Whether you like it or not, if you work in a B2B company, there’s no way around using LinkedIn. You can’t go over it, under it, around it. You must go through it.
How LinkedIn started and what’s changed
LinkedIn began as a place for job seekers to find jobs and post their resume, but it’s become much more. Almost every professional can be found on LinkedIn, whether or not they actively use their profile.
It’s become so much more: thought leadership, personal branding, news, groups, social selling.
LinkedIn is the closest social media platform to being a “hub” for all things work-related.
Who’s building other platforms?
Conspire wants to be the next LinkedIn, but it’s more focused on the networking side of things.
beBee is trying to become the platform for personal branding. While it’s interesting, I don’t see many “normal” people leaving LinkedIn in swarms (pun intended) to join beBee instead. It’s an experimental platform that may not stand the test of time.
What’s missing from these platforms?
Being the social hub for all things related to work. LinkedIn is the best at doing that right now, but it could be better.
For many professions, LinkedIn is still just the place where you decide to put up your resume and not where all of your professional activity takes place online.
Other platforms are not designed to appeal to the masses. They are very niche and tend to focus on only a few target audiences.
The feel of a social media site. They have not become mainstream for multiple industries, while LinkedIn is synonymous with being the professional social media site.
How do we evolve from here?
What would LinkedIn need to do to disrupt itself? Redesign… back to the drawing board… user experience… updated navigation… incorporate ideas from many of the niche social sites that attract engineers, designers, creatives, medicine, finance/accounting and academia. LinkedIn could even tailor the user experience based on industry or seniority.
Will the user experience change much since Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn last year? Not much has changed. Customer service is still subpar. The user experience is a little better, but metrics are limited to vanity metrics and are not as actionable as other social media channels.
No social channel is too big to fail. In the next five years, someone is going to figure out what professionals actually want in a social hub. They’re going to build something worth joining. They are going to disrupt the B2B social media landscape and cross the chasm to make it mainstream.