The story of LinkedIn: 11 years old and still going strong

February 28, 2014Uncategorized

The story of LinkedIn

At the end of last year, we predicted LinkedIn would become the social media platform of 2014, and it looks like we were right. Companies and individuals are flocking in the thousands to get a piece of the network, and the stats are pretty impressive – 200 conversations are occurring every minute on LinkedIn.

The once-digital CV platform is changing its face and becoming a content marketing hub for professional bodies globally. In the last six months alone, we’ve seen two big changes and expect even bigger ones to come.

To celebrate the success of LinkedIn and how far the social media platform has come in such a short amount of time, let’s look at the story of LinkedIn and the 10 milestones that have made it a winner for businesses and individuals.

LinkedIn jobs: The three Rs of LinkedIn

LinkedIn positioned itself outside other online seeker services by relying on what they called ‘The three Rs of LinkedIn’: relationships, references and reputation. LinkedIn ultimately decided to rely on contacts to ensure companies could use a referral system to choose the best candidates for their company, as well as leveraging their LinkedIn profile to promote their reputation. Voila – the base of the social media job market was created.

How to make friends and influence people

One of LinkedIn’s most recognisable and unique features is the ‘People You May Know’ feature that was added in 2006. The feature works on the binary classification of how a member will connect with others according to mutual connections such as age, geographical distance, interests, etc. Aside from helping people reconnect with old contacts, it puts them in prime position to mingle with influential newcomers.

LinkedIn goes mobile

Like Facebook, Piczo and Bebo, LinkedIn saw the need to create real-time networking via a mobile-friendly platform in 2008. However, unlike social media bigwigs such as Facebook, LinkedIn created a simple mobile-friendly interface that was without the added bells and whistles mobile users had come to expect. Why? Jeff Redfern, head of mobile products for LinkedIn, explained that the mantra behind the LinkedIn mobile site was to “simplify”.

One CV, 1000 possibilities

In 2011, LinkedIn launched the ‘Apply with LinkedIn’ button. It was the first time that LinkedIn stepped out of their own website to help connect professionals looking for jobs and companies in search of the right candidate. By recognising that users already had their complete profiles updated on the site and that employers wanted the hiring process to go as smoothly as possible, LinkedIn made it easier for candidates to apply for jobs, while using the applicants’ data to automatically sort candidates for the employer.

In good company

The introduction of LinkedIn Company Pages in 2011 was one of LinkedIn’s first steps towards offering companies a professional extension of their own website. It’s an opportunity for businesses to market their brand, products and services while attracting valuable candidates all in one place. One of its greatest assets is how highly Google ranks LinkedIn Company Pages in its search results.

I’ll endorse you, will you endorse me?

When endorsements on LinkedIn were first presented in 2012, opinions were divided. Many people were wondering whether it would create an “I’ll endorse you if you endorse me” dynamic. The fact is that it positioned LinkedIn even further as a social professional site, where your connections could interact with your profile (social) to help you get the dream job (professional).

LinkedIn acquires SlideShare

LinkedIn and SlideShare joined forces in May 2012, describing their newfound relationship as chocolate and peanut butter for professionals. The acquisition of this sharing platform has enabled professionals to discover people through content, videos, documents and presentations.

LinkedIn and the social ad market

Just under 12 months ago, LinkedIn joined Facebook and Twitter with its offering of an ad product. The introduction of LinkedIn Sponsored Updates allows businesses to target a wider audience of members in a professional environment who they know work or are interested in a certain industry. Given how many people pay for Premium on LinkedIn, it’s a clear indication that people take the job-market platform seriously, are actively engaged and looking for added value.

Ta-da – showcase time!

Just over two years after rolling out Company Pages, LinkedIn introduced a new marketing tool that allows businesses to advertise specific products. Companies often cram a large amount of information into their Company Page, which can be off-putting and unnecessary if people aren’t interested in the brand as a whole. The new feature is a great addition to content marketing efforts as brands can provide information on a specific element of their business and further segregate and target their key audience.

The LinkedIn content collaboration

In support of the online content revolution, LinkedIn has introduced their longer posts update. LinkedIn users are now able to write essays, white papers, blogs and more in one status update. And if that’s not good enough, LinkedIn’s algorithm will push this content more broadly.

With the introduction of Sponsored Updates, Showcase Pages and longer statuses all within a short space of time, there is a worry that our once lightly sprinkled newsfeeds will be saturated with unworthy content. However, LinkedIn argues that the newest addition to the professional social platform will in fact add value and complement the SlideShare feature.

We agree that this could be a valuable addition and are looking forward to more of LinkedIn’s future additions, such as their introduction of a Chinese language version of LinkedIn.

Claire O’Dowd, Catalina Beltran and Haylie Pretorius

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