LinkedIn expanding on 'followers' feature

The professional network adds new features to its "influencers" to keep users coming back for more.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read

Letting users tap industry leaders for original content must be working out for LinkedIn. The professional network is getting more social today, adding a leaderboard for its subscription service and recommendations on who to follow based on member interests.

The company launched the ability for its 175 million members to subscribe to industry leaders, dubbed "influencers" by LinkedIn, and their industry-focused posts last month. The model is similar to Twitter's, in which a person can follow someone without needing them to follow back.

Since LinkedIn's launch of the subscriptions, the elite industry leaders, hand-picked by LinkedIn, have received more than 4 million follows and authored over 850 original posts for the network.

Its new design will include an influencers' leaderboard that ranks people by their follower counts and lets members sort posts by date or alphabetical order. The network will also start showing members suggested influencers based on their interests.

What has LinkedIn learned from its users in the last month? They love Virgin CEO Richard Branson, who has almost a million followers reading his thoughts on running a multinational corporation.

LinkedIn wouldn't say how influencers are keeping users active on the network, but the subscription feature has attracted more influencers if nothing else.

More industry leaders have joined as influencers since the launch. These include Box CEO Aaron Levie; Brad Feld, the managing director of venture capital firm Foundry Group; Lucy Marcus, CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting; and John Byrne, the chairman of Poets & Quants, a social network dedicated to graduate business school education.

LinkedIn has been working hard to try and remake it self into a site its members would want to access daily. Along with the subscriptions model, the network has revamped its home, news and profile pages, while also adding a notifications bartelling members when there's something new in their network.

Correction, 9:20 a.m. PT: The original post listed the number of follows as followers by mistake.