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Content creators are becoming the backbone and main attraction of many social media platforms.
The phrase started from YouTube as a more elegant description for people who uploaded videos but has spread to Instagram, TikTok and now LinkedIn. But unlike the other three platforms, LinkedIn does not have a notable video or visual element, and the features they have taken from other social media sites like their “stories” feature have been discontinued.
So what makes a Linkedin content creator? What do they contribute that’s unique to the platform and attracts other users to follow and engage with them? According to LinkedIn itself, a creator is someone who empowers and educates their professional community with the use of LinkedIn’s tools for optimizing their profile, targeting their audience and abiding by the best practices of content that LinkedIn outlines.
If we dive deeper into the best practices, we can get a better sense of how LinkedIn defines “creators”:
Each post should be treated as an opportunity to start a conversation — not an opportunity for self or brand promotion.
They should have a diverse content mix of articles, videos, polls, and more — and post frequently, as much as 4 times a week.
They should be a source of ideas and thought leadership. A LinkedIn creator doesn’t segregate news, they give their unique perspective on it.
Finally, they should treat LinkedIn as a bridge to their brand by ending each post with a pathway to more content like blogs or longer videos.
Related: How LinkedIn is Helping Entrepreneurs
Looking at these four guidelines that LinkedIn lays out, this tracks what both platforms and platform users are expecting from content creators. Sales-centric content and shameless self-promotion are unattractive to both social media users and the sites themselves, which is why platforms like TikTok have accounts specifically for creators that don’t get as heavily promoted by their algorithm.
Consumers have grown hyper-attuned and weary of sales tactics — they can spot them from a distance and will go out of their way to avoid interacting with social media salespeople and brand promoters. In exchange for following a personality online, they want something in return — the product that content creators on LinkedIn can give is their expertise. And the truth is, if you’re an expert, you don’t need to be a salesperson, because your expertise will do the selling for you.
One thing that LinkedIn has the capability of that other heavily creator-dependent sites don’t is the ability to post diverse content. Video might be the future, but some content creators could feel boxed in by the limits of Instagram and TikTok’s format. On LinkedIn, words matter and the ability to start a conversation in the span of a single post is what defines a successful content creator.
But now, to the more important question: Does being a LinkedIn creator actually mean anything?
On TikTok and YouTube, creators have a financial incentive for success — both platforms have started funds to pay out creators who reach a certain follower or subscriber threshold. LinkedIn has no equivalent of this — perhaps because the concept of a LinkedIn content creator is so new that the platform doesn’t have enough data to invest.
Related: The Underrated Power of LinkedIn Content Creation
Linkedin is in a state of flux but they’re handling it better than most adapting platforms. They’ve shown a willingness to try anything but never feel stuck to committing to an idea that isn’t working (ex. Linkedin Stories.) However, when they do have a good idea on their hands (ex. their ticketed virtual events feature), they’ve been shown to put resources into it so the feature can scale and evolve.
As of now, though, being labeled as a LinkedIn content creator is more of a status symbol for LinkedIn than it is for the users. LinkedIn gets to boast about having you on its platform — before you dive fully into carving out your space there, it might suit you to wonder “What exactly am I getting from this?”
If you’re a thought leader on LinkedIn, chances are you have both a stable career and are a thought leader in other elements of your life, whether that’s through a website, blog, podcast or another avenue of content. If this is the case, it begs the question: Who is the content creator status on LinkedIn really for?
Related: I Raised $1.3 Million for My Startup From a Single LinkedIn Post