‘Top Contributor’ In LinkedIn Groups – Explained

Andy Foote | Activity, All-Star, Gamification, Groups, LinkedIn, Marketing, Profile, Top Contributor
6 Dec 2013
Pinterest

Lady Shave 1

Recently (December 4th) LinkedIn introduced a new way of encouraging its users to contribute in LinkedIn Groups. They launched a new status symbol which can be visible to everyone viewing your Profile. I’ve researched this new feature, here’s my analysis.

 

INFLUENCE v CONTRIBUTION
The whole concept of grading activity in LinkedIn Groups has evolved from being categorized as “influential”… TI 4

…to one now defined by LinkedIn as”contributory”.Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.40.02 PM

 

Why have LinkedIn changed the concept/definition of activity which they deem to have a positive effect on their myriad communities? A number of reasons:

 

(1) they already have “Influencers” (famous & semi-famous business personalities).
(2) influence conceptually is difficult to define, means different things to different people.
(3) the “contributor” label comes with less social baggage than “influencer”.
(4) anyone can contribute, it’s a warm fuzzy, egalitarian concept.
(5) LinkedIn Groups suffer from a lack of contribution (i.e participation).

 

THE LINKEDIN EXPLANATION
This is how LinkedIn explains “Top Contributor” (LinkedIn Help Center 12/3/13):

 

Fostering great discussions in your LinkedIn Group is important to keeping your group active and interesting to the members. Because of this, we’ve introduced contribution levels, a new system that shows members how influential they are in a group. On the right side of your group page you’ll see the Top Contributors in this group section as well as your own contribution level in this group. Top contributors are group members who post the most interesting discussions and comments. The top contributors will have a text indicator under their headline any time they post a discussion in the group. Clicking a profile image or name will take you to that member’s activity page. The Top Contributor indicator will also appear on a member’s profile.

Contribution levels are group specific and recalculated every day. The contribution levels are, in order:

  • Getting started
  • Finding an audience
  • Making an impact
  • Building influence
  • Top Contributor

Important: To increase your contribution level, start interesting discussions and comment thoughtfully on other group members’ discussions. As people interact more with you, you’ll see your score go up. Your contribution level will go down if you are not active or your posts are promotional or inappropriate for the group.

 

My summary: We want active LinkedIn Groups, we think good dialogue is key so we’re going to reward the good stuff by awarding you status. If you win this competition, your victor status will be displayed publicly. This competition never ends. You’re only as good as your last contribution to that Group.

 

“ALL-STAR” & “TOP CONTRIBUTOR”
LinkedIn are using the same stimulus approach deployed to encourage users to complete their LinkedIn Profile, the color scheme is almost identical:

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 11.03.34 AM

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.37.03 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.37.36 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.38.33 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 1.47.08 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.46.27 AM

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 11.16.25 AM

 

Though LinkedIn tells you there are 5 levels of contribution, I’ve found 6. If you’ve never contributed in one of your Groups (including ‘liked’ a Discussion/Comment) you’ll be greeted with the empty gas tank symbol. No color for you, not even a red warning light. You’re not even a “Beginner” since technically you’ve not begun anything. In LinkedIn’s eyes there is always room for improvement, so both “All-Star” and “Top Contributor” category have a 98% completion graphic. The only difference between “All-Star” and “Top Contributor”? The latter is public and is displayed in the Group in which you’ve attained that status and on your Profile in the Groups section, under the relevant Group. No one knows whether you are an “All-Star” or not.

 

WIIFM?
It depends on your professional goals and whether LinkedIn Groups are part of your networking strategy. If you’re in a customer-facing role then clearly being a “Top Contributor” will be attractive. Job-seekers will also benefit by having this status displayed to folks who ordinarily wouldn’t see it (i.e browsers who don’t belong to the same Groups). In fact anyone who is looking to add credibility to their professional image on LinkedIn could gain a minor (temporary) boost by becoming a “Top Contributor”. The other thing to note:  you won’t have to pay for this shiny new bauble. So job-seekers, save your money and invest some of your valuable networking time in high-quality, well-run, industry-specific LinkedIn Groups. Add value, not just your opinions. Be signal, not noise. Personally, I welcome this development and think it’s good for LinkedIn Groups. A step in the right direction. I run 6 LinkedIn Groups with close to 30,000 members and the vast majority (99%) never participate in public. There’s a populist saying “When everyone does better – everyone does better” and this is undoubtedly true and applicable to LinkedIn Groups. If you join a community and never contribute, the community suffers and ultimately so do you, there is an opportunity deficit. LinkedIn is trying to be that Teacher who picks on the quiet row at the back. Will it work? Only time will tell. I think having “Top Contributor” hidden away in the Groups section, buried on someone’s Profile, is a marketing failure – it needs to be more visible, displayed prominently like a Premium or Job Seeker badge, for this campaign to work. LinkedIn ought to give it the ‘Endorsement’ treatment – a dedicated Profile Section with a week and month view displaying when and where “Top Contributor” status was earned.

 

WHY VIEWS ARE PRIZED
“Group participants get 4x the number of profile views” why is this valuable? Views are incredibly important on LinkedIn. You may be supremely talented, great at your job, well educated, universally adored with a knock-out Profile (see (1) below)  but none of that matters a whit if no one ever visits your LinkedIn page. And you can forget about ‘searches’, those are not the same as ‘views’. Searches are mere impressions, views are actual clicks. I developed a technique to boost my LinkedIn Profile views by 200% (that’s 12,000 more views on my LinkedIn page) you can read more in my post “Measure Your LinkedIn ROI With Views Not Searches“.

 

LINKEDIN CONSULTING
If you liked this article, you’ll love my customized consulting service. I’ve helped many professionals to achieve their full potential on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not somewhere you paste your resumé, sit back and wait for things to happen. It’s a complicated and nuanced website portal that requires action, consistency, insight, branding strategy and marketing know-how. What you don’t know – could hurt you.

 

Whether it’s getting more traffic on your Profile, engaging with a stunningly good Summary or refreshing your LinkedIn presence and brand – share your goals with me and I’ll help you to achieve all of them via LinkedIn.

 

Contact me now: linkedinsights@gmail.com / 773.469.6600 to find out how I can help you.

 

That’s all from me for this week. Have you noticed that I have no advertising on my site? It’s because I don’t want to bother or distract you, the reader. But I do need advertising! – if you liked what you read, PLEASE share this article with at least one person you know via LinkedIn, twitter, google+ or Facebook, it’s good to share :-)

By Andy Foote

 

btw-  for those of you wondering what the heck the picture of the lady shaving has to do with the subject in hand…all of the pictures I use in this blog have some kind of relevant message….this pic was famous back in the day (’86) and the accompanying caption was: “Despite what some people think. advertising can’t make you buy something you don’t need“. I worry that the “Top Contributor” campaign may be an advertisement which is trying to sell something that people (may) think they don’t need.

Share and Enjoy

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Instapaper
  • Pinterest

Tags: , , , , ,

10 Comments

  1. I had noticed the scaling of contribution yesterday when I logged in to comment on a Group Discussion in one of the Groups and thought, when is LinkedIn going to explain this? The email announcing the new feature arrived this morning.

    I prefer the contributor label to the influencer since many posts are simply links to blog posts and very few are real conversations. Thanks for the comprehensive explanation, Andy.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Can you send the text of the email to me Vatsala? I don’t subscribe to LinkedIn marketing messaging (maybe I should!) so I didn’t get it (linkedinsights@gmail.com).

      If “Top Contributor” reduces irrelevant/promotional posts in Groups, that would be great but it remains to be seen exactly how it will achieve this feat. If LinkedIn are going to rely on Group Owners & Mods in this respect, then nothing will change – spam infested Groups will remain spammy, well-run Groups will continue on their spam-fighting course. We shall see.

    • As concerns me I fully agree with the new concept. More exactly apart from the new evaluation method I think everybody has to give more and more contribution i.e. comments to the different discussions. The result is obvious.

      Bertalan

  2. Hugh Rick says:

    Thanks for sharing your take on the new activity rating LI is initiating, I too am anxious to see if this increases spamming in groups. I think the LI powers that be will have to somehow address this issue if that becomes the case. They have to want quality posts versus number of posts by an individual. Ought to be an interesting exercise….

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks for commenting Hugh. You said it – “quality posts versus number of posts”, the big question for anyone interested in Groups is whether TC is clever enough to spot good content or not. LinkedIn capped visible Connections at 500, visible Endorsements at 99 and tucked Recommendations in roll-ups, so they do have a history of tackling the ‘competitive’ LinkedIn user. TC is a different kind of status symbol though and we still don’t know what input/effect if any, LinkedIn Group Moderators will have on this new feature.

  3. […] a Top Contributor is just cool. If you participate consistently, post great content and add value with your […]

  4. Andrea says:

    Interesting read Andy, thanks for sharing. I’d like to hear your opinion on how the content is being “ranked” in groups: How does the contributors-ranking affect the visibility of the posts itself?
    Example: I daily receive e-mail notifications if there is a new discussion but I don’t know if every discussion is being sent per e-mail to all members.

  5. Wil says:

    Andy, this is a fine article. I just recently became aware of and interested in the Top Contributor designation. The tips that you share have motivated me to keep the Top Contributor status I currently have and to vie for more.

    Thank you for this. I found this article by Googling “LinkedIn Top Contributor”

  6. Edward G Gallegos says:

    Everyday I’m learning more about LinkedIn. I would like to see a “one – stop” where I could find every question I had about LinkedIn answered. This has been very informative Andy even though I’m a little late in running across this posting.

Leave a Reply

Read Previous Post Activity, All-Star, Gamification, Groups, LinkedIn, Marketing, Profile, Top Contributor (8 of 32 articles)


The biggest lie on LinkedIn is that you're not supposed to connect with people you don't know.   "We recommend that you only send invitations to people you know ...