Vanity Metrics #17

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The Big Stuff

LinkedIn doesn’t get much love, it’s true. You know, the place where everyone brags about their promotions while simultaneously looking for a new job? That place! Kidding. For content creators and strategists living outside the consumer product world, you may be noticing a renewed interest in LinkedIn and the access it allows to engaged, niche conversations on specific subject matters.

As social media users continue to migrate away from the mass media of newsfeeds to more common-interest subgroups, which I highlighted in Vanity #9, LinkedIn’s raison d'être has always been just that: a pipeline for people with similar jobs/industries/interests to find, communicate and learn from each other.

LinkedIn is ready to roll out new features this week, albeit in a somewhat disjointed way. As far as social platforms go, LinkedIn has been known to move at a glacial pace when it comes to new features, and those features don’t tend to garner a lot of press. Let’s break ‘em down:

LinkedIn Virtual Events

Live streaming on LinkedIn is expanding to include the new events feature available to Company pages. “LinkedIn Virtual Events”, essentially scheduled live streaming events, still requires you to apply to LinkedIn Live (their live streaming program) before you can host a stream. You can apply here.

From a content perspective, this is a great move for LinkedIn, as live streams are a powerful way to create authentic interaction on specific subjects with your fans - particularly if you are a brand with niche subject matter.

Applications to the live stream program are still being manually reviewed so expect it to take a few weeks. If you’re interested, apply now, or link current events to Zoom/Google Meet URLs.

LinkedIn has also produced a handy live stream playbook (pdf) that might help spark ideas on how you might leverage the feature.

Polls (are back?)

Poll posts are also rolling out now and can be seen as an option when creating a new text-only post, alongside options to “Celebrate a teammate”, “Share that you’re hiring”, and “Find an expert” (think Facebook’s recommendations posts”). Polls are live on Company pages as well.

Yes, Han shot first.

Fun fact: LinkedIn removed it’s poll post feature back in 2014. Time is a flat circle.

New Sponsored Post Features

I’m not convinced a lot of people are using LinkedIn paid posts: they are cumbersome to set up and the returns are tricky to justify when it has some of the highest CPMs I’ve seen on any platform. It' seems the company has been paying attention, as it’s released a few new options to help make the case to test and learn:

  • Target Spend is now an option in bidding. Set your target CPC/CPM/CPV and the system will optimize to that spend. I’ve seen CPM vary wildly one day to the next, so this could be handy to ensure consistent spend over the life of a campaign, and more control than opting for Automated Bidding.

  • Conversation Ad Units. Like LinkedIn’s InMail ad units (yuck), this one allows you to target demographic groups, rather than individuals, through LinkedIn messages. You can also create multiple responses through a decision tree, each with a CTA, but ultimately must end in a website link or lead gen form.

  • “Company” targeting has been expanded to include “Company Category” (which are curated lists), and “Company Growth Rate” over the last 12 months.

The Small Stuff

  • Sometime over this past weekend, Tik Tok began clamping down on brands’ usage of copywritten music on posts. This shouldn’t be too much of shock and frankly, I’m surprised this wasn’t baked in from the get-go. You have to pay to use someone else’s work to sell your stuff. Dave, the Tik Tok guy from The Washington Post, has the details in the thread below:

  • Big news. Jack Dorsey notified all Twitter employees on Tuesday that the company will now allow employees to work from home permanently if they want to, even after work restrictions are lifted globally. Twitter was one of the first big tech companies to support a work-from-home transition in March, doling out funds to make sure employees were set up with the proper tools at home.

  • Facebook is rolling out a new suite of tools for small businesses. Business messages will get their own inbox in your Messenger app, and “Support Small Business” stickers are rolling out to Instagram (expect to see a dedicated Story pop up in your feed from IG HQ if you haven’t already). Notifications to small biz admins on how to access Facebook resources like small business loans, Facebook-funded grants, and how to set up features like gift card purchases should also pop up soon.

Bonus for your Eargoggles

Relax and enjoy this Livestream of Questlove’s 4-hour set of the Beastie Boys and the samples behind the tracks (click to play). If there’s one big takeaway from this lockdown, it’s that live streaming via social has really come into its own.

Stay home. Stay sane. Wash your hands.

Ryan LaFlamme has worked in social media marketing and advertising for longer than the job had a title. He formed the independent social consultancy Hub and Spoke in 2016, and can be found hanging out on Twitter @ryanlaf Now accepting new clients and speaking engagements.