Why I Am (Finally) Hopping On The LinkedIn Creator Mode Bandwagon

(and it took almost two years to get here)

LinkedIn Creator Mode was announced back in April 2021, and rolled out over the following months. LinkedIn says its intent is to allow you to grow your “reach and influence on LinkedIn.” I have written a couple reviews on Creator Mode as LinkedIn has adjusted it and added more features, and I have continued to be ambivalent about it until now.

I will review what I consider the seven main aspects of Creator Mode here, and then talk about the eighth aspect that was announced – quietly – in early November that has made me change my mind about it.

In Creator Mode, “Connect” changes to “Follow”

By default, the “Connect” button on your profile changes to a “Follow” button. People can still connect with you, but the Connect button is now hidden in a drop down menu next to the Follow button. Maybe to prompt us to do this LinkedIn says your number of followers will now be displayed prominently underneath your Profile headline. Note that this is a big ego boost if you already have lots of followers and want even more, but won’t it look a little pathetic if you are just starting out and only have a couple hundred followers?

Neat trick: if you have Creator mode on and someone invites you to connect, they are automatically made a follower. Even if you decline their invite to connect they remain a follower. They can unfollow you if they decide to – but most people won’t realize that they are automatically following you, or won’t know how to unfollow someone. Very sneaky.

You can display your expertise areas

You can display topics you talk about in your Profile Introduction section as hashtags. Hashtags are searchable on Linkedin. This is one search method that is under utilized by users on both sides of the search equation on LinkedIn. This is a nice feature and will increase in importance if hashtag use ever does really catch on with LinkedIn users.

Embedded links

While we are in your Introduction section, you can add a link here to drive people to your website, an Event sign up page, or specific content. I could see this being handy, but one would need to be careful in using it. I think most folks would use this as a generic “visit my website” suggestion and I have never been a fan of the “Invite people into the store to browse around” school of thought. If there is a specific landing page that people are being sent to, I like this idea. A lot.

Musical chairs with Profile sections

LinkedIn says they will more prominently move your content, both your Featured and Activity sections, to be seen more easily by your visitors. This sounds nice, but another way of putting it would be “we moved your About section down below your Activity.” You know, the About section you just put those hashtags and that URL in. Well, I suppose the idea here after all is highlighting all that content you are creating, but do you really need to promote this?

You could be featured!

“You become eligible to be featured as a suggested creator to follow so potential followers can discover you and your content across LinkedIn.” From what I can see, every week LinkedIn mentions a half dozen Creators to follow. I have seen multiple articles, one saying five million people have Creator Mode turned on, another saying ten million people did – back in January 2022. With five or six Creators being featured each week out of millions, it is going to take a while before they get around to you or me. These are lottery odds.

Early access to Creator tools

You can get access to Creator tools. However, the only tools appear to LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn Newsletters, and Audio Events (the long awaited “Clubhouse killer”). This is very sneaky by LinkedIn. LinkedIn is on record as saying that these tools are being rolled out over time to everyone, so what they are implying here is that being a Creator will allow you to move up in the line. That being said, if you were an early adopter of Clubhouse or love running Live Events, this feature makes Creator mode a must for you.

Creator Analytics

LinkedIn has added Creator Analytics to show how your posts are doing over time.  Analytics work on posts, articles, videos, events, and polls. It measures impressions and engagement. Analytics are still being rolled out. I have three issues here.

The first is lumping all my content together. Each of these different types of content is measured differently by LinkedIn. For example LinkedIn counts a post impression when it appears in your feed. An article impression is counted when you click to open the article. A video impression happens when three seconds of the video rolls by on your screen. One impression is not like another. If you mix and use different types of content, your graphs and results are going to take some interpretation.

The second issue is with your engagement. LinkedIn tallies the engagement with your content – the total number of your reactions, comments and shares is shown. But we know that LinkedIn rewards comments on posts by further distributing those posts to more users. So comments are much more important, but they get lumped in with Likes, and reactions, and shares.

Lastly, LinkedIn will show you the same vague analytics you get from most content published on LinkedIn –  breakdown by Job Title, Industry, Seniority, Location, or Company Size.

Sorry to say this but the analytics area is pretty lame on LinkedIn, and remains that way in Creator mode.

The Algo Will Now Treat Your Followers Like Connections

New, and in my opinion, the tipping point: the LinkedIn algorithms will treat your followers like they are connections. This appeared in LinkedIn Help in early November:

“Similar to what happens when you follow Top Voices, your followers will receive your posts, articles, and shares in their LinkedIn homepage feed. Members don’t have to be connected to you to follow you and receive these updates.”

Up until now, LinkedIn has always based distribution of your content to a small number of your connections, and how those connections responded and engaged with your content drove further distribution to more people. LinkedIn tells us what we see featured prominently in our feeds is largely based on our Connection Strength Score, which is based on the interactions we have on LinkedIn with our various connections. My problem with creating more followers has always been that to my knowledge, there is no “Follower Strength Score.” And how would you measure it?

This is the prime argument I always had about Creator Mode. Why would I try and promote a larger number of followers – instead of connections – when LinkedIn does not indicate that it will treat those followers in the same way as my connections? But now LinkedIn says they will. This changes everything. I have around five thousand connections and five thousand followers. If I turn Creator Mode on, I now have effectively doubled my audience as LinkedIn says those followers will have a shot as seeing my content. Creator Mode has gone from being a questionable feature to what I think of as a reasonable one. It is worth the odd aspects to get the good aspects. I’m in. I will post again on this a few months down the line and let you know what impact it has had.

Obligatory boilerplate: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month. 

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