LinkedIn has introduced yet another subtle, as well as powerful, way to entice their users to interact, connect, engage and build relationships with other users. The social media site has taken gamification and combined it to showcase personal branding requirements.
This isn’t the first time that LinkedIn has implemented subtle competitions amongst its users. Here is a look at some simple features LinkedIn had, or still has currently, which undoubtedly has increased site usage. I also decided to list my own personal opinion on why they have since gone away from this. For the moment, your SSI score is free, but I would not be surprised if in a few weeks or months it becomes part of a paid subscription.
So What Is The Future of Social Selling Index?
How WILL they control it in my opinion: Similar to how they govern a lot of other services with LinkedIn, the more you pay, the higher you can obtain in the SSI. As always, the argument would spin to the fact that “when you have the right tools, of course your score is going to go up”.
I believe if you build the right tools, everyone should have some type of access to it to level the playing field. If LinkedIn leaves things as they were and we could all govern ourselves (calling out all spammers), none of us would be required to purchase any additional subscription.
We are the customer AND the product.
I hope things can change but as for now, LinkedIn continues to ruin a great thing by attempting to monetize a social media platform that was extremely successful when non-monetized. I am anxious to see how it survives in the future with companies like Glassdoor, Indeed and others on the rise for professional networking and transparency.
Here are a few reasons why I have come to this conclusion. After all, haven’t we seen this before?
At one point, LinkedIn allowed users to see how many connections an individual had before capping it at 500+. Now, the only way that you can see this is by going onto someone’s profile and under their posts, you can see how many people they are actually connected to. (As shown below)
Currently, there is also a group on LinkedIn called LION’s (LinkedIn Open Networkers) which allow anyone and everyone to connect. The benefit of connecting to these individuals is once you are connected, your 2nd and 3rd connections are ever increased due to the volume of their network.
Why did they abandon it: LinkedIn seems to want to control a lot of aspects of the platform. They don’t want users to simply add connections to compete with others, they want users to connect with people they know. I might be among the minority, but by allowing ourselves to connect with those we might not know, we learn new things. For me, that is where I see the value in LinkedIn and that is why I continue to connect with many LIONs by adding them via email. LinkedIn has also capped the invites you can extend for new connections as well.
Unless of course you have LinkedIn Sales Navigator or LinkedIn Recruiter, then the possibilities are endless. (Good luck justifying that $1000/month to your C-Suite).
Who’s Viewed My Profile
As a professional networking site, you would think among all social media platforms that LinkedIn would be the last platform to integrate a “who’s looking at me?” feature. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter do not offer this with their social media service although many 3rd party apps and spam type applications have attempted to do so. (Many of which require a payment)
This can include recruiters, colleagues, professors or even you in-laws checking up on your LinkedIn activity, as long as they have a purchased service via LinkedIn. The basic account provides simple look-ins and you typically can only see those who have searched or browsed your LinkedIn profile the first day it happens. Up until a few weeks ago, you could see who was receiving the most views per company. For some reason, LinkedIn has removed that. I would be curious to find out why, but my presumption is they are worried that others are either trying to get others to view their profile for incorrect reasons or that some users were complaining that LinkedIn was exposing them in a potential job search. Those are my only two guesses, otherwise, I do not see a huge problem.
How they are controlling it now: Currently, the Who’s Viewed My Profile section is divided up into three categories: Who’s Viewed Your Profile, Who’s Viewed Your Posts, How You Rank For Profile Views. To see more than today’s profile views, you must upgrade. (Go figure, right?) LinkedIn Premium account users can see month’s back who is looking at them.
At one point, the biggest advantage of being in a group or a large group with others was the ability to message each other because of group association. For example, if I was in the group Content Marketing, I could message anyone that was in my particular group. This was extremely valuable because I could contact other members of the community, brainstorm and collaborate on specific content I wished to create. Now, that option is no longer there. I have to ask the person to be a connection and IF, i place a strong emphasis on if, they accept my generic connection request, then we can collaborate. This is much more difficult than it used to be.
Groups have turned into more of a content sharing platform, which in a content marketing world is perfect, however for others, this puts a lot more strain on a good group owner and moderator to consistently moderate the group posts and filter out spam. Something that I am sure was originally going to the individual email inboxes due to marketing automation but nonetheless, now it is contaminating groups and losing its value that it had previously.
How they are controlling it: In-Mails. Now, instead of being able to message anyone, you have to either be a first connection of someone or purchase in-mails. Many of the LinkedIn services such as Premium, Recruiter or Sales Navigator offer up to 30 In-Mails with their subscription. Once you send one and it is opened, you are then given that In-Mail in return. As long as you are not spamming your audience, many times, it will equate to unlimited but it all depends on your messaging.
Group Moderator Emails
As an owner of the group, you could send emails to your audience to update them on a regular basis. This was highly valuable to group owners who worked hard to invite LinkedIn professionals to the group. Many LinkedIn group owners could use this service for news, promotions or other items that might be pertinent to the group. I know many participants looked forward to the daily or weekly digest, similar to what many do already with RSS feeds and signing up for blogs in their emails, however, this has now come to a screeching halt as well.
How are they controlling it: Group messaging is only allowed once per week now for groups. They have it down to the minute. This is particularly frustrating when you are a company launching new products during a particular week. You simply have to combine all the articles in one email and many times, that leaves no room for other valuable news or information. So what does all this have to do with Social Selling Index? Well, as a free service of LinkedIn, do not get too attached to your score. I am sure that they will adjust the algorithm to make it near impossible to get 100’s or even in the 90’s, but as always, money talks.
Will LinkedIn ever go back to full access for everyone? As much as I dislike their monitization of their services, for the health of the business – probably not.
However, much like Facebook is losing the younger generation, my prediction is that if LinkedIn does not find a way to keep some of the services free, like a Generation Y/Z appealing product like Social Selling Index, they will be struggling to progress in a decade.