It’s never too late to embrace video content and livestreaming.
That seems to be LinkedIn’s mindset, as it recently announced a live video tool that will enable users to broadcast to connections and followers.
Launching in beta first in the U.S., LinkedIn Live (as the product is called) will be invite-only. In coming weeks, LinkedIn will also post a contact form for others who want to get in on the action. It’s not clear when and if LinkedIn will make it possible for everyone to create LinkedIn Live videos, but if you consider how it developed its publishing features for written work, that will come later, too.
Initial live content that LinkedIn hopes to broadcast lines up with the kind of subject matter you might already see in LinkedIn’s news feed: the plan is to cover conferences, product announcements, Q&As and other events led by influencers and mentors, office hours from a big tech company, earnings calls, graduation and awards ceremonies and more.
This marks LinkedIn’s latest effort to engage its 562 million users on top of providing a platform for career networking. In November, it tested a feature that lets users create real-world events and invite their online connections, sort of like Facebook Events.
Microsoft, which acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion, will supply the tool’s backend support. However, several livestreaming partners are involved in this launch.
… Microsoft is helping support LinkedIn Live through its Azure Media Services, providing the all important encoding technology to seamlessly stream live videos. LinkedIn is also partnering with Wirecast, Switcher Studio, Wowza Media Systems, Socialive, and Brandlive to allow content creators to access experienced broadcasting streaming services.
The announcement arrives on the heels of a LinkedIn report which shows that video content is performing well on its platform—along with bringing the company revenue from marketing partners.
… [I]n the 17 months since launching video features, LinkedIn has seen a big boost in traffic and revenues from (non-live) video on its platform.
“Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking,” said Pete Davies, the director of product management at LinkedIn. He and LinkedIn declined to give specific figures in terms of how many video creators or viewers there are, except to note that “millions” of LinkedIn members have used the feature.
LinkedIn’s interest in livestreaming comes after it debuted its native video platform in August 2017, and the company’s late entry against competitors means it faces a battle for users’ attention and views.
The Verge reported:
LinkedIn will now be facing strong competition from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and many other services that offer live video streaming services. LinkedIn clearly thinks it can differentiate based on its target audience, and the type of video it will offer.
However, the platform’s focus on professional connections and content should make its feature alluring to brand managers and executives alike.
Along with live video broadcasts, LinkedIn is seeking to make the platform more enticing by beefing up its Groups features. Changes include adding notifications of new groups posts, special alerts when your connections post in groups, group cover photos and more robust moderation tools, including a revamped post review and approval process.
The features are meant to offer users more opportunities to engage with their audiences—and with that, additional chances for brand managers and executives to highlight their organizations’ news and successes.
However, LinkedIn should tread lightly on features that overzealous PR and marketing pros might use to spam their connections, which could lead to users ignoring the new content.
These new tools for LinkedIn Groups are welcome developments. Yet, the professional social network must be wary of their similarity to the group notifications of the past. LinkedIn must be more careful with how it alerts Groups updates. It has to tread lightly so marketers will not abuse it to flood member inboxes again.
What do you think of LinkedIn’s live video announcement?