The Water Cooler: Black Lives Matter Enters the Conversation on LinkedIn

August 6, 2020

LinkedIn Water Cooler Series

Editor's Note: This Water Cooler post examining June data was published later than usual. We will return to our regular cadence this month.  

The conversation inside and outside the office has centered on calls for racial justice following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. The impact of their deaths are far reaching; it inspired Black Lives Matter demonstrations to spread throughout the world.

Their deaths impacted business, too. On this list of the 10 most shared articles on LinkedIn from June are three pieces of content examining how businesses are reacting to the mainstream acceptance of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the top article this month, “Black Lives Matter! Yes, Even in the Workplace,” author Siji Onabanjo expressed surprise at the lack of discussion of #BLM on LinkedIn. Onabanjo published his article on June 2. By the end of month, his piece, ironically, had generated the most discussion on the platform.

Another top 10 article covered Nike’s addition of Juneteenth as a paid company holiday. In an announcement, Nike CEO John Donahoe acknowledged that much of the company’s marketing had been built around Black people. “For more than 40 years, our brand has celebrated incredible Black athletes and inspired millions of people all over the world by amplifying their excellence.”

The other #BLM-oriented article in the top 10, “U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism,” appeared on Harvard Business review and cautioned businesses that the demonstrations were likely impacting their employees. “The psychological impact of these public events — and the way it carries into the workplace — cannot be overstated,” the article’s authors wrote. 

Top Articles Shared on LinkedIn in June

  1. Black Lives Matter! Yes, Even in the Workplace | By Siji Onabanjo
  2. People Always Come First | By Luis Volpon
  3. Harvard Researcher Says the Most Emotionally Intelligent People Have these 12 Traits. Which Do You Have? | By Daniel Goleman, CNBC
  4. L'Australie a Decouvert un Moyen Ingenieux de Supprimer la Pollution Plastique de ses Cours D’eau | By Phillippe Blot, Sain et Natural
  5. The Best Managers Balance Analytical and Emotional Intelligence | By Melvin Smith, Ellen Van Oosten, and Richard Boyatzis, Harvard Business Review
  6. Nike CEO Marks Juneteenth as an Annual Paid Company Holiday | By Zack Budrik, The Hill
  7. A Bad Job with a Good Boss is Better than a Good Job with a Bad Boss | By Brigette Hyacinth, Thrive Global
  8. U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism | By Laura Morgan Roberts and Ella F. Washington, Harvard Business Review
  9. 13 Habits of Mentally Tough People | By Brent Gleeson, Forbes
  10.  Harvard Lecturer: ‘No Specific Skill Will Get You Ahead in the Future’ but This ‘Way of Thinking’ Will | By Vikram Mansharamani

The list of top topics discussed on LinkedIn ranges from Technology to Society and Culture to Health and Education and Learning. The breadth of the topics discussed shows the sprawling nature of business and the broad curiosity of businesspeople.

Top 10 Topics Discussed on LinkedIn in June

  1. Technology
  2. Society and Culture
  3. Politics and Law
  4. Science and Environment
  5. Finance and Economy
  6. Business and Management
  7. Health
  8. Marketing and Advertising
  9. Education and Learning
  10.  Internet

The list of top hashtags is a new addition to the Water Cooler. This list reflects some of the fastest-growing conversations on LinkedIn. In these difficult times, it’s not surprising that at least four of the top 10 — #marketingcommunications (which was mainly about jobs in the field), #opentowork,  #careerplanning, and #worklifebalance — are tied to employment.     

Top 10 Hashtags on LinkedIn in June

  1. #marketingcommunications
  2. #opentowork
  3. #link
  4. #literarture
  5. #government
  6. #careerplanning
  7. #typography
  8. #worklifebalance
  9. #geology
  10.  #history

Lessons for Marketers

LinkedIn has more than 706 million members, and every month these members write about, discuss, and engage with the topics that are important to them and their business. The topics discussed on the platform change from month to month and are a reflection of the zeitgeist, both in the business world and the world at large.

The data above show the diversity of topics discussed on LinkedIn and the versatility of the platform for connecting with other businesspeople. LinkedIn members are interested in everything from Black Lives Matter to technology to #worklifebalance. Most marketers will be able to find an audience on LinkedIn that’s willing to listen.