During the COVID-19 lockdown, we all had to spend more time working in the Home Office. In turn, our use of digital communication platforms for work and personal reasons has increased. For instance, data from Linkedin tell us:
- There was a 55 percent increase in conversations, such as comments, between March of 2019 and March of 2020.
- There were 300 percent more „live broadcasts“ during February and March/April 2020.
The use of webinars or web events and viewing of videos has also increased:
- 272 percent more comments were made during live stream events during February and March 2020 alone; and
- 180 percent more hours of watching videos on #LinkedInLearning => 4 Million hours in March, 7.7 million hours in April 2020.
By the way, our focus here is on using these platforms for work related purposes, not our hobbies or entertaining ourselves during our spare time. That’s why we chose LinkedIn, which is considered a business exchange platform.
LinkedIn ROI (Return on Investment)
Today people might tell you that time, personal as well as professional, is a very valuable asset. Accordingly, using social media platforms such as LinkedIn during work hours should benefit the individual as well as the company. With that in mind, some questions may arise:
- If I share an update my employer made to the corporate LinkedIn page with the followers on my personal LinkedIn profile, is this time well spent?
- Besides maybe getting one of my friends to smile when they see my comment on the shared company post, what other benefits are there?
- Does my sharing help raise brand awareness for my employer with my circle of acquaintances?
What we do know is spending too much time on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn may result in higher occurrences of signs of depression than if you spend time outdoors. LinkedIn and Instagram are both transaction platforms, while Baidu, Match.com, Uber, AirBnB or Hotels.com are intermediaries or online marketplaces that make it possible for users to exchange goods and services or information including contact data.
Most platforms have different objectives, such as trying to be a glorified Rolodex and helping you keep in touch with your career-related pals and acquaintances. For this, LinkedIn has created a means that should make it easier for us to stay connected. We will give you a short run down based on personal experiences and reflections.
Interesting read to check out: Cusumano, Michael A., Yoffie, David, B. & Gawer, Annabelle (Spring 2020). The future of platforms. MIT Sloan Management Review, pp. 46-54. Accessed on 2020-06-01 from http://sloanfreview.mit.edu/x/61304
How do you keep LinkedIn groups alive? Personal reflections
We started a group in November 2009 and did pretty well until about 2013. The focus was on how lawyers could use social media and what legal and economic issues they had to consider for themselves and their clients. Many legal luminaries were actively participating. But at that time LinkedIn was very new for lawyers and the world had yet to begin with using social media channels in earnest. Here are some facts for you about our former group.
- Title: Originally ‚Social Media for Lawyers‘, now Social Media for Lawyers with Nancy Myrland
- Founders / Owners: Founder Nils Victor Montan (lawyer), I was asked to join shortly after it got launched as a social media expert, Nancy Myrland (the current owner; also a social media expert) became a co-moderator around 2013.
- Founded: November 2009
- Members: 3,327
- Moderating: No pre-approval needed, but violating the principles and the focus may result in the deletion of content.
At the beginning we spent at least 15 minutes each day ensuring we replied to every comment left by a member. We also used to monitor this group 24 hours a day. Not that difficult, considering that Nils was in the US, and I was in Europe. But it took A LOT of time.
Then, my colleague Nils Montan (a crackerjack lawyer) felt that his interests had shifted. I was working in a start-up, so I had to be very careful with my time. Another problem for me was that in those years, I was unlikely to serve clients in Argentina or Singapore, but many of our active group members came from far away places.
So we passed the baton to Nancy in about 2013. She is a very savvy social media consultant and had worked with us as a co-moderator for a while beforehand. She does a great job of sharing interesting stuff and tidbits for lawyers using various social media platforms even today. But things have changed. Nancy is the most active poster, yet lawyers – our primary target group – have become pretty much inactive in the group.
Fact 1: You need plenty of stamina to keep going. Even if you have the resources (most large firms such as Philips do), is it worth the trouble to spend maybe three working hours every week on moderating a LinkedIn or Facebook group? Is a once-weekly activity enough, or do I need to engage daily?
What is LinkedIn groups‘ latest illness?
Many of the factors above can be used to describe even some of the most successful groups. One example is the one listed below (see also screenshot above), from global consumer brand Philips. But why would Philips decide to close such a group?
- Innovations in Health group on LinkedIn (not hyperlinked because Philips closed it June 30, 2020)
- Owner: Philips
- Founded: September 2009
- Members June 2020: 165,142
- Moderating: Members’ posts require admin approval before they become visible to others
- Closing: At the beginning of spring 2020, the page had this text: „The Innovations in Health group will be closed on June 30, 2020. Please follow the Philips LinkedIn page to continue the conversation: https://www.linkedin.com/company/philips/„
Clearly, the group had amassed plenty of members since its launch. Already with its name, it was clear its primary focus was health and innovation. Nevertheless, moderating such a group is not an easy job and takes time and patience. In other words, you need to enforce the group’s charter. If posts do not fit the charter, they have to be pulled and people have to be warned. This gets to be a pain after a while, but you have to remain courteous, polite, and professional – despite needing to deal with members who know they overstepped the charter or group guidelines. Even if caught, some people still react surprised and irritated when told that what they did was neither nice nor according to the rules.
The greatest challenge is keeping up the engagement and participation of the members. The Philips group on Innovation in Health and our former Social Media for Lawyers group illustrate this very well. Especially because exchanging ideas, and hosting discussions of people’s differing opinions is what we are after. At least in theory.
Fact 2: Just broadcasting seems to be perceived as more resource-effective than running a community group (see Philips corporate LinkedIn profile as a corporate page).
Do some of these platforms that supposedly want to foster discussions and dialogue belong in our rearview mirror? Is it like a balloon – the air is out, the novelty has worn off, and LinkedIn ROI is a thing of the past?
LinkedIn ROI Check and Engagement KPIs
Marketers find that increasing value in user-generated content is one of the pipe dreams we are being sold. Specifically, we are supposedly able to gain traction in terms of engagement rates and ROI. But how many times will you look at Made.com’s Instagram posts that showcase its products in customer homes?
Buffalo Wild Wings created an ad in just six days using homemade fan videos. In reference to the absence of live sporting events, the ad shows a number of people creating their own made-up sports at home. Yes, it created 100,000 views by now, but did it help sell products? Since it was mentioned in the press as a laudable example of how to do it right, the brand awareness certainly went up. Great.
The above two examples are Business to Consumer (B2C) situations, but if we look on LinkedIn, it does not seem to be vastly different in the Business to Business (B2B) space. To illustrate, social media is supposed to have moved us all from a broadcasting culture (few send to many) to a culture where many send to a few or maybe many who follow, but all engage, discuss, reply, and so forth. Some TV shows use hashtags and Twitter polls during live events, apparently to better engage with their audience.
The moderators of the closing Innovations in Health group directed me to the Philips corporate page on LinkedIn that has 1.6 Million followers, but:
- 100, 20, or fewer likes per post – 80 percent of them Philips employees it seems, and
- zero comments / engagement from the followers over the last month or even longer… okay, maybe one post with a single comment, but no reply from the author.
If we just post about our products as Philips and many other large companies do, we have downgraded a dialogue opportunity to an advertising channel. It basically provides little if any added value to our customers and potential clients. Is this bad or just a shift in what we find more effective for our company and how we communicate with clients on platforms like LinkedIn or Xing?
Fact 3: Navel-gazing metrics, such as simple follower numbers as a „possible reach“ are not the whole story. 50 likes may be fine, but unless you get more substantive reader comments that in themselves add value to the original (i.e. more than just „great post“), who cares? Of course, the author(s) replying to the comment is a must, or the commenter is unlikely to feel appreciated, and chances are they’ll never comment again.
Like Xing and other platforms, the fact remains that LinkedIn is a glorified electronic Rolodex (originally a rotating file device used to store business cards of contacts). I can get information about a person even if one changed has jobs. Unfortunately, in some cases, users make that difficult by not providing a phone number or contact email on their profile. However, this helps LinkedIn or Xing sell paid subscriptions that enable one to contact people via the platform directly.
The people whom you really wish to reach and who can help you in your B2B business are maybe executives in the purchasing or product development departments of your targeted client company. They may neither have the time nor be willing to take the time to be on LinkedIn or Xing.
LinkedIn Groups are a way you can connect and interact with like-minded professionals in your industry.Neil Patel
Neil Patel’s (a British author, entrepreneur, marketer, and blogger) quote is interesting but it presumes that those you want to reach are active on the platform and want to engage. Who has the time, besides people like Neil, who is trying to convince us that it is worth it? Even if you are one of the top 40 digital strategists, as Neil claims to be, you cannot change these facts 😅.
For Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME – see EU definition) having business contacts in markets where they are not active might make one feel good. Obviously, their marketing and branding campaign worked, right? Nevertheless, those contacts and their interaction won’t make the cash register ring – today or tomorrow. Nor will such LinkedIn contacts help you to pay the rent at the end of this month.
Overall, we found that most active people on LinkedIn use the platform as an information and idea exchange marketplace. In addition, they find it helpful to stay in loose touch with (former) colleagues, since everyone will probably keep the profile updated. We also heard from some really small entrepreneurs (coaches, one-man-shows, etc.) that they do get inquiries for talks, sessions, or small business opportunities. For large companies such as Philips, LinkedIn and similar platforms represent a brand-building exercise, not a sales funnel.
Please share your experiences with us in the comments:
- How much do you like and use LinkedIn and how much time do you spend engaging, commenting, or posting?
- How do you know it is worth the time?
Interesting read to check out: Heffer, Taylor, Good, Marie, Daly, Owen, MacDonell, Elliott, and Willoughby, Teena (2019-06). The longitudinal association between social-media use and depressive symptoms among adolescents and young adults: An empirical reply to Twenge et al. (2018) (see also ResearchGate). Clinical Psychological Science, 7(3), 462-470. DOI: 10.1177/2167702618812727. Accessed on 2020-07-20 from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2167702618812727?journalCode=cpxa& or ResearchGate
This post is also available in: Englisch
Know the main point of the game. The goal of American football is to score points by carrying the ball from a starting point on a 120-yard long and 53. 3-yard wide field into a specially marked 10-yard-deep area at either end of the field called an end zone. Each team uses the end zone in front of them to score while trying to prevent the opposing team from reaching the end zone behind them.  Each end zone has a Y-shaped structure called the field goal which is positioned on the end line. The field goals are used to score points with special kicks
The end zone that a team is defending is usually referred to as “their” end zone. Thus, a team with 70 yards ( 64. 0 m ) to go before it can score a touchdown is 30 yards ( 27. 4 m ) from its end zone. Teams trade possession of the ball according to strict rules. Whichever team is in possession of the ball is known as the “offense;” the other team is called the “defense. ”
Learn the time divisions. Football is divided into four quarters of 15 minutes each, with a break between the deuxième and third periods called “halftime” that is normally 12 minutes long.  While the clock is réactive, the game is divided into even shorter segments called “plays ' or ' downs. '
A play begins when the ball is moved from the ground into the hands of the players, and ends when either the ball hits the ground, or the person holding the ball is tackled and his knee or elbow nuances the ground. When a play is over, an official called a referee, places the ball on the yard marker which corresponds to his or her judgment of the place where the forward progress of the player with the ball was stopped. Each team has 4 downs and within those downs, they have to make ten yards from the line of scrimmage ( the starting point ). If the team fails to do so within the 4 downs, the offensive team has to hand over the ball to the opposing team. If the offense succeeds in taking the ball 10 yards in the 4 downs they get another 4 downs to move the ball 10 yards. The teams have 30 seconds to get into formation and begin the next play.
Play time can stop for a few different reasons : If a player runs out of bounds, a penalty is called, a flag is thrown, or a pass is thrown but not caught by anybody ( an incomplete pass ), the clock will stop while referees sort everything out.
Penalties are indicated by referees, who throw yellow flags onto the field when they see a violation. This lets everyone on the field know that a penalty has been called. Penalties normally result in the offending team losing between 5 - 15 yards of field position.  There are many penalties, but some of the most common are “offside” ( someone was on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped ), “holding” ( a player grabbed another player with his hands, and either player doesn’t have the ball, instead of blocking him properly ), ' false start ' ( When a player moves before the ball is snapped ), ' Unsportsmanlike conduct ' ( When a player does something that doesn’t show good sportsmanship, and “clipping” ( someone contacted an opposing player other than the ball carrier from behind and below the waist ).
The opening kickoff - At the very beginning of the game, the head referee flips a coin and the home team captain calls out which side of the coin will be face up. If acceptable, that captain may choose to kick off or to receive the opening kickoff or allow the visiting team captain to make that choice. Once the kicking and receiving teams are decided, the team captain who lost the coin toss gets to decide which goal his or her team will defend during the first half. This initial play is called the kickoff, and typically involves a long kick down field from one team to the other, with the team that kicked the ball rushing towards the team receiving the ball in order to prevent them from course the ball a long ways back towards the kicking team’s end zone. After halftime, there is a deuxième kickoff by whichever team did not perform the opening kickoff. Throughout the second half, the end zones each team defends is the one opposite the end zone that team defended in the first half
Downs - The word “down” is synonymous with the word “chance” or ' plays ' in American . The offense is allowed four downs to move the ball at least 10 yards ( neuf. 1 m ) towards the end zone. Each play ends in a new down. If the goal of 10 yards ( 9. 1 m ) from the first down is achieved before the fourth down is over, the count resets to the first down, commonly noted as “1st and 10” to indicate that the standard 10 yards ( 9. 1 m ) are once again required to reset to the first down.  Otherwise, the downs count from one to four. If four downs pass without resetting to the first down, control of the ball passes to the other team
This means that a team that moves the ball 10 or more yards on each play will never be on the deuxième down. Every time the ball is moved 10 yards ( 9. 1 m ) or more in the proper direction, the next play is a first down with 10 yards ( 9. 1 m ) to go.
The distance required to reset to the first down is cumulative, so course 4 yards ( 3. sept m ) on the first down, 3 yards ( 2. 7 m ) on the deuxième, and 3 yards ( 2. 7 m ) on the third is enough for the next play to be a first down again.
If a play ends with the ball behind the line of scrimmage, the difference in yards is added to the total number of yards required for a first down. For example, if the quarterback is tackled 7 yards ( 6. 4 m ) behind the line with the ball in his hands, the next play will be noted as “2nd and 17, ” meaning that 17 yards ( 15. 5 m ) must be covered in the next three plays to reset to a first down.
Instead of playing the fourth down, the offense can choose to punt the ball, which is a long kick that transfers control of the ball to the other team, but is likely to force them to start farther up the field than they would otherwise have been.