software with misunderstanding of what the networks are, the lines can easily be blurred and content can just be blasted to all networks without any care or thought.
Are we nearing the end of a growth cycle?
Outside of Facebook’s predicted growth slump, is this something we can expect to see across the board? We’ve definitely seen Twitter face growth issues despite it’s fire hose deal and integration into Google SERPs – could this be a sign of things to some as new Networks like This.cm and Peach are popping up all the time. The definition of social interaction has also evolved with millennials and the younger generation moving towards Snapchat.
Maybe the sudden rise in Instagram activity, and the sudden increase in LinkedIn activity are signals that Facebook is no longer the content aggregator of choice that we’re flocking to on a regular basis.
One this is for certain, if we want LinkedIn to return to it’s original state, we need to take a stance against the Facebook-style posts. Commenting on them saying shouldn’t this be on Facebook? Only increases the posts reach and introduces it to your audience – feeding the beast. The best thing to do, is to simply ignore the post.
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