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LinkedIn users engage with content significantly less often than users on Instagram and Facebook. While LinkedIn’s total content amasses over 9 billion impressions per week, these impressions come from a small fraction of the total user base. In 2020, only 3 million of the 700 million LinkedIn users shared and interacted with content on a weekly basis, meaning 99% of users do not actively interact with their feed

So, why don’t LinkedIn members have the same presence and engagement rate on their professional platform as they do on social sites such as Instagram and Facebook? While U.S. Instagram users spend an average of 53 minutes per day on the app and Facebook users average around 58 minutes per day, LinkedIn users only spend an average of 17 minutes per month interacting with their feed.

Other Platforms and Why They Receive More Interaction

My first hypothesis was that perhaps LinkedIn is too “real” and practical for its Millennial audience. I speak from the perspective of a Gen Z 20 year old who is often labeled as a Millennial, so I wanted to know how my peers felt about the issue. When asked about which social media platform they prefer, my peers replied, “Instagram” across the board, from athletes to artists to accountants. 

In fact, when I asked for their impression of LinkedIn, they thought it had “more of a professional vibe.” This seemed like a nice way to say they could not relate to the content, or they feel too intimidated by the types of posts in their feed to respond or post content of their own.

Now, you may be thinking, what is wrong with the average person spending 3 times as long on Instagram and Facebook in one day than they spend on LinkedIn in one month? Maybe you or someone you know is using their Facebook or Instagram account to promote global issues or their small business. Now imagine if all the posts on your feed were this type of wholesome content to better yourself and your community. This is the premise of LinkedIn: a space for people to share their professional insights and learn about pressing issues both in their own field and in others.

I don’t believe that LinkedIn’s Millennial population (38% of LinkedIn’s total) is inactive due to their lack of fascinating content to contribute or their lack of interest in the networking capabilities LinkedIn has to offer. Instead, I think the lack of contribution on LinkedIn by my Gen Z and Millennial peers illuminates a larger issue: the addiction to superficial content on social platforms combined with the intimidation of a professional atmosphere, disincentivizes participation. 

Across all social media platforms, the key to high engagement is to have meaningful images that will inspire or teach viewers about something to help them professionally. 

And, it’s not just Gen Z or Millennials who are attracted to posts with images; in Maddy Osmand’s article, “Mind-Blowing LinkedIn Statistics and Facts” she provides context for this suspicion. She notes, “Images improve your posts’ popularity…including photos (in LinkedIn posts) increases the comment rate by 98 percent” (Osmand, 2020).

Even in the context of LinkedIn, people prefer pictures to words. Instagram is successful because they require users to post images when sharing content, thus promoting higher engagement with the platform’s feed and features. LinkedIn users should replicate this method to increase engagement, and maybe if enough people start posting interesting content in a tried and true format, with eye-catching images, LinkedIn will become more welcoming to the generation who has shunned it. 

This topic is close to my heart because I want our media intake to be more meaningful in 2021. 

My proposition to those of you who instinctively open Facebook or Instagram the moment you pick up your phone, is to think about this post and try using LinkedIn for more than just the resting place of your resumé. Start the new year fresh and reconsider your media consumption. 


Rachel Beygelman | Graphic Designer and Content Creator for Claro Analytics | Student at Rhode Island School of Design

Resources:

Mind-Blowing LinkedIn Statistics and Facts (2021)

https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/average-daily-time-on-social-media

Attributions:

https://lovepik.com/images/png-blue.html — Blue PNG vectors by Lovepik.com