If you’ve been paying attention to LinkedIn, you’ve noticed that the popular professional networking site has been making a lot of changes, and they’re all for the better.
On its initial roll out, LinkedIn focused on 1:1 networking interactions between users and recruiters. Simply put LinkedIn was (and still is) the place for professionals to search for and find one another. With more than 225 million users in more than 200 countries, a LinkedIn profile has become as essential as a business card.
In the past months we have seen LinkedIn enhance its model. Platform acquisitions, greater commitments to a mobile market, and an increased ability to showcase personal and professional brands have allowed LinkedIn to morph into more than just a place for connecting. The social networking site is now also a platform through which professionals can create and drive content.
In April, LinkedIn acquired Pulse, an application developed by Alphonso Labs. Pulse, made popular on the iPad and Android, allows the creation of custom news feeds. Given that LinkedIn has been pushing original content through big name CEOs via Influencer posts, this is a natural acquisition for a company that is diving into the world of content publishing. Influencers such as Richard Branson and Jack Welch boast more than 2.2 million and 1 million followers respectively. Customizing your news feed on the LinkedIn home page gives you the chance to follow industry-relevant news and advice from influential leaders in a society where time is a scarce commodity; today, sifting through newspapers and websites isn’t always an option.
The good news for LinkedIn is that this new area still supports their core mission. More users are connecting around this content, commenting on/sharing posts, and building themselves professionally with this easily accessible news and knowledge.
The acquisition of Pulse has not been LinkedIn’s only venture. May saw the company purchasing SlideShare— affectionately nicknamed the “YouTube of slideshows”—for $119 million. Once again, the acquisition allows LinkedIn to tighten its grip on professional content and integrate presentations into its robust platform.
LinkedIn has seen to it that the user experience is becoming more meaningful. Profiles have expanded ways to showcase accomplishments by sharing projects, news, and photos. Company pages have become destinations for users to learn about their favorite organizations and businesses while allowing these institutions can push their content out to followers. To top it off, LinkedIn’s new mobile app makes it quick and easy to consume these shiny, new influencer posts, as well as the posts and updates from the rest of your professional network.
It is too early to judge how these changes will impact LinkedIn’s bottom line. Stock prices have been steadily increasing over the past year, and while the majority of the professional networking giant’s revenue is derived from its Talent Solutions, revenue from marketing continues to grow. Still, the company has been priming itself for an increase in revenue from sponsored posts as more users adopt LinkedIn for networking and industry news. LinkedIn has been my favorite network this year. I am loving that I can walk away from a LinkedIn session feeling smarter, inspired, and engaged through other professionals. If LinkedIn keeps this momentum, there is no telling how far they will go not only in 2013, but in the decade ahead.
Headline photo courtesy of Nan Palmero.