Featured Article : LinkedIn Testing Premium Company Pages

LinkedIn is testing a ‘Premium Company Page’ subscription service for SMEs which includes AI-produced content and tools to grow follower counts, as well as other features to raise the profiles of subscribers.

What Is It? 

LinkedIn says the LinkedIn Premium Company Page is: “a subscription to help you make your Page stand out and convert more LinkedIn members into clients for your business. Premium Company Page gives you access to certain features that are only available to premium subscribers.” 

How Much? 

This service is rumoured to cost a pricey $99.99 per month per Page, reducing to $839.88 per page for an annual subscription. LinkedIn says that users can subscribe to their Premium Company Page from their Page super admin view. Users do not need a Premium Business subscription to get a Premium Company Page (these are separate subscriptions).

What Do You Get? 

The LinkedIn Premium Company Page offers users a range of premium LinkedIn features. These are:

– A custom call-to-action (CTA) button. As the name suggests, this is a button in which users can select their own custom name and unique url (for the call-to-action). Super admins who subscribe to the Premium Company Page can add this call-to-action button at the top of the Page, feed posts, and search result cards.

– The “Who’s visited my Page?” feature.  Again, as the name suggests, this feature allows Page admins to review visitor traffic and demographic trends across different time periods in Visitor Analytics. The Admin of a Premium Company Page can also use this feature to review a list of recent visitors to your Page within the Who’s Visited your Page section, subject to those visitors’ privacy settings. Admins can also see up to one new visitor’s details each day when eligible members visit the Page.

– The “Custom Testimonial” feature allows the inclusion of a testimonial or quote from a client and an optional image at the top of a subscriber’s LinkedIn Page. Linked says this feature will be made available “gradually.”

– Perhaps the most noteworthy feature is the “AI-powered post-writing assistance.” In other words, this is the use of LinkedIn’s generative AI (only available with a Premium Company Page subscription). LinkedIn says subscribers can use it to “generate a first draft of a post for your Page using your ideas on a topic” and that the tool “quickly transforms your ideas into a draft that you can edit before posting.” 

The ability to “auto-invite engaged members to follow your Page.”  LinkedIn says, with this feature “you can grow your followers by automatically inviting members who engage with your content to follow your Page” and that “After you enable automatic invitations (auto-invites), members who publicly reacted, commented on, or shared your posts in the past 30 days will be invited to follow your Page”. 

A gold LinkedIn ‘IN’ logo in the top right corner of each subscriber’s Page header to show that they have a Premium Company Page subscription. LinkedIn says this will help subscribers’ pages to stand out.

Premium Services – Monetising LinkedIn 

LinkedIn’s Premium Company Page is another example of how Microsoft’s LinkedIn has been engaged in significantly monetising its platform through the introduction and expansion of premium services, although these services still represent a relatively small percentage of overall users. This year, for example, LinkedIn’s premium subscriptions saw a notable 55 per cent growth year-over-year (Kinsta), highlighting the popularity of these services and the marketing efforts of LinkedIn.

Examples of other primary premium services offered by LinkedIn include:

– LinkedIn Premium Career. This service is designed to help individuals enhance their job search and career development by offering features such as the ability to see who viewed their profile, detailed insights into competitive applications, and direct messaging capabilities through InMail.

– LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This tool is geared towards sales professionals and offers advanced search capabilities, lead recommendations, and the ability to track potential and existing clients. It’s useful for generating leads and managing sales processes.

– LinkedIn Learning. Formerly known as Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning provides a wide range of courses aimed at professional development, covering topics from business and technology to creative subjects.

– LinkedIn Premium Business. This service focuses on providing deeper insights into business trends and the ability to make more informed decisions through more comprehensive market data.

Also, LinkedIn has rolled out other features like Collaborative Articles and verification badges, to enhance user engagement and trust on the platform. These initiatives not only improve the functionality of LinkedIn for its users but also contribute to LinkedIn’s overall monetisation strategy by making the platform more indispensable to business and career-oriented people.

While some critics have suggested that the features of LinkedIn Premium aren’t that much better than the free offerings, LinkedIn’s premium services can provide a way to gain advantages for those looking to expand their professional network and access detailed insights and opportunities not available with a basic account.

Competition 

In addition to monetising more of its premium services, LinkedIn’s Premium Company Pages also provides a way for LinkedIn to compete with other business-oriented social networking and content platforms’ offerings. For example, Facebook Business Pages, Twitter for Business/X For Business, Instagram Business Accounts, and Google My Business all offer tools that support brand visibility, customer engagement, and online marketing.

How Do You Sign Up? 

Since it’s early days and still in the testing phase, who can see the options for signing up (and a free trial first) depends on the user’s “eligibility” and LinkedIn says those who go to their LinkedIn homepage “may see different ways to try or purchase Premium.” 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The introduction (it’s still being tested at the moment) of LinkedIn’s Premium Company Page service marks a strategic move by Microsoft’s LinkedIn to further monetise its platform while offering enhanced tools for SMEs to distinguish themselves in a crowded digital marketplace. This service is particularly significant as it includes AI-produced content and features designed to increase follower counts and enhance page visibility, which could potentially be a game-changer for some small to medium-sized enterprises looking to expand their reach and convert LinkedIn members into clients.

For Microsoft’s LinkedIn, the Premium Company Page service represents another layer of monetisation on an already profitable platform. By adding premium features that are targeted specifically at businesses, LinkedIn can increase its revenue streams and also its appeal as a business-to-business service provider in the competitive social media landscape. This aligns with LinkedIn’s recent strategy of rolling out more specialised and high-value features, such as Collaborative Articles and verification badges, (aimed at boosting user engagement and trust).

For SMEs, the benefits of subscribing to LinkedIn’s Premium Company Page could be substantial, if it lives up to the hype. Features like custom call-to-action buttons, AI-powered post writing assistance, and advanced analytics on page visitors could enhance the marketing capabilities of a business directly within the LinkedIn ecosystem. For example, these tools may allow businesses to craft more targeted, effective marketing strategies and to engage more personally with both existing and potential new clients. Also, the visibility boost provided by premium features like the gold LinkedIn IN logo could potentially help SMEs stand out against their competitors on the platform.

However, the introduction of these premium services is also a sign of increased competition (and monetisation efforts) among social networking platforms that cater to business users. LinkedIn’s move, therefore, places it in more direct competition with platforms like Facebook Business Pages, Google My Business, and Twitter for Business/X For Business, each of which offers tools for business visibility and customer engagement. As LinkedIn enhances its offerings, these platforms may also respond by innovating and updating their services, which could lead to a more dynamic, competitive environment that pushes further advancements in digital business tools, and provides more new marketing options for business users.

Ultimately, therefore, LinkedIn hopes its Premium Company Page will make money and help solidify its position as a leader in professional networking and as an important platform for business growth and digital marketing. As and when this service rolls out, it will be interesting to see how it influences the competitive dynamics among the major players in social media and digital marketing.

Sustainability-in-Tech : 600% Data-Centre Electricity Increase In a Decade

In a speech shared on LinkedIn, National Grid Chief Executive, John Pettigrew, highlighted how demand for electricity from commercial data centres will increase six-fold, within just ten years.

Double The Demand On The Grid By 2050 

Comparing today’s problem of grid network constraint to that of the 1950s, Mr Pettigrew identified the key challenges of demand on the grid growing dramatically, and forecast to double by 2050 as heat, transport and industry continue to electrify.

Why The Dramatic Increase In Data Centre Power Demand? 

Mr Pettigrew put the dramatic predicted six-fold commercial data centre power demand down to factors like the future growth in foundational technologies like AI and quantum computing requiring larger scale, energy-intensive computing infrastructure.

Innovative Thinking Required 

Mr Pettigrew also highlighted how the UK’s high voltage ‘supergrid’ of overhead pylons and cables that powered the UK’s industries and economy over decades is now 70 years old. As such, faced with the challenge of needing to “create a transmission network for tomorrow’s future” Mr Pettigrew suggested that we are at a “pivotal moment” that “requires innovative thinking and bold actions.”

Possible Solutions 

One possible solution, highlighted in Mr Pettigrew’s speech, for creating a grid that can meet future demands is the construction of an ultra-high voltage onshore transmission network of up to 800 thousand volts. It’s thought that this could be “superimposed on the existing supergrid” to create a “super-supergrid” which could enable bulk power transfers around the country. One key advantage of this approach could be using strategically located ultra-high capacity substations which can support the connection of large energy sources to big demand centres, including data centres, via the new network.

Power-Hungry 

It has long been known that data centres are power-hungry and require enormous amounts of water (for cooling), as well as needing to find sustainable solutions for using the excess heat productively. Factors such as the growth in cloud computing and the IoT, as well as the huge power demands of AI, have been identified as key factors driving the growing need for energy by data centres. Recent ideas for how to provide cooling for data centres have included immersion cooling / submerging servers in liquid and even having them submerged under the sea as underwater data centres. Ideas for producing enough power have included building dedicated small nuclear power stations / Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) adjoining each data centre. Ideas for how to best use the excess heat include heating nearby homes and businesses and even growing algae which can then be used to power other data centres and create bioproducts.

What Does This Mean For Your Organisation? 

The growth in cloud computing, the IoT, and now AI, have all meant an increase in the demand for more power. All of this comes at a time when there is a need to decarbonise and move towards greener and more sustainable energy sources. This rapidly increasing demand, coupled with the constraints of an ageing, creaking grid (as highlighted in the recent speech by John Pettigrew), means that there is now an urgent need for innovative ideas and the action to match if the UK’s businesses are to be served with the power they need to fuel the tech-driven future.

The ideas, however, must be ones that not only meet the demand for power from UK businesses and data centres, but do so in a sustainable way that meets decarbonising targets. As highlighted by Mr Pettigrew, creating a “super-supergrid” is an idea currently on the table, but a boost in wind, wave, solar, nuclear, and other power sources, as well as more carbon offsetting by data centre owners, and many other cooling and excess data centre heat distribution ideas will likely all contribute to these targets in the coming years. Also, although running AI models is a major power drain, ironically, AI may also help to provide solutions for how to manage the country’s energy requirements more efficiently and efficiently.

Security Stop Press : Verifying Your LinkedIn Profile

Even though the feature was launched in early 2023 with a target of getting 100 million verified members by 2025, many people may not yet have heard that LinkedIn provides an identity verification feature on its platform.
LinkedIn’s Persona verification process confirms an individual’s identity by checking a user-submitted scan of their passport’s photo page and NFC chip, and a live-selfie against their profile information.
The value of the feature is that it enhances trust and credibility on the platform, as it assures users that the people they are interacting with are who they claim to be. This helps reduce fake profiles and scams, making professional networking and job searching more secure and reliable. Find out more here.

Tech News : TikTok Trend : AI-Enhanced Profile Photos For LinkedIn Job Seekers

It’s been reported that a TikTok video has started a trend of people using AI to enhance their appearance in their LinkedIn profile photos with a view to improving their chance of getting a job via the platform.

The TikTok Video 

The short TikTok video that’s been attributed to inspiring the trend was posted during the summer and has since been watched more than 50 million times. The video shows the face of a young woman being enhanced by AI and refences the Remini AI photo and video enhancer app.

Remini 

The Remini app, which claims to have 40 million monthly active users, says that it uses “innovative, state-of-the-art AI technology to transform your old photos into HD masterpieces” and that using its app you can “Turn your social media content into professional-grade images that engage your audience”.

By uploading 8 to 10 selfies (from different angles), the app offers generative AI so users can create hyper-realistic photos or alter ego versions of themselves or can enhance “ordinary” photos of themselves. The app lets users enhance the detail, and adjust the colour, face glow, background, and other details to create a more flawless look and improve photos, e.g. for use on social media profiles.

Why? 

With so much competition in the job market for young adults (among whom the AI photo trend is most popular), and with others having access to the same technology, it may seem that enhancing a photo (within reason) to get a competitive edge seems fair to many, particularly if it’s easy and cheap to do (as it can be with AI tools).

Also, research has shown that better profile photos can yield positive results in the labour market. For example, the results of a 2016 research study by Ghent University (Belgium) found that employment candidates with the most favourable Facebook profile picture received around 21 per cent more positive responses to their application than those with the least favourable profile picture, and that their chances of getting an immediate interview invitation differed by almost 40 per cent.

Psychology

In terms of human psychology, it’s known that people tend to form more favourable judgments of individuals who appear more attractive or have a better photographic representation of themselves due to a combination of psychological factors. These include:

– The psychology of first impressions. Grounded in our instinctual ability to quickly gauge and categorise new information, this trait that was historically essential for survival. Seeing an enhanced photo, within seconds, could potentially appeal to this trait and lead to an employer making a more positive judgement about trustworthiness, competence, and likability.

– The ‘Halo Effect,’ which is a cognitive bias that leads us to assume that individuals possessing one positive trait (e.g., physical attractiveness in a photo) must also possess other desirable qualities, even when no evidence supports these assumptions.

– Social Comparison Theory, which suggests that people tend to evaluate themselves by comparing themselves to others. This could mean that when a person’s photo exudes attractiveness, viewers may subconsciously compare themselves and feel admiration or envy, thereby influencing their judgments.

– Our human tendency of ‘confirmation bias’ means that we seek out and interpret information that aligns with our existing beliefs or stereotypes. In other words, if we believe that attractive people are more successful or competent, we may selectively notice and emphasise information in the photo that confirms this belief.

– Theories of ‘Psychological Attraction’ could also mean that a positive and happy looking profile photo could lead to an employer making a more favourable evaluation by associating the positive feelings with the person’s image.

– Other possible psychological influences that could result from an enhanced profile photo could potentially include evolutionary psychology. For instance, we may subconsciously favour those who appear more attractive as potential mates or allies, and cultural or social Influences. For example, cultural and societal norms play a significant role in shaping our perception of beauty, and a profile photo that displays popular beauty ideals could play to the biases of a potential employer looking at a profile photo.

Why Use Apps Like Remini? 

Apps such as Rimini offer many benefits for young adults (or anyone) looking to get a high quality, enhanced photo for a LinkedIn profile photo. For example:

– They’re cheap. Using an AI app (perhaps on a free trial basis) is less expensive than using professional photographic services, plus they don’t require any of the expensive equipment such as lighting, studio hire, etc.

– They’re fast, require minimal effort, and offer a better chance of satisfaction for the user. From just a few selfie uploads, with no need for any photographic knowledge or professional input or equipment, users can get great results in minutes with minimal difficulty.

– They produce high quality, professional looking results.

– They can be used on-demand and offer flexibility. For example, users can virtually try out different styles and looks that could even influence their own real look or could be used as a kind of split testing of response to their profile.

Other Apps Also Available 

It’s worth pointing out that Remini is not the only such AI photo/video enhancing app available. For example, others include Snapseed, iMyFone UltraRepair, VSCO, Pho.To, PicsArt, Photo Wonder, Pixlr, and many more.

Challenges

Obviously, choosing to present a photo that is not a true representation of yourself with the intention of using it to get a job could have its challenges. For example:

– LinkedIn and similar platforms are professional networks where credibility is essential. If you meet someone in person or on a video call and they realise you don’t look like your profile photo, it can set a negative first impression. They might question your authenticity in other areas if you’re willing to misrepresent your appearance.

– Integrity is paramount in professional settings and presenting picture that doesn’t genuinely represent you might be seen as a breach of trust or even deceptive. This perception could, of course, impact your relationships with potential employers, colleagues, or clients.

– Relying on an AI-enhanced image can also have psychological implications. It may suggest that you’re not confident in presenting your true self, which could translate to lower self-esteem or self-worth over time.

– Employers / employment agencies are likely to be more interested in experience and qualifications rather than appearance and also may be wise to the fact that candidates may be using AI-enhanced photos.

– AI-enhanced images, especially those overly refined, can sometimes be clearly identified as modified which could lead people to think you’re hiding something or are overly focused on superficial aspects.

– There could be cultural and ethical implications. For example, in some cultures or industries, authenticity and honesty are valued above all else. Misrepresenting yourself, even in something as seemingly trivial as a profile photo, could be deemed as unethical or unprofessional.

– While the intention behind using an enhanced photo might be to increase job opportunities, it might actually have the opposite effect. If employers or recruiters sense any deceit, they might choose not to engage with you.

– Using AI-enhancement tools, especially those online, could pose a risk to your privacy. There’s always a chance your photos might be used without your consent or knowledge.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Appearances are, of course, important in first impressions, in professional environments, and where there are certain expected or required appearance and dress codes to adhere to. Also, wanting a professional-looking photo that you can be happy with, that you think shows the best aspects of yourself as a candidate is understandable, as is thinking that it may help you overcome some known biases.

Having a low price/free way to obtain professional photos quickly is also an attractive aspect of these kinds of AI apps. However, a balance is needed to ensure that the photo is not too enhanced or too unlike what a potential employer may reasonably expect to see in front of them should they choose to invite you to interview. An overly enhanced photo could, therefore, prove to be counterproductive.

It should be understood, however, that for most employers and agencies, experience, qualifications, and suitability for the role are far more important than a photo in making fair and objective recruitment decisions. It’s also worth noting that even if a photo did contribute to getting an interview, the face-to-face, in-person interview is a challenge that AI can’t yet help with (yet). That said, many corporate employers are turning to AI to filter job applications, and young people may feel that with this and with other competing applicants potentially using AI to get an edge, so why shouldn’t they?

This story also highlights the challenges that businesses now face from generative AI being widely available, e.g. being used to write applications, emails, and more, as well as risks to security with deepfake based scams. Just as generative AI has helped businesses with productivity, it also presents them with a new set of threats and challenges, and may require them to use AI image-spotting tools as a means of filtering and protection in many aspects of the business, including recruiting, and may highlight why and when, even in a digital world, face-to-face meetings continue to be important in certain situations.