LinkedIn is rolling out a new video feature. After seeing a large growth in traffic and revenues after launching native video in the summer of 2017, the Microsoft property is now experimenting with live video. The service is currently available in the US on an invite-only basis but you can expect it to launch universally in the near future.
LinkedIn is late to the live video party. Facebook released its Live service in August 2015 and made it available to everyone in April the following year. It’s since become a powerful way for brands to build audiences and engagement, while giving the platform exclusive content with a unique experience. Unlike recorded video, live video is immediate and surprising, and can function as a two way-form of communication. As the broadcaster addresses their audience, viewers can participate in the videos by asking questions and making suggestions in the comments. Instead of a docile audience made up of individuals watching at different times, a brand gets to create a communal event in which its customers participate together.
LinkedIn live is hoping that it will be able to gain some of those benefits for itself by encouraging businesses to build closer relationships with their followers on the site.
Brands can expect to benefit from using LinkedIn Live in a number of different ways.
One of the most popular will be Q&As. Rather than interviews between the audience and a company employee, initially at least, those interviews will probably be between two people at the same company or two related companies. In the same way that Apple’s product launches sometimes include an interview with Jonathan Ive talking about his design decisions, so a company can bring in a key decision maker and interview them about the thought that went into a product’s new features.
Product demos may also play a role on LinkedIn Live but a smaller role than the one currently played on Facebook Live. While Facebook is consumer-facing, LinkedIn’s audience is largely made up of people looking for work or trying to build professional connections. Businesses may want to show off their latest products but those broadcasts are less likely to lead directly to sales in the way that Facebook Live has done for makers of cosmetics or cake ingredients.
More common will be videos that take businesses behind the scenes and show potential employees what life at the business is like. Viewers will be able to see some of the people they’d be working with and where they’d be working. They’ll be able to ask questions of potential managers and learn how to prepare their job applications and their interviews. For large businesses using LinkedIn for recruitment, LinkedIn Live can become a kind of jobs fair in which potential new employees get to assess the business.
LinkedIn also says that it expects businesses to use live video to broadcast their conferences, which could be one way of building a larger audience. But there’s no reason to stop there. Companies could use the service to broadcast any business event, especially the most dramatic. Agricultural service firms could broadcast drone footage of their machinery being used to harvest crops. Oil firms could broadcast the start of new drilling. Clothes companies could take audiences behind the scene of the launch of a new line.
And that’s just the content. LinkedIn is also said to be partnering with streaming services like Socialive and Brandlive to expand audiences and add features. On Facebook, third party providers like BeLive have expanded live video’s functionality by turning interviews into talk shows and placing text on the screen. Expect to see similar services rolling out on LinkedIn Live.
There’s no shortage of the ways in which businesses can benefit from live video on LinkedIn—provided they know how to use it.