by Greg Finn
In March, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Today, which was dubbed as a news source from your connections and peers in the industry. It has quickly grown to drive massive amounts of traffic to popular content. This service works by aggregating news from industries, connections and sources that you follow, then displaying stories in a visually appealing news format.
Meet LinkedIn Today
LinkedIn Today exists as a standalone website, where you can browse through some of the top articles that LinkedIn thinks you’ll find interesting:
But beyond the LinkedIn Today home page, LinkedIn Today also powers articles that also appear on your own personal home page. The top three articles of the day are pulled into a section titled “Top Headlines on LinkedIn Today” above connection updates, as shown below:
LinkedIn Today differs from other social news sites as it skews heavily towards B2B topics. While some categories could be viewed as B2C exist (such as entertainment, automotive, etc) the vast majority of content is aimed at businesses, a unique niche in social media.
How Does It Work?
Like most social news sites, LinkedIn Today works off a voting algorithm that aims to match popular articles with interested users.
Every time a user vouches for an article it is called a “share” and can be tracked by the number next to the blue banner across the featured image. Shares can be viewed by clicking on that banner, but only those who shared the article publicly will be shown.
Today then matches content to like-minded people by showing top news across industries that you follow and are a part of. The specific industry of the user sharing the story is taken into account as well. If a LinkedIn member is listed as a member of the advertising industry, that information is factored in when an article is shared or liked and will help to boost the articles presence within the “marketing & advertising” industry. The more targeted votes from industry individuals, the quicker an article will rise up within that category.
There are currently a few different ways to share an article that will be recognized on Today, through the LinkedIn Bar, on the LinkedIn site itself, likes of other’s shared articles and via Twitter.
Voting Via The LinkedIn Bar
This is the simplest method of sharing content on LinkedIn and requires a user to post activity with the link to the article. When clicking on a link, a LinkedIn branded browser bar may appear at the top of the page:
If clicked over directly from your connection sharing, context will appear in the form of their description or tweet in the bar:
This bar allows users to like the update of their connection, comment on it, or share it with their friends. It is important to know that some sites bust frames, such as Search Engine Land, will not show this bar.
Votes At LinkedIn Through Shares & Updates
Shares, or votes, on LinkedIn can be accumulated in a variety of formats. One is through a LinkedIn Update. This occurs when a user attaches a link to an update using the “attach a link” option:
If an article has already been shared by someone, it can be reshared, which counts as a vote. For example, here’s an article already on LinkedIn Today, with an option to share it:
Doing that brings up a sharing dialog box:An additional way to share outside of the standard update is via the LinkedIn share widget discussed below. Private shares are also taken into account when listing articles on Today.
Votes Via Likes
LinkedIn allows users to like articles shared by your connections and these do play a role in what shows on Today. LinkedIn users can like articles right from the updates stream or within LinkedIn Groups.
Votes Via Twitter
If a user ties their Twitter account to their LinkedIn account, a tweet will also count as a LinkedIn share due to a partnership between LinkedIn and Twitter. This will only occur if a user’s LinkedIn Profile is joined with their Twitter account, or if a user shares an article on LinkedIn and selects the “tweet” button as their form of sharing.
Following Industries & Sources
LinkedIn Today features multiple industries and news sources to follow helping users customize the stories on in their LinkedIn Today headlines. Other than your connections, there are two additional ways to customize the content you see on LinkedIn Today.
The first is to follow content from particular industries. If you following a category like “Marketing & Advertising Industry,” related content will have a higher percentage of showing up as top stories on your front page.
LinkedIn will suggest some to you at the top of LinkedIn Today and to the right side, in the “Suggested Industries” section, as shown below:
The “See all” button below the Suggested Industries section will open a dialog box of all industries you can follow.
Have a favorite site? Want to see it show up more often in LinkedIn Today? Well if you follow a specific source, their top stories will become “whitelisted” and show up more frequently on your LinkedIn Today front page.
The “Top Sources” area on the LinkedIn Today home page provides suggestions, and the “See all” link brings up a dialog box listing more:
How To Consume
LinkedIn makes it easy to consume content from LinkedIn Today by offering multiple ways to obtain hot stories. The main ways to use LinkedIn Today:
LinkedIn Today Site: The full-featured website allows users to follow sources, industries and see a wide variety of recommended articles.
Digest Emails: Users can choose from daily or weekly email subscriptions for top stories. This can be set within your email frequency settings.
Bookmarking – Save Feature: One of the really nice features of LinkedIn Today in my opinion is the ‘Save’ option for articles. Many social news sites like Digg have lacked the ability to view at a later time, but LinkedIn makes saving an article easy.
Each article features a save button to the right of the article:
Saved articles will show up in your saved article bin. Once read, you can then check off to remove from your saved articles.
iPhone & Android Apps: LinkedIn Today can be found on the LinkedIn iPhone & Android apps under the news category. The apps allow users to view the full site, send to a connection or post directly to updates. Users can also clearly see what is ‘hot right now’ and how many other connections shared an article:
StumbleUpon Partnership: In March, LinkedIn and Stumble partnered up to help promote content across platforms:
StumbleUpon added a LinkedIn Share button in their browser, while LinkedIn pulled in top stories from StumbleUpon into each category:
How To Optimize
Now that you know what LinkedIn Today is, how can you optimize for it? Here are some marketing tactics to make your content more successful on LinkedIn Today.
To have content become popular, LinkedIn Today looks at what links members share, like and comment on the most. The higher the numbers, the higher the probability of your content ranking. LinkedIn says:
A higher preference is assigned to recent articles if they’re being shared quickly by a broad base of members.
This is the most obvious (and effective) way to help your content become popular as a share acts as a vote for your content. There are a few additional ways to share:
- Post Your Stories As Updates: This share goes out on your LinkedIn profile and can be viewed by all of your connections. Public shares will be shown when a user clicks on the share number of the article.
- Post Your Stories To Groups: Are you member of some targeted groups? Well cut through the clutter of main connection updates and share directly to a relevant audience of group members. This can be annoying if over utilized, so use in moderation!
- Send To Individuals: No need for DMs, CC’s or copying-pasting to an email. If you find an article you’d like to share with someone specific, simply send it directly to a connection or via email. When talking to LinkedIn, it was mentioned that private shares do play a role in the algorithm.
Launched in late 2010, the LinkedIn share button gives publishers a tool to help facilitate content sharing on their site. The share button gives the option to feature the share count vertically, horizontally or having no count.This is a dynamic button that opens the LinkedIn page in a new window with all information pre-filled for the user. Posting this button on important articles and blog posts can help to get an extra boost for your most important content. The button can also be added to WordPressquickly and easily.
Become a Source
If your site is very popular on LinkedIn Today, you can apply to have it added as a source. Simply reach out as a publisher and see if LinkedIn deems you worthy!
Promote on Twitter
Many LinkedIn users have tied their Twitter account to their LinkedIn account, and every tweet from one of those users will count as a share on LinkedIn Today.
So if your audience is socially savvy, there should be a high correlation between number of Tweets and the number of Shares on LinkedIn. Make sure to promote your most important content on Twitter it will have a trickledown effect on LinkedIn Today.
Add Like-Minded Connections
Like all other social media news sites, having a larger network will help the reach of your message. By adding in connections that are of a similar mindset, you will be able to put more eyeballs on your content, thereby increasing the number of shares your content will receive.
Don’t Overlook LinkedIn!
Overall, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful forms of social sharing in the B2B realm, and is growing steadily. This service fills a deep void in business-to-business social news aggregation providing numerous ways of harnessing the growing LinkedIn population.