It's always funny to see the big social networks copying features from each other and generally imitating the things that they see working elsewhere. Facebook have been especially good at it copying everything from the @ symbol
to jumping on Foursquare's success with Facebook places. Linkedin has largely ignored these trends and chartered it's own course until recently when it's starting jumping on the success of Facebook and trying to copy many of the things that make Facebook the huge success that it is today. The main reasons for this is because it's smart to evolve and copy what is working elsewhere but also Linkedin could see Facebook as a competitor one day because of the amount of data they have and the extent of the size of the platform. Here is just how and why Linkedin is starting to copy Facebook in so many ways...
The Problem For Linkedin
Linkedin have an amazing platform but to a large extent people only go there for one of two reasons..1.To get a new job 2.To look for business leads. There are of course exceptions but when people mostly use you for those 2 reasons it leaves them off on other sites lots of the time. Linkedin has been smart enough to realize that they needed to evolve from quite a static website in to an open platform with a large focus on real time data and content. Recent initiatives like Linkedin Today are helping keep users engaged but it's from Facebook's success that Linkedin are taking most of their pointers...
Allowing Brands To Engage With The Platform
Unless you want to pay for pretty standard advertising on Linkedin the opportunities for brands to engage have been few and far between. It was a great place to recruit but in terms of reaching the 100 million business users brands had very few options. Linkedin have however opened up the site in an effort to turn it in to more of a platform in the same way that Facebook did and the early signs are good as brands start to develop campaigns around the data that the site can provide.This example from Volkswagen shows the future of what brands will be doing on Linkedin.
Focusing On Content Through The Wall
If you are a regular Linkedin user you will have noticed how the site is changing in recent months. It used to be very static and you would simply head over to Linkedin to search for people but the new layout sees a "wall" at the front and center of the site encouraging you to share content. Having an activity stream just like Facebook keeps users more engaged and gives the site a more real time feel. It's not quite on the Facebook level in terms of engagement but that is where they are heading.
Sharing Buttons Starting To Appear Everywhere
Just like the Like button on Facebook the new share buttons from Linkedin have started to appear all over the web. Although they are not as popular as the Like button they do provide millions of links back to Linkedin. The most important thing here is that users choosing to hit the Linkedin share button are pushing content back in to Linkedin and bringing the site to life and providing relevant information for their own networks.
Giving Companies Their Own Pages
Facebook had huge success introducing pages for companies and businesses and Linkedin have been quick to do the same. Brands and businesses can now allow people to "follow" them as well as sharing information with their users. The pages don't have as much flexibility as Facebook pages but it is early days and they will no doubt expand them further soon.
Linkedin Evolving Nicely
You can see how the Linkedin site is evolving and clearly taking a lead form the huge success that Facebook has had. It's all about getting more content in to the site, making it more of a platform and hopefully having somewhere that the big brands can come in and target users based on the stunning data that Linkedin have. What do you think? Are Linkedin copying Facebook or is this all their own innovation?