We LinkedIn users are certainly being kept on our toes at the moment. Whether like me you’re involved in training clients to make the most of LinkedIn, or one of the site’s 200 million registered users, recent changes to the interface has meant rediscovering and settling into the new look and feel.
Not that I’m complaining. LinkedIn’s development team really seem to be focused on engagement by giving us insights into our network to facilitate that engagement, and prevent our connections from becoming just faces on lists.
The new Home page is now more visual displaying a chart breaking down your network by area, industry, company or school, along with a graph illustrating your own profile strength. On the right of the screen images appear of those who have recently viewed your Profile.The editing process has been streamlined, which means your Profile page up-dates are more intuitive, with the new layout making absorption of content easy. This means you are more likely to add these features to the ‘new’ sections – that have actually been around for over a year – and enable you to really differentiate yourself from other users. LinkedIn guides you through promoting your expertise and encouraging the inclusion of any publications, languages spoken, patents, volunteer work, certifications, etc.
Can’t see this on your page? This means you haven’t posted any up-dates recently – one of the best ways of engaging with your connections.
When users go to your page the first thing they see is a snapshot of your Profile along with your Activity. Anyone who has been quietly sitting on their Profile with no action are really going to fall into the ‘unprofessional user’ category. Not good if you are trying to find a job, promote yourself or your brand.
Network Insights: LinkedIn has really focused on visual ‘Insights’ (statistics) and will keep you informed of your profile completeness, your network size and stats: where they live, their education, etc.
Connection’s Insights: The new LinkedIn opened up ‘Insights’ into your connections – so you can see shared interests, which makes it easy to reach out to someone and start to build a relationship. LinkedIn will tell you what you have in common; do make use of that common ground as a place for connecting.
LinkedIn has brought more power to the Search facility; you can now search your connection’s network by keyword, which helps you find specialists by checking your connection’s connections and get an introduction. This is great for creating relationships with potential clients, partners, donors, volunteers, etc.
And so it goes on…
The announcement this week that ‘Linkedin Answers’ will be withdrawn on 31 January is just another stage in the development of the platform to make it more engaging for its users – that stickiness factor again. LinkedIn continually experiments with different ideas for user engagement, monitoring feature success, utilizing user demand as a measure for any improvements.
A recent feature introduced to the site is Company Pages. At present I feel this lacks direction, but could be an excellent tool in the future to create a worthwhile sharing community promoting your brand and its reputation. However, I find it bizarre that there is no option to include a verification stage. At present anyone can state they are/were employed by a company, and unlike Groups, there is no option in place to enable monitoring. This could result in a user publishing the fact that they worked for an organization as a means of boosting their profile. At present the only way to remove someone who has never been ‘employed’ by your organization if they refuse to co-operate, is by submitting a request to LinkedIn.
After discussion with one of LinkedIn’s Customer Experience Advocates their response was friendly, but of no help to me personally at present.
“The only way members can be listed as employees is when they choose the Company Page from the drop-down menu when filling in their experience section on profile. This will list them as employees, rather than followers. Right now there is no verification process for Company Pages employees, however, we’re currently looking into ways to do so. I’ll definitely send your suggestion on to our product team. When lots of people ask for the same improvement, they try their best to get it done (but sorry to say, they usually can’t provide a timeline).
I completely see your point of view and that it’s too easy to affiliate yourself as an employee of the company. This has its bad and good sides. The bad sides are that anyone can list a company as their employer and we need to manually remove the affiliation in order to fix it. The good side is that some Company Pages are not that active, and a verification process may cause a lot of extra work for the administrators having to accept or decline each member. It may also cause some frustration on the member’s side if not accepted in time. Having said that, we do listen to suggestions and we’re aware of this issue.”
So, LinkedIn is listening. Be sure to have your say on the development of the site in the future.