Shreyas Kulkarni
Social Media

LinkedIn Stories: What’s in it for brands and advertisers?

Will it help brands and advertisers to reach their consumers, or is it a misstep from LinkedIn?

When one says stories, one imagines tales of warriors, elves, magic carpets, pirates, etc. But, in the world of social media, it is a collection of videos or images, which you can edit and refine. It stays on your profile for 24 hours and then disappears.

Facebook has it. Instagram is notorious for it and even Twitter introduced it (called Fleets) this year. Joining these social media companies is the professional networking platform LinkedIn.

An email announcing this feature on October 6 quoted Ashutosh Gupta, India country manager, LinkedIn, as saying, “In a virtually connected world, ‘Stories’ are the virtual water coolers. Members can share their everyday professional moments in a creative and authentic way, and find a new way to stay connected with their networks.”

“Along with the launch of Stories, we have also introduced a host of platform enhancements that offer an inclusive and enjoyable LinkedIn experience. The new look and feel of LinkedIn showcases our commitment to creating an engaging, supportive, diverse and respectful community, which is at the heart of everything we do at LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn Stories: What’s in it for brands and advertisers?

On LinkedIn Stories, you can publish photos and videos up to 20 seconds long, which will be visible on your profile for 24 hours. To help its Indian members add excitement with their Stories, LinkedIn has launched six localised quirky stickers that depict work-life unique to the country.

As per the platform, “Stories allow members to send messages to connections and followers, and ‘mention’/ tag connections in a Story. They can also see who has viewed their Story, increasing engagement and giving insight on activity for your posts.”

“Additionally, features, such as ‘Question of the Day’, asks members what they’re working on, or how they recharge on their day off. Their Story responses help members start new conversations, acting as icebreakers.”

Now, we are used to people sharing their vacation and road trips on their stories (switch it to home cooking and décor during the lockdown). Brands use it to lure users with contests, engage with consumers through interesting creatives, and even share a small headline or two with the option to follow the stories to their homepage or blog.

LinkedIn Stories: What’s in it for brands and advertisers?
LinkedIn Stories: What’s in it for brands and advertisers?

For instance, above are two Instagram Stories screenshots from online delivery giant Swiggy’s profile. One is a snippet of stand-up comedian Siddharth Dudeja’s performance and the second one is about a code you can use to get up to Rs 75 off from Swiggy health club. It fits with the platform because Instagram users often scroll through videos and images, and will only stop to read or engage in its entirety if they find it interesting.

LinkedIn, however, is a platform where one doesn’t socialise (it’s changing now). One visits LinkedIn to build connections, search for jobs, and network and engage with ‘formal’ companies, such as a bank, an investment company, or an insurance firm (not always true, the so-called ‘casual’ companies engage with LinkedIn users too). But, the feel of the platform has always remained ‘serious’, while Stories exudes ‘casual’.

We (afaqs!) asked if this new feature on LinkedIn will help brands and advertisers to reach their consumers. Or, is it a misstep by a 'professional network' to ape a feature from 'social media' platforms?

Asha Kharga, executive VP and group chief marketing officer, Axis Bank, told us that Stories are a great way for corporate brands to have conversations. “Post-COVID, LinkedIn has also strengthened itself as a work-life platform, where work and life stories have organically blended into each other.”

Asha Kharga
Asha Kharga

She continued that Stories is, therefore, another opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s creativity and authenticity in a way that’ll nurture the brand’s professional relationships. It does so in a light-hearted way in the professional context.

Gopa Menon, chief operating officer, Isobar India, says that it’s a good move by LinkedIn because it is moving with times. Also, all the other social platforms are pretty much giving the same experience in that sense. So, Stories is becoming increasingly popular among consumers.

Gopa Menon
Gopa Menon

While LinkedIn is a professional platform, some people and brands want to engage, and so, how they go about it will be interesting to see because a “one-size-fits-all Story, say, for Instagram and LinkedIn won’t work.”

Brands will have to be careful when they’re thinking of using LinkedIn Stories. But, it is good for influencers and brands too to push a narrative and have engagement… It will (ultimately) depend on how brands, people, agencies or influencers use the feature.