Latest in the chain of sometimes dramatic changes we’ve seen with LinkedIn this year, the company has just announced a set of new or modified features for content and publishing. Continuing the push towards a platform that’s for more than just professional networking, the changes broadly fit into two areas: expanded options for user-published content, and making that content more useful through control over visibility and comments.
- Embedding multiple images – Users will be able to upload up to nine photos to a single post – presumably because more would stop them from being displayed in a neat square. LinkedIn suggests using this feature for uploading slides or photos from a conference, but professional services firms should try and be creative with it – easily breaking down an an infographic into smaller bites, for example. Currently this feature is only usable through the LinkedIn iOS app, but look for it on Android and desktop clients in the future.
- Embedding videos – In an even bigger change, LinkedIn is also in the process of rolling out native video support, so that rather than linking to an external video hosting site they can be directly embedded into a profile or page (or even recorded straight from the app) like images are now. This brings LinkedIn much closer in functionality to other services, and will allow embedded video to be used in all the same ways.
- Article drafts – While the last two features relate to regular posts, LinkedIn will also add to their article functionality: you’ll soon have the ability to share a draft version of your article with others to get their feedback. Clearly they’re trying to encourage the use of LinkedIn as a primary publishing platform, rather than the currently common practice of simply pasting in articles published elsewhere.
- Disabling comments– It’s now possible to disable comments on both posts and articles – useful for anyone posting on a controversial topic, or who otherwise doesn’t want to create potential distractions from what they’ve written.
- Public visibility of posts – In probably the most significant of these changes, it is possible for posts, if marked Public, to be viewed by anyone with a shareable link, whether or not they have a LinkedIn account. This feature, again in line with other major social networks, is necessary for LinkedIn’s goal of becoming a primary platform for articles, and will enable users to spread their content much more broadly over it. It’s not immediately clear whether public posts will be indexable by search engines, so if you find out please let everyone know in the comments. Also, since posts have to be set as Public explicitly to be viewed outside of LinkedIn, users may want to go back and flag any older posts they’d like to be viewed publicly.
What a public post looks like when not logged in
Overall, these changes represent a serious increase in the usefulness of LinkedIn as a marketing platform for professional services and other firms. With these options for content and publishing (along with their recent implementation of post analytics), LinkedIn expands its capabilities for both that use and for use by individuals as a social network (also in line with the likely motivation behind the recent removal of the API for Groups). Will the changes catch on and successfully continue LinkedIn’s trend toward being more than a professional networking site? Let us know what you think in the comments.