LinkedIn Live videoLinkedIn is joining the live video crowd. Its new “LinkedIn Live” will allow members to share live video from conferences, product announcements, Q&A sessions, earnings calls, graduation and awards ceremonies and other events.

LinkedIn launched the feature in beta mode to select organizations in the U.S. this week. It will post a contact form in the coming weeks for other companies that wish to create live videos. While there’s no definite timeline, a broader roll-out is likely to come in the near future.

The professional network, which introduced its first native video only the summer of 2017, arrives late to the live streaming game. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter already offer live video streaming.

Late to Live Video

LinkedIn found that video provides strong engagement, more traffic and increased advertising revenue. Users are 20 times more likely to share a video on the platform than any other type of post.

“Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now and the one most likely to get people talking,” Pete Davies, LinkedIn’s director of product management, told Tech Crunch. Also, users have requested live video more than other features, he said.

LinkedIn apparently eschews the slapdash, user-generated content popular on mobile apps. It partnered with third-party live-streaming developers to help users create more polished live videos.

Live video could provide the network new monetization opportunities, Tech Crunch notes. For instance, it could charge viewers for unique experiences like conferences, or include some live events in its paid subscriptions to attract more premium subscribers.

Momentum for Live Video

LinkedIn, not known for fast innovations, has enjoyed a resurgence of late. It has introduced and enhanced features and seen engagement and its user base grow, points out Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today. Live video could provide additional interest in the platform.

“The opportunity to broadcast direct to a growing professional audience will hold a lot of appeal, and it could see a new push on B2B live content, which may help build momentum for the option,” Hutchinson says.

Not everyone is sure live video will become popular on LinkedIn or if companies will produce quality videos that interest viewers. Jo Rice-Jones at the KnowTechie blog predicts a spam-filled deluge of infomercials and annoying Q&A sessions with start-ups and VC firms.

The product, he says, seems to be an effort to join “the cool kids” and transform LinkedIn, now little more than a souped-up job board, into a bona fide social media network – a questionable outcome.

Bottom Line: LinkedIn live video offers many possible uses for not-for-profit organizations, companies and B2B marketers, including product demonstrations, earnings calls and conference presentations. While the feature is only open to select firms at this point, many organizations will likely show interest. The challenge will to create videos of professional quality that gain and hold viewers’ attention rather than boring, obviously promotional content.