LinkedIn is accomplishing something in China which no other social media site has been able. They are growing and remaining unblocked! But how long can this last? I think that depends on LinkedIn and their strategy going forward.
Whereas 5 million may seem like a low number, it is large considering its short history. If Linkedin’s last quarter growth is annualized we see triple digits this year and for the foreseeable future as long as it avoids being blocked. One of the primary reasons that Linkedin has remained off the China government radar is its focus on B2B relationships. China government’s main concern about social media has always been its lightening rod quality for social opinion. Linkedin has historically been fairly clean of social gossip and focused exclusively on building professional business relationships. However, this may not be the case going forward.
Linkedin has made significant changes to its layout and with those changes have come changes in message type and tone. Linkedin has better integrated itself with posting services like Hootsuite and Buffer which allow people to publish to multiple platforms at one time. The result is that people are less discriminating on what they post where, often opting for a “post everywhere” approach so content is becoming more homogeneous across social media sites. Additionally, some of the biggest changes have come to the business pages themselves. LinkedIn has done away with the easy to use and maintain tabs and replaced them with cumbersome, difficult to set up, impossible to maintain, questionable purpose showcase pages. When I searched for “LinkedIn showcase pages” on Google the 3rd result was www.SocialMediaToday.com article on why NOT to open Showcase pages. I think they summarize my opinions well.
As LinkedIn continues to move to a more mainstream look and feel for it site they will continue to invite a looser category of content. With this comes a distraction from the core purpose and greater attention from scrutinizing parties. My advice to businesses and those that choose to use LinkedIn as a business source, to use discipline in your posts and actions. Be cautious not to mix work and play and this will assist you in making and making the most of business opportunities on LinkedIn.