Tuesday 2¢ – Working For LinkedIn for Free?

My thought for this week is to ensure you get something from what you give on social media and not just vanity metrics.

As you know, LinkedIn’s business model, like any social media platform, is to monetize our content and details with ads, leveraging the fact that other people want to engage with us and consume our content.

For these media companies, we are the freelance reporters, copywriters, cartoonists and opinion columnists who gladly work for them for free. And not just a rubbish 2¢ of opinion like this, but sometimes it’s highly produced TV-quality programming.

The description of social media as “rented land” conjures up a romantic vision of having a small holding or allotment that you tend to and reap the fruits of your labor, but maybe it’s more like showing up at someone else’s office, sitting at a desk and working for…. Nada.

Of course, the quid pro quo is that this is a giant open mic networking event, and in return for our content labor, the platform provides the location, the cheap wine, and the nibbles that bring a new audience to us for the betterment of our careers and businesses.

Or maybe it’s just a vast cube farm of other people like us working for free, and we get to chat at the water cooler between shifts 🙂

Whatever, this has served many of us very well. Thank you.

Although, you could argue that lately, this seems to have gotten a bit skewed. As the algorithms get more refined toward supporting the platform’s business model, you no longer get so much organic reach for the free content production hours you put in; you need to top that up with some actual cash.

But I’ve digressed.

I enjoy LinkedIn; it’s been fabulous for me. The problem is when we forget why we are doing this—that quid pro quo—and whether the juice is worth the squeeze.

For some, free content production for LinkedIn (the success of which is measured by vanity metrics of engagement on LinkedIn) has become a marketing goal in itself. And the real reason for doing it, in our marketing master plan, is lost.

And yet, there are many wonderful reasons for doing it, including networking, community, and building trust and awareness. We just need to make sure we are measuring the right things.

That’s my thought for this week: Make sure that you have your eye on this prize and are getting paid, not working for LinkedIn for free.

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