How LinkedIn Is Becoming A Destination For Creators

Edition #10

Happy Friday! I celebrated my birthday earlier this week and I’m now the proud owner of an Oculus Quest 2 thanks to my fiance. While playing it, I couldn't help but wonder how brands and creators will show up in VR in the next few years. I think we are five or so years away from significant adoption, but based on the pacing of things and how fun these immersive experiences are, it's something we're all likely to encounter, whether we use it for play, work, or both.

Today’s Edition:

  • LinkedIn is attracting creators

  • Instagram celebrates Safer Internet Day

  • Discord tests new community features and tools

The Three Areas Helping LinkedIn Attract Creators

Daniel Roth, LinkedIn's editor in chief, announced LinkedIn was building a Creator Management Team almost a year ago. A lot has changed since then. The company is in the process of successfully transforming its perception as merely a professional networking site into a destination for creators.

Today, more LinkedIn users are taking on the role of creators and sharing content connected to their interests and passions while more traditional creators are expanding their digital footprint on LinkedIn.

While it has a lot left to do to catch up to more traditional social media platforms, LinkedIn has become more attractive to creators over the last year by focusing on three areas: dedicated creator teams and programs, new tools and features, and creator-focused marketing and editorial.

Here is a breakdown of the actions, the impact, and the future for LinkedIn:

Dedicated Creator Teams & Programs

Most platforms have creator-dedicated teams and programs, but they vary in nature and focus and have a tendency to favor the biggest creators. LinkedIn has taken a different approach with its Andrei Santalo-led Creator Management Team, in which 40+ creator managers support creators of all sizes and backgrounds. Through virtual meetings and email, managers help creators by sharing guidance and ideas for content, feedback on projects, and LinkedIn-specific best practices. They also provide creators with early access to new features and tools, as well as opportunities to participate in initiatives such as Giving Tuesday and Black History Month.

LinkedIn also launched a Creator Accelerator Program, a 10-week incubator-style program where 100 U.S.-based creators get access to coaching and a creator network. They also receive a $15,000 grant to use towards content creation on the platform.

The team and program empower creators with the necessary resources they need to be successful on LinkedIn while at the same time, building a relationship between creators and the platform. Creators and platforms have an ever-changing relationship, with creators often feeling that platforms don't do enough to support them, despite the important role they play. LinkedIn's investment in these areas shows its commitment to the creator community, a commitment that is paying off. Creators are increasingly sharing positive opinions about LinkedIn, in a way, serving as unofficial ambassadors.

New Features & Tools

Last April, LinkedIn kicked off a marathon of new features and tools with Creator Mode. This feature enhances creators’ discovery by turning their Connect button into a Follow button and enabling them to add relevant hashtags on their profile to indicate the type of content that they typically share. Following Creator Mode, the platform introduced new content formats like Newsletters, Live Video, Live Audio Events, and other updates, like subscribe buttons on creator profiles.

These new features and tools make it easier for creators to share content and grow their audience in new ways. With new content formats like newsletters, live video, and social audio, creators have options to share content that suits their skills, expertise, and audience. This optionality is helping to bring new creators to LinkedIn. For example, social audio creators who before relied on Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces are now experimenting with Live Audio Events. At the same time, Gen Z is becoming the fastest-growing audience demographic on LinkedIn, thanks to new video formats that help them better express themselves.

Creator-Focused Marketing & Editorial

LinkedIn's recent marketing and editorial initiatives have focused heavily on creators, from Roth's Creator Weekly newsletter to the LinkedIn For Creators hub and webinars hosted by the Creator Management Team. These initiatives highlight creator trends, showcase creators and how they are leveraging the platform, and give creators more resources to be successful on the platform.

Platforms can have a profound impact on how people use them, which is why LinkedIn's marketing and editorial initiatives focusing on creators are so important. They build an environment that embraces creators and welcomes them. This further encourages and reinforces creators to invest in activities on the platform.

What To Expect Going Forward

LinkedIn still has a long way to go before it catches up with all the other platforms, but its progress so far is impressive.

Its efforts to attract creators will continue into 2022 and beyond with more support for creators, new tools, features, experiences, and eventually creator monetization tools, which is the biggest missing piece.

The company hasn't announced any specific plans for in-app creator monetization, but it recently surveyed creators to determine their preferred method of monetizing their audiences, hinting at future support, which will help bring in more content creators.

As with any platform, where creators go, brands will follow. This year, influencer marketing campaigns will be more prevalent on LinkedIn. B2B campaigns will make up the bulk of them, but there will be consumer brands that get creative. Instead of having creators push products, as they do on Instagram and TikTok, brands will tap creators to amplify cause-based messaging. There will also be some companies who tap in their own employees as influencers to help them recruit and hire talent.

Quick Hits

Instagram has announced new updates for Safer Internet Day. After testing Your Activity for a few months, it is now being rolled out to all users. Through Your Activity, users can bulk delete or archive their content and interactions, view their search histories, see how much time they spent on the app, and download their information. Instagram is also testing a Request help from friends feature to help users who have lost their account by asking their friends to confirm their identity.

These updates provide users with a greater sense of control over their accounts by giving them the option to remove content and interactions as needed, providing insight into their usage, and giving them tools for managing their accounts.

Pinterest announced the return of its Pinterest Presents summit. Pinterest will hold its second annual global advertiser summit on March 10th. During the live online event, attendees will learn about Pinterest's latest product updates for creators and advertisers and hear from Pinterest executives and creators.

Pinterest's events are some of the most educational. This year's Pinterest Presents looks to be more of the same. Brands who want to know about the latest product features, trends, and tips for strengthening their Pinterest presence should find it valuable.

Discord is testing new features and tools. These include new tools and automation for moderators and administrators that will serve a variety of purposes. They will help them keep their communities safe, provide easier ways for people to discover conversations of interest, and give a way to help new users understand Discord communities.

These are designed to make it easier for moderators and admins to manage their servers and help new members have the best onboarding experience. Although Discord began as a place for gaming communities, it has grown to cater to a range of interests and passions. It recently has become a go-to channel for NFT and cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

Reddit launched new features for Reddit Talk. The social audio feature now has recording functionality, a desktop experience, real-time commenting, and a live bar at the top of the screen that highlights when Reddit Talks are happening.

The latest round of Reddit Talk updates adds enhancements across content discovery and user engagement. These updates come as the platform reports that it’s seeing more than 250% growth in daily active listeners of Reddit Talk. Between Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio Rooms, LinkedIn Live Audio Events, Clubhouse, Spotify Greenroom, and Reddit Talk, the social audio space is crowded, however, there still isn’t a defined winner.

Tumblr launched a new tip jar feature called Tumblr Tips. With the feature, creators can receive tips of up to $100 from their supporters. Users can include a note with their tips or give them anonymously. Unlike other tipping features across social media platforms, tips are made on specific posts as opposed to the creator’s general profile.

Tumblr Tips marks Tumblr’s second attempt at creator monetization. In the summer, it launched Post+ to allow creators to monetize through paywalled content, but there was a great deal of backlash. Tumblr Tips is a better-positioned feature for creator monetization since it doesn’t impact the natural experience of Tumblr.

Spring rolled out a new NFT service. The creator start-up revealed Mint-On-Demand, an easy way for creators to design, create, and mint NFTs through Bondly Finance on Polygon Technology blockchain without the need for a crypto wallet or minting fees.

Spring is one of the top monetization platforms that help creators directly monetize their audiences. The company already offers physical and digital product services for over 8 million creators, and now it enters the NFT market. Through Mint-On-Demand, Spring makes it simple for creators to launch their own NFTs by eliminating key barriers that exist around NFTs such as minting costs and cryptocurrency requirements. With NFTs increasingly becoming a new revenue stream for creators, look for other creator companies to follow suit.

Chart Of The Week:

Consumer Spending On TikTok is Up 77% Year Over Year

Consumer spending on TikTok (including Douyin and Douyin Lite) skyrocketed to $2.3 billion on the app in 2021, which is a 77% increase from the previous year when users spent $1.3 billion. Consumer spending reached an all-time high of $824 million in Q4 2021.

Though the bulk of consumer spending happens on Douyin and Douyin Lite, China's version of TikTok, the U.S. is the second biggest consumer spender. In the last quarter, $110 million was spent in-app, making up 13 percent of worldwide consumer spending.

As TikTok's popularity grows and it releases more e-commerce features to allow seamless in-app purchases, U.S. consumers' spending will increase, but it will still be far below that of Chinese users.

What I’m Reading

  • Snap, Pinterest focus on video, AR as social platform competition heats up (PYMNTS)

  • TikTok shopping takes off in livestreams: Lucky crystals for $9.99 (NBC News)

  • Mall-based brands like Gap and Abercrombie are having a ‘renaissance’ on TikTok (Modern Retail)

  • Digital culture and internet reporting: why are these two beats rapidly growing? (Journalism UK)

  • Consumers are really switching to making purchases via Instagram and TikTok (Fortune)