LinkedIn Polls Have Worn Out Their Welcome

Last week was the breaking point for me.

When I logged in to linkedIn, there was a poll waiting for me on my homepage feed. A few minutes later I was notified that there I had new posts waiting for me. Another poll. Later on, another one. So I started counting. I refreshed my feed ten times before I stopped. Here is what was at the top of my feed those eleven total times.

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

A post by a connection

Poll

Poll

Poll

I am sick of polls taking over my feed.

The way I see it, there are two reasons for the proliferation of Polls on LinkedIn. The first is that the algorithm for some reason seems to think that Polls are what we want to see. The second is that when people see LinkedIn rewarding Polls with prime placement in the feed, that’s what people are going to post. And how can you blame LinkedIn users if they see LinkedIn rewarding the Pollsters?

But the problem isn’t the Polls in and of themselves, it’s the general low quality of them. Yesterday I saw one asking which of the colors listed wasn’t a primary color. A few minutes ago someone asked who the respondents wanted to win the football game tonight.

The worst part is that now I don’t participate in Polls that I think are worthwhile as the LinkedIn algorithm may take my participation as a signal that I want to see more polls.

So I came up with my own system for a low Poll diet. For any poll that is mundane or uninteresting (which is most of them at this point):

  • If it was posted by a connection, I unfollow them.
  • I see a lot of Polls from second degree connections. In these cases I mute the Pollster so I don’t have to see any more of their junk, and I unfollow the connection who commented or participated or liked the poll.

My feed has already started to improve.

The obligatory disclaimer: 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. For some reason LinkedIn gave me early access to the LinkedIn Newsletter. I have no idea why, but thanks for reading.

Want more like this? (note that that was a question, not a poll) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

LinkedIn Newsletters – What I Have Learned In 12 Months Of Publishing  

In late July 2020 I received an email from LinkedIn saying I now had publishing privileges for the LinkedIn Newsletter. I published my first LinkedIn Newsletter a couple weeks later. The tacit agreement you have with LinkedIn is that you publish on a regular basis and in return, LinkedIn will notify your subscribers when you publish. So I have had this thing for a year now and here are my (very opinionated) observations so far. 

When you publish your first issue, LinkedIn sends a notice to all of your connections and followers telling them you have a newsletter and offering them an opt in. It seems LinkedIn only does this the one time

I mentioned above that you have a tacit agreement with LinkedIn on publishing frequency. I have never tested this part as one of my core practices in publishing regularly is paying attention to the “regularly” part. I don’t know what, if anything, would happen to someone who failed to publish regularly. 

As of this writing I have just over 21,000 subscribers, with another 200 or so signing up each week. That’s the awesome part. There are some not so good parts. The first is that LinkedIn doesn’t really give you any tools to parse your subscribers. I can scroll through the list and that’s it. 

LinkedIn says they send a notification to all my subscribers whenever I publish, either on their mobile, via email or through their notifications on LinkedIn. It’s configurable. While I have heard from a few people saying they have not received notifications, it seems they are the exception, not the rule. I have no clue whether there is any distribution of the newsletter outside of the subscribers.

For each newsletter, I can view the same statistics we would see for a post or article – the number of reactions, comments and reshares, along with the vague stats on top companies my readers came from, where they are located and their job titles. I wish LinkedIn would provide statistics that were more valuable. For example, I would love to be able to see the distribution of my subscribers by title, function, geography, and company size. I would love to be able to see how many of my readers are regular readers. 

The one stat that is different and it’s a big difference is the number of “views”. In the case of LinkedIn newsletters, these are all the people who opened it. I can see that my newsletter from last week has been opened over 5700 times. That’s an open rate of around 27%. I don’t know how other LinkedIn newsletter writers do with their open rates, but this 27% area seems to be how I usually do. It’s lower than my email newsletter’s open rate but my gut feel is that my LinkedIn Newsletter subscribers are a little more ephemeral in terms of their interest than my email subscribers. One of the indicators for this is the fact that I get thirty new subscribers every day, but only one or two bother looking at my profile. 

And as I was able to ascertain a couple weeks ago, a goodly number of my subscribers really are ephemeral. I was able to identify a whole whack of fake LinkedIn profiles, a handful of which had signed up for my newsletter. I will have more on that little adventure in a future newsletter. So maybe we should be taking those subscriber numbers with a large grain of salt. 

I am also thinking that that “opens” percentage is going to become more important as the “open”  statistic looks to become less usable on email newsletters this fall (for more info on this, just look up changes Apple is making to their email utility).

I have found that with the LinkedIn Newsletter that I don’t have to publish opuses (is the plural of opus “opii” ?). I have the same attitude towards the newsletter that I have always had towards other publishing on LinkedIn – less is more. If I can explain some aspect or idea about using LinkedIn in three hundred words then that’s how long the newsletter is going to be. I have never had complaints that my writing is too long (though maybe I will today, as this edition is just shy of eleven hudnred words).

As someone who writes and publishes on LinkedIn, I think the LinkedIn Newsletter is a very good feature that has some drawbacks. As someone who also publishes a weekly email newsletter, I wish there was more information and feedback on the people who choose to unsubscribe like how many and why. 

LinkedIn says they are rolling this out to everyone. It is invite-only right now. I know a dozen people (out of the hundreds I know pretty well on LinkedIn) who also have the Newsletter feature. It seems to have been offered to people who have a track record of publishing regularly which makes sense. Maybe LinkedIn thinks these people will write better newsletters and keep it going (which is kind of important for a newsletter). I don’t know this to be the case but I had heard something similar was done with LinkedIn Live when it came out – you had to apply and LinkedIn was looking for people who were used to doing this type of thing already. They seemingly wanted it to look good for the masses. 

But…LinkedIn says they want to support Creators. And this rollout is taking forever. My only guess would be that LinkedIn is concerned that the newsletter will make a mess of some other program that either exists now or is in the works. Maybe newsletters will somehow sidetrack users and make them less available for sponsored content in the feed.

As a LinkedIn user, this is the feature that would truly allow me to curate and create a feed of content from the people I truly want to follow and whose content I want to be aware of. Having that ability would make me want to invest more time on LinkedIn and also get me more involved. I don’t think I am the only person who feels this way. 

LinkedIn has added a pile of new features in the past year – big deals like Creator Mode and Service Pages, and their Clubhouse killer is in the works. So why is the newsletter rollout so slow?

LinkedIn Creator Mode: Is It Worthwhile?

Creator Mode: the path to more engagement?

 

I am not sold on Creator Mode. Not yet anyway. 

Let’s talk about Creator Mode.

I got an email a few weeks ago from LinkedIn inviting me to use Creator Mode on LinkedIn. I have known about Creator Mode for a while now. It is one of a series of new features (video, LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn newsletters, Service Pages and so on) that are in various stages of being rolled out. As a lot of these things are experiments, I am usually cautious about embracing them, but I have been writing and publishing on LinkedIn for five or six years now and anything promising value for writers is something I am interested in exploring. This email prompt encouraged me to give Creator Mode a more indepth look.

In a nutshell, Creator Mode makes and allows some changes to your LinkedIn profile.

The first is you can create up to five hashtags related to topics you write about to put on your profile.

This is interesting, but strikes me as superfluous. I already use three hashtags on all my content. And if someone sees my content, it’s not like they don’t know how to then go to my profile. I don’t really see the big “value add” in this one.

Next up, the Featured and Activity sections of your profile get moved to the top so they are more visible. This sounds good, but it is not as big a deal as LinkedIn makes it out to be. When I look at my profile, under my headline are:

  1. A short section with come ons from LinkedIn urging me to add “open to work”, or that I am hiring someone, or I should add a service page to my profile
  2. A section with suggestions on how to strengthen my profile
  3. My personal dashboard section
  4. And another section showing I have things like Salary Insights turned off
  5. My About section
  6. My Featured Content
  7. My Activity
  8. My first Experience section

So on face value, it looks like I have a lot of clutter and Creator Mode would move my good stuff to the top. But all of these first four sections are only visible to me, not to profile visitors. Visitors to my Profile just see my About section as the first thing. Adopting Creator Mode appears to be just the same thing as saying “we will move the truncated two line “About” section down below your activity.” Hmm, not as big a deal after all.

Well, what else is there to Creator Mode? The default changes so that your “Connect” button becomes a “Follow,” button, “to help you engage your community and build a following.”

I find this – and LinkedIn’s seeming fixation on following – to be really odd. I don’t seem to see any more content and activity from people I follow than I do from my connections. So why would I follow someone instead of connecting with them? If I am connected to someone I can send them messages and see who they are connected with (a vastly undervalued benefit of connecting).

Unless LinkedIn is going to make major changes to the algorithm to promote following, this idea just doesn’t make sense to me. And if they were making changes to the algo, you would think they would do that first, and then offer this change to take advantage of it.

Finally, your number of followers gets more prominently displayed. The number will appear up top under your headline. This is nice…if you already have a ton of followers. I am fortunate in that I have around ten thousand followers. So for me, this would be a nice feature, and gives me a bit of credibility. But if this had been there six years ago when I was just getting going in publishing content on LinkedIn, and my followers were in the hundreds? I am not so sure.

The bottom line is I am not sold. If LinkedIn can be shown to be boosting distribution of Creator Mode people’s content, that would be a different story. Or if they were showing Creator Mode people as people you may want to follow, same thing. But to mind, it’s just not enough, there’s something missing here.

I would be interested in your comments if you have tried Creator Mode. Are people in Creator Mode getting more distribution for their posts? Other benefits?

The obligatory disclaimer: 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. For some reason LinkedIn gave me early access to the LinkedIn Newsletter. Does that make me a thought leader? I hope not. I hate that term, it’s just pompous. And don’t get me started on “guru.”

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer, or the tangent on the disclaimer) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two or three articles like the one above, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/