Everyone is sheltered at home, so it doesn’t surprise me to see more use of live video on social platforms. When I check Facebook or Instagram lately, I’ll often see the “Live” indicator in the Stories section of my feed. When I login to LinkedIn, my Notifications area will often tell me that a connection “is live” or “was live.”

LinkedIn Live launched as a beta service in early 2019. In a prior post on the Leadtail blog, I gave my predictions for LinkedIn Live. In this post, I’ll grade my predictions, take a look at how marketers are currently using LinkedIn Live and share feature improvements from early adopters.

Report card: LinkedIn Live predictions

Prediction: Roll-out will be slow at first, but made available to all users by year-end 2019

Grade: F

LinkedIn Live has not been rolled at to all users. One thing that changed: during the early rollout in 2019, the service was available to an exclusive set of invitation-only users. Today, you can fill out an online form on the LinkedIn website to request access to LinkedIn Live. A few users told me that they submitted the application and were approved shortly thereafter. I’ll give it a try soon.

Prediction: Initially, the LinkedIn algorithm will favor LinkedIn Live video.

Grade: Incomplete

It’s hard to know how the LinkedIn algorithm treats LinkedIn Live videos and whether it’s giving them preferential treatment. I see a LinkedIn Live broadcast happening in my Notifications area — I don’t recall ever seeing it in my newsfeed. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if LinkedIn started “pinning” a LinkedIn Live to the top of the newsfeed, inviting users to click in to join the live broadcast. So call that a new prediction.

Prediction: The most common form of LinkedIn Live will be “talking head.”

Grade: C-

The most common format I’m seeing is the two-person, side-by-side conversation. When making my prediction, I pictured LinkedIn Live videos being similar to Facebook Live, where users sit in front of their laptops, tablets or smartphones. They’d be in their home office, chatting with us. I’m NOT seeing much of this format on LinkedIn Live.

Prediction: LinkedIn Live could encroach on webinar platform vendors. 

Grade: F

This prediction was predicated on a concerted move (by LinkedIn, the company) to play in the webinar space. As far as I know, this has not happened.

Prediction: LinkedIn Live integrates with other products in the LinkedIn family.

Grade: F

As far as I know, this has not happened.

Note to self: stop making predictions on the Leadtail blog!

How marketers are using LinkedIn Live?

Michael Krigsman hosts a popular show and podcast called CxOTalk. Michael uses LinkedIn Live for interviews that are more informal and casual than CxOTalk. According to Michael, “We see LinkedIn Live as an excellent complement to the Friday CxOTalk shows that we have been running since 2013.”

In this video, Michael talks to Steve Mann, former CMO of LexisNexis. The interview lasted 40 minutes. The camera pans back and forth based on who’s speaking. Michael mixed in questions submitted by live viewers.

Ann Handley and Marcus Sheridan recently launched a video series on LinkedIn called “#InThisTogether with Ann and Marcus.” Ann and Marcus recorded a series of on-demand videos and made them available to their followers.

Recently, they decided to shift to a live format using LinkedIn Live. Ann and Marcus use the fixed, side-by-side view, meaning you can see both of them no matter who’s talking. Here is a recent episode:

Sydni Craig-Hart, CEO of Smart Simple Marketing, spoke at a physical event that she helped produce for Small Business Week San Francisco.

According to Sydni, “We created an opportunity for Instagram, LinkedIn and Yelp to interact with small business owners in real-time and over 21,000 professionals watched live from around the world.” The LinkedIn Live video was carried on the LinkedIn for Small Business page.

Watch the on-demand video:

Requested enhancements for LinkedIn Live

Currently, users cannot launch a LinkedIn Live directly from the platform. Instead, they must use one of a few third party tools and connect that tool to their LinkedIn account. Essentially, users broadcast from the tool and the stream is relayed to LinkedIn.

Sydni would love to see support for LinkedIn Live directly from the platform, in the same way Facebook users launch a Facebook Live.

Michael Krigsman finds the comment feature a bit tedious:

“Ideally, LinkedIn should update comments on the live stream in real time as those comments occur. However, the page does not update automatically, so the only way to see updated comments is to manually refresh the page.

Worse, the default sorting for comments is by relevance rather than most recent. Therefore, in addition to continually refreshing the page, you must manually switch to sort comments by most recent addition to see the updated conversation flow.”

In addition, Michael has the following suggestions for the LinkedIn Live team:

Create an offline testing feature. Currently, there is no way to test Linkedin Live privately. Unfortunately, my 15,000 received notifications when I was learning how to use the service because there is no test mode.

Make the live stream more visible. Although LinkedIn posts a clear notification, finding the live stream remains too difficult.

Implement real chat. Video means interaction and right now it’s far too difficult. Replace the old-style threaded bulletin-board format with chat. Apple Messages offers a great role model.

What has been your experience with LinkedIn Live? Feel free to tweet us @Leadtail.

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