LinkedIn Stories offer an easy way to share experiences and insights and build meaningful relationships with your professional community. The new format enables business professionals to share lighthearted content about their professional lives and start conversations without worrying about the content being permanently attached to their profile. It also offers PR, marketing and HR departments opportunities to create more entertaining and light-hearted posts for followers.
That’s what LinkedIn says anyway. Not everyone is convinced.
Text, images and videos up to 20 seconds long posted on LinkedIn Stories remain on the network for 24 hours. Vanishing content is popular with teen-agers and twenty-year-olds on SnapChat and Instagram. Facebook says it has found success with Stories. Microsoft-owned LinkedIn obviously hopes to follow the successful examples of other networks. Should LinkedIn users, who are typically older more and more button-downed than users of other networks, embrace the format?
Some marketers and social media experts say yes.
While yet another channel to manage might feel overwhelming, the format offers many new creative opportunities that support business goals, asserts Jillian Warren, a content marketer at Later.
Uses and Tips for LinkedIn Stories
Experts offer these suggestions for the format:
Establish goals and metrics. Know in advance what you want to achieve on LinkedIn Stories and determine how you will measure success. Gauge all potential content against the established goals.
Showcase in-house knowledge. Whether it’s resume advice from your HR team, a quick industry recap, or creative design pointers, sharing helpful tips is a sure-fire way to capture your audience’s attention. Make sure the content is snackable or skimmable.
Share real-time event updates. Stories are ideal for less polished, off-the-cuff content straight from live events such as awards ceremonies. Consider sharing soundbites or a sneak peek about what to expect.
Host a Q&A. A Q&A can showcase people behind your organization and humanize the brand. Invite your audience to submit them in advance through direct messages or traditional posts.
Share announcements. Because early adopters will gain extra attention, brands may wish to share all announcements, such as job opportunities and product news, on Stories. “If Facebook Stories are anything to go by, early adopters of LinkedIn Stories will set themselves ahead of the competition,” Warren says.
Appeal to students. Attract students and young professionals to your profile and offer advice as a mentor. Students and young professionals can contribute ideas as they grow into working professionals. The tactic also offers a superb recruiting tool. “Students are early professionals who may have dynamic and trendy ideas. If you connect with them, it will be fruitful since you will be exposed to new startup ideas,” suggests freelance writer Vidhi Bubna in Entrepreneur.
Keep it professional. In personal profiles, don’t deride your boss or a previous employer. And don’t post about what you ate for breakfast that day or a family vacation. Stick to business topics. “While no one can tell you exactly how to post on your profile, you probably shouldn’t be posting anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with your boss reading,” warns Caroline Hroncich, careers editor at Business Insider.
Avoid offending. It’s easy to cross the line on social media; some young people do it frequently on Instagram and Facebook. It’s worthwhile to install an editorial process in which experienced editors or managers review all posts before publishing, especially in the trial stages of using LinkedIn Stories.
Enterprising brands were quick to try the new format, according to the Drum. Fashion house Christian Dior Culture employed Stories posts to communicate behind the scenes shots from Paris Fashion Week in September. Other early adopters revealed competition winners, provided insights into creating new products and hosted audience Q&As.
Skeptical of LinkedIn Stories
Some observers rightfully wonder if the format will succeed on LinkedIn and if it’s worth trying. Communications consultant Arik Hansen, principal of ACH Communications, gave a succinct summary of initial reactions to the format: “Ugh.”
The format may be ideal for sharing somewhat trivial snippets of your life on other networks, but why would professionals do that on LinkedIn? Many LinkedIn users already hesitate to post on their feeds. They have trouble finding enough content as it is. Under-resourced social media teams probably won’t rush to produce regular content for Stories, Hansen predicts, adding that they cannot easily repurpose Stories like they do Instagram and Facebook. Brands have little or no meaningful business goals to attain through the format. They could seek to increase engagement, but engagement on the platform is already up this year.
Another issue: Compared to other networks, LinkedIn relies more on desktop traffic and less on mobile traffic. About four in 10 users access LinkedIn through desktop computers, but Stories are not available via desktop.
Bottom Line: LinkedIn Stories offer a new and potentially potent format. While some communications professionals have experimented with the posts that disappear after 24 hours, it’s not clear if they will produce the same results as they have on other networks.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.