Professional social network LinkedIn is supercharging into the creator economy with a new incubator program that it says marks part of a larger $25 million investment into the business influencer space.
In a post today, global head of community management Andrei Santalo shared that the so-called LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program will invite 100, U.S.-based creators to participate in a 10-week venture comprising coaching, a built-in network, opportunities to be featured on official LinkedIn channels, and a $15,000 grant.
The Program is designed for creators who are passionate about driving professional conversations and touching LinkedIn’s community of 774 million users in creative ways, Santalo said.
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Asked why LinkedIn chose to invest right now, Santalo explained, “We’re seeing conversations on LinkedIn taking off, with engagement skyrocketing at record levels…We wanted to invest in new programs and future investments to help creators facilitate more conversations and reward creators for the hard work and dedication this takes.”
Applications will be available to anyone here through Oct. 12. The company is looking for diverse perspectives and a range of professional experiences — including creators who speak to mental health and wellness, the future of work, diversity and education, and beyond. Applications will be reviewed on a point-driven scale based on creativity, passion, commitment, and impact.
Also on the creator front, LinkedIn says it will be hosting complementary virtual events to amplify resident voices throughout the month of September. INFused, kicking off on Sept. 17, will serve to bolster Black creators on LinkedIn, while Create Learning Week, starting Sept. 27, will feature presentations from former Cinnabon president Kat Cole and the entrepreneur and author Seth Godin.
Santalo says that LinkedIn has been serving creators since it launched its feed in 2012 with an annual Top Voices list, and notes that earlier this year it rolled out Creator Mode. Since then, 2 million people have turned on the option — which emphasizes creator content on user profiles to prize gathering followers rather than making one-on-one connections.
Santalo also noted that the company plans to build on the creation tools that already exist — which include short-form posts, articles, newsetters, and live streams — and is in the process of assembling a community management expressly for creators. Creators can currently monetize on LinkedIn in various ways, he added, including booking speaking engagements, selling products or services (such as coaching), and through brand partnerships.
The company also has more than 2,500 instructors and 17,000 courses available on its resident LinkedIn Learning platform, which features business, technical, and creative classes. LinkedIn pays royalties based on usage of these tools, in the same vein as traditional book publishing. And last month, the company launched Office Hours — a feature that lets instructors host live events on LinkedIn Learning.