In a now-viral LinkedIn post, Bryan Shankman—an executive salesperson from California—bizarrely linked his recent engagement to his fiancée to his line of work, explaining:

“I proposed to my girlfriend this weekend. Here’s what it taught me about business-to-business (B2B) sales…”

Shankman then proceeded to describe point-by-point how his recent personal successes improved his professional engagements. Many viewers found the post undeniably peculiar, but absolutely hilarious.

It is hard to say whether the post itself is even real, or whether it is mocking the now-common trend of ‘LinkedIn influencers’. Nevertheless, the post highlights how social media has completely altered our perceptions and understanding of what it means to be a professional.

How LinkedIn changed professional networking

LinkedIn is a business and employment-focused social media platform launched in May 2003. It quickly became ingrained in the Western job market as a key tool to advertise individuals, jobs, companies, and events.

To its credit, LinkedIn has completely changed how professionals interact. If you go to a conference today, you will not be given a single business card, but a QR code that links to an individual’s LinkedIn profile. And that’s not all.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Although the posts are more formal on LinkedIn than on other social media platforms, you cannot deny that LinkedIn has its own language. As seen in Shankman’s post, most LinkedIn posts follow a pretty formulaic format; an emoji, followed by text, with each point separated by double spacing. Could anyone in the early 2000s have predicted that emojis would have become part of the professional vocabulary?

Emojis defy traditional professional etiquette. They are not formal. They are arguably unnecessary. They don’t convey a specific message. But, what they do (or at least what people hope they do) is grab the reader’s attention.

The ability to use the public’s attention to generate a sense of likeness or relatability towards a corporation has driven many companies to try to build social media followings beyond LinkedIn.

The TikTokification of the office

One of the first companies to successfully improve its positive image using its social media presence was the budget airline Ryanair. Employing Gen Z marketers, Ryanair gained a cult following on TikTok making fun of itself and its more disliked company policies, such as airplane delays, endless extra fees, and the like.

The success of Ryanair and many other companies on social media has normalised the use of company employees themselves in online marketing campaigns. Today, some of the largest companies in the world—including PwC, Marks & Spencer, and Duolingo—all use office employees as social media ‘characters’ to adapt TikTok trends to the corporate world.

This online content not only aims to increase awareness of a company, but also aims to reinforce a company’s image as modern, inclusive, and approachable—both for consumers and prospective employees.