a pen with a LinkedIn logo
LinkedIn has a big opportunity with its Groups. Now it needs to act on it. PHOTO: Sheila Scarborough

Since being acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion back in 2016, social media platform LinkedIn has transformed itself from a corporate resume-led networking site to a vibrant B2B hub where professionals and entrepreneurs can share ideas, expand their reach and connect with each other. Currently, LinkedIn boasts over 560 million users in more than 200 countries.

Following the success of live streaming on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, LinkedIn has sought to leverage its own take on live streaming with LinkedIn Live. With the help of leading industry experts and practitioners, here's a closer look at LinkedIn’s latest live streaming feature and how it can be leveraged by brands, executives, entrepreneurs and influencers.

What Is LinkedIn Live?

LinkedIn Live is a live video streaming service that was released in early February on the LinkedIn platform as an invite-only beta version for US users. This new feature comes 18 months after LinkedIn began supporting video.  

Microsoft is supporting LinkedIn Live through its Azure Media Services, which is providing the necessary encoding technology to be able to seamlessly stream live videos. LinkedIn is also partnering with Brandlive, Wirecast, Wowza Media Systems, Switcher Studio and Socialive, to enable content creators to access experienced broadcasting streaming services.

“Like other live streaming services, LinkedIn Live allows marketers and brands to broadcast real-time videos and engage with large and small groups. Viewers have the ability to like the video during the broadcast and ask the host questions in real-time,” said Dave Gerhardt, VP of marketing at Drift.  

Why Has LinkedIn Introduced LinkedIn Live?

The introduction of LinkedIn Live illustrates that the platform is increasing its emphasis on video content because this medium is generating the most engagement. According to Marketing Land, LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share a video than any other type of post. In addition, this new feature is building upon the record levels of engagement. According to Microsoft’s Q1 2019 report, "LinkedIn revenue increased 33 percent (up 33 percent in constant currency) with record levels of engagement highlighted by LinkedIn sessions growth of 34 percent."

According to Gerhardt, LinkedIn live holds a significant advantage in terms of its stable user base. “LinkedIn Live is late to the game compared to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But, whereas the popularity of other networks can be unpredictable, LinkedIn isn't going anywhere and is a particularly important channel for B2B marketers,” said Gerhardt.

With Microsoft already owning 75 percent of the desktop computer market share, and given that it spent a significant amount to acquire LinkedIn, it is safe to say that LinkedIn will be around for quite a while.

Related Article: Content Modeling: What It is and How to Get Started

How Can Brands Leverage LinkedIn Live?

“There is a lot of potential for marketers to leverage LinkedIn Live,” said Kristen Dea, social media strategist at SEO.com. “With the live video, people can like and comment in real-time and the video hosts can also moderate comments in real-time. This can be great for podcasts, team office meetings, conferences, earnings calls, Q&A sessions and product or service announcements.”

So, how can brands leverage these strategies? Here are some ideas:

1. Fireside Chats

Also known as informal presentations or conversations, fireside chats can help you generate new leads for your brand. For hosting fireside chats, choose a topic that is related to your industry. You can base the chat on a previous presentation you did at a conference or YouTube video, or you can create something original. Fireside chats can allow you to walk your viewer through a dense, but structured, topic or idea.

2. Product Releases and Demos

You can utilize LinkedIn Live to showcase a new product or update. The live visual feed will enable you to interact with your consumers, answering any question they might have with the product.

Related Article: Why Marketers Think LinkedIn Is On the Rise

3. Live Streaming Conferences and Events

If your brand is hosting an event or conference, you can live stream behind the scene feeds or you can live stream actual presentations for those who can’t attend. And with the real-time comments features, you will be able to relay any questions your viewers might have for the speaker. And if you are visiting a conference you can live stream key takeaways from a keynote presentation or conduct interviews with speakers.

4. Q&A Sessions

You can also host a live Q&A session with those in your industry or with your client base. It is a good way to cross promote your brand to the interviewee’s followers, increasing brand awareness as a result.

5. Wrap-up of Industry News

The final suggestion is to host a weekly “wrap-up” of the latest trends and news that have happened in your industry. These wrap-ups can help you position yourself as an expert in your field without having to write a blog post or edit a YouTube video.