LinkedIn video: Will marketers ruin this, too?

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By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

LinkedIn gave the ability to upload video to its general user in August of 2017. In June of 2018, they added sponsored content and corporate video. Now, in a quick survey of my LinkedIn feed, nearly half of the content is video-based.

Mark Schaefer recently wrote that “Marketers flock to whatever is popular until they ruin it.” And Linkedin video seems to be on that same path to destruction.

But, first, let’s look at a few people doing it well.

LinkedIn video success stories

Suzanne Nguyen, often known online by her pseudonym, StringStory, credits LinkedIn video for a growth of 30,000 followers in 14 months. Admittedly, as a LinkedIn Top Voice, she was granted early access to uploading video content on the platform. But she began as a relatively unknown creator in Australia. There is no doubt that LinkedIn video has helped her build her personal brand. Suzanne has since gone “all-in” on video, forming a company that touts the power of video and teaches would-be influencers to harness it.

Adam Marx‘s story might be a more typical case. Adam is a serial music entrepreneur who now lists himself as a Master Storyteller on LinkedIn. While he started with a small but loyal following of a few thousand readers on Medium, he really gathered notoriety by harnessing LinkedIn video.

At heart, Adam is a writer, so many of his posts still follow the LinkedIn-poetry text format. Even his videos are accompanied by pithy, hashtag-laden commentary and a plethora of mentions to alert connections to his post. After only a day, this video post had garnered over 600 views but an even more impressive level of engagement. It had over 35 reactions and 16 unique comments. Many of these comments spawned long threads of conversation between the poster, Adam, and other readers.

A few other LinkedIn video influencers to follow include: Roberto Blake, Goldie Chan, and Corey Warfield.

People are beginning to tout the power of LinkedIn video. David DeCelle pointed out that when he published an article on LinkedIn, a previously important feature of LinkedIn, it received 400 views. A video on the same topic had nearly 10 times as many views.

This Forbes article offers new ways to make your LinkedIn videos shine, including the helpful tidbit to share your video in LinkedIn groups to grow your network rapidly.

The other side of the story

But there are also detractors as everyone tries to make their mark with LinkedIn video.

A recent post on reddit called out typical LinkedIn influencer behaviors in a bitter but accurate “starter pack.” In the comments was an evisceration of the LinkedIn video culture:

“Posting videos of himself that he recorded with his front facing phone camera.

Always talking about some motivational bull[****], some “PERSONAL” topics nobody gives a [s**t] about in order to show how authentic he is, or a video that’s basically virtue signalling, talking how he either helped someone who did him wrong in the past or a video about how people who cold pitch are idiots and how he’s a good person for BuIlDiNg ReLaTiOnShIpS iNsTeAd Of PiTcHiNg.” –nehardElhidine

“ends the anecdote that never happened with “believe in people and people will believe in you. agree?” –incorporated8

“And tags a [s**t]load of people so that his posts gets more engagement” –nehardEldidine

There is even an entire Twitter account devoted to the dregs of LinkedIn posts, increasingly dominated by cringe-worthy videos.

LinkedIn video hype: shades of Facebook mistakes?

linkedin videosIn light of recent lawsuits brought against Facebook for the conflated viewership they reported on video, LinkedIn’s transition to video could seem unwise. If you believe the allegations, Facebook learned of its viewership errors as early as 2014, but continued pushing the advance of video as if 100% viewership were a realistic feat for content creators. In 2016, Facebook was forced to publicly apologize for these overstated numbers.

However, for many newsrooms, the damage had been done. In a time when publishers were floundering for attention, the lure of video proved too tempting. The suits allege that many newsrooms fired journalists in favor of hiring slews of new video creators.

It would seem that LinkedIn is giving video a shot even in light of the failures experienced by Facebook.

Whether you love or hate LinkedIn video personally, it’s hard to deny that it’s a powerful tool. The question is, how will your brand embrace it in a way that matters — in a way that doesn’t become a caricature that people mock on Twitter or reddit?

Video is undeniably popular and powerful but to be effective, it has to connect with people in a unique way. If you’re just following the crowd because video seem like it’s the thing to do, you’re wasting your time and money.

KikiSchirrKiki Schirr does growth marketing for the automated API documentation tool Redoc.ly. Kiki enjoys absorbing the tech scene and current trends. You can contact her easily through Twitter.

 

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