Using LinkedIn Video Without Embarrassing Yourself

Celebrate! Rejoice! Dance in the virtual streets! LinkedIn has finally, finally gotten around to adding a dedicated video service, albeit currently only available to a small number of users. So what will it look like? What will it mean? How will people use it when it is rolled out to all users worldwide?
LinkedIn’s most obvious differentiation from other social media websites is also its whole reason for existing – it’s a place for working professionals to connect. Coming in from the static media wilderness is a big step for LinkedIn, because the platform, more than any other social media service, is beholden to its image. Any change bigger than a UI update is a delicate proposition.
So far, its care and conservatism seems to have worked. LinkedIn is by far the most trusted social media service out there, and ranks lowest for annoying and intrusive ads. In which case the question is, what impact will video sharing have on LinkedIn’s user base? Will we suddenly be engulfed under an avalanche of low quality sales pitches, memes, and vlogs? Will this open the door for the dreaded auto playing video ads of Facebook infamy?
Most importantly, if you’re planning on taking advantage of this brave new medium as a recruiter, how can you avoid looking stupid?
We have some quick tips:

 Remember the platform

Every social media service has a dedicated niche. Twitter keeps busy people up to date and in the loop in as few characters as possible, with a side business in letting you vent. YouTube is a challenger to traditional television. Facebook exists to bring them all together and, in the darkness, bind them.
LinkedIn is a little different. Given it’s for your professional life exclusively, and given you’ll presumably be using it to reach out to talent, you have to consider what’s appropriate to the setting. What looks good in the space? What kind of video would you be happy to have representing your company? Your team? Your culture? What’s not going to look incongruous on a potential viewers feed, bracketed as it might be between a post about a positive workplace experience, and a job offer?

 Remember your audience

Don’t just think about the space, think about who inhabits it. Pretty much everyone uses LinkedIn the same way you do. The service it provides is very focused – making contact and keeping in touch with other professionals, staying informed in your field, and keeping appraised of career opportunities.
Everyone who’s going to be your audience is doing one or all of those things. Videos that fit the niche, videos that deliver something tangible to the candidate outside a traditional pitch for your organisation, will undoubtedly do well. Include useful experiences, things you’ve learned, or what’s come of the opportunities your company has provided, and people will bite. Videos with very little value likely won’t see much exposure – everyone gets sales pitches, after all.

 After all that, still don’t be boring

OK yes. We’re all professionals on LinkedIn looking to connect with other professionals for professional reasons, professionally. And as a recruiter, you’ll want to demonstrate how professional and career boosting you are to a potential candidate.

But that doesn’t mean you can get away with being boring. Yes, probably your funny cat video will look silly in-context, but that’s no excuse for not being creative. Make it bright, funny, clever, worth listening to, and don’t shy away from a bit of clickbait. Just get it out there.
Listen, if you find a way to work pugs into a story about how you decentralised your VMS, I will crow your name from the rooftops.
Finally, since you’ll be likely to take advantage of the advertising services that are undoubtedly following this announcement, then remember:

 Be wary of video ads

By all means use them. They work. But here more than anywhere else be careful. A poorly made, poorly planned video published by you or your company that isn’t trying to sell anything might reflect badly on your brand. A poorly done ad might torpedo it. People really do not like intrusive or forceful advertisements, and depending on how the (predicted) video ad service shakes out, you’ll have to be very careful.
If your ads are auto-playing, don’t startle people with loud noises. If you want to retain viewers, keep them as short as humanly possible. Make them convenient, and be very careful if you want to make them funny, because whether you’re selling recruitment functions or fishing for candidates, nothing’s more awkward than a joke gone flat. If you want to get ahead of the curve, adopt the same guidelines that make for good Facebook ads, and when LinkedIn’s own particular advertising patois emerges, adapt on the fly.

We hope that helps

Eventually, LinkedIn will develop codified expectations and styles for video posts. But till then, just keep in mind your setting, your audience, and your message, and go wild.
Images: Shutterstock

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