LinkedIn is betting that business influencers are on the rise.
The Microsoft-owned social network is launching a new “creator mode” on Tuesday to help users more easily promote their LinkedIn accounts and build a following on the app.
Creator profiles showcase a user’s articles, posts, and newsletters above everything else, including their professional resume. As with other creator-centric platforms like Instagram, users who land on their profiles will be prompted to “follow” rather than “connect” with them by default.
Those who opt in to the tool — the feature is being rolled out to all accounts in the coming days — can add up to five hashtags to their profile to highlight the topics they focus on. These hashtags will eventually be used to recommend their account to other LinkedIn users with similar interests.
“With creator mode, we are saying, ‘Hey, if you want to start the process of building an audience past your network or you have an audience and you want to showcase your content, make it more in the forefront, we’re going to give you a chance to do that,'” said Keren Baruch, LinkedIn’s creator product lead.
What is a LinkedIn influencer?
As a social app designed for job seekers and networkers, LinkedIn’s influencers tend to differ from YouTube or TikTok stars (though one TikToker recently made a LinkedIn parody account).
Many of its top creators are CEOs, business leaders, inspirational speakers, or marketing gurus. But some are just mid-level employees who are savvy at drawing attention on social media.
“The big change that we realized is that people have gone from thinking about content as a small part of their professional experience to realizing that it is central to their professional experience,” LinkedIn’s Editor-In-Chief Dan Roth told Insider. “That idea of content as your job or professional currency is something that’s really moved from the fringes to being central to the LinkedIn experience.”
“We don’t break it out by CEOs versus people who are just starting in their career,” he said. “If you’re a creator, you’re a creator, and you have the same access to the tools.”
LinkedIn and its peers are racing to add creator tools
LinkedIn isn’t the only social-media app to revamp its product for creators in the past year.
Companies like Snapchat and Instagram have recently invested in product updates to bring influencers more into the limelight after TikTok made creators the centerpiece of its UX and marketing strategy.
LinkedIn may also be trying to capitalize on an uptick in interest in business and investing content on social apps. Influencers on platforms like Reddit and Twitter have made waves by posting stock tips and moving markets in recent weeks. The founder of Reddit forum WallStreetBets signed a talent deal with UTA earlier this month. And newcomer audio app Clubhouse has become a watering hole for VCs, founders, and professionals looking to network together.
LinkedIn is currently hiring for a new creator management team that it will use to create a feedback loop with top users and help them understand what’s trending on its platform. And like its social-media counterparts, LinkedIn will need to help creators make money if it wants them to stick around. TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook all pay creators directly or through ad revenue shares to post on their apps.
LinkedIn has previously paid creators who post videos on its LinkedIn Learning program, but it’s considering other ways to help monetize directly on its platform.
“One of the things we do is listen to our members,” Roth said. “As our members tell us they want to have ways to be able to monetize directly beyond LinkedIn instructors … we are absolutely figuring out how LinkedIn plays in that.”
Some creators have found new ways to build a business indirectly from their LinkedIn audience.
Taylor Offer, a startup founder and marketing expert, has grown his account to 124,000 followers on LinkedIn. He uses the app to promote his clothing line, FEAT, and sells an online course on how to attract an audience on LinkedIn.
“The reach [on LinkedIn] is absolutely insane,” Offer said. “There’s fewer people posting than consuming. It flips when it gets content saturated like Instagram or Facebook. [On those apps] it’s a lot more difficult to get some reach and still leverage the platform.”