Standing tall at around 175 million users spread across 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn has come a long way. From being touted as a “no-nonsense zone” to one where professional networking is gradually turning fun, LinkedIn is now the most popular social networking site, only after Facebook and Twitter. They seem to have been sweating hard to be there, as is evident from the number of new features that have been rolled out in the past few months.
The heartening news however is that most of the changes are not for namesake and are meant to change the ways in which LinkedIn was being used by professionals and companies. Here is a peek into the most important constituents churned out from the whole make-over thingy and their abilities to make a difference:
This feature lets one vouch for the other person’s skills, giving credibility to the whole thing, and all this with just a click.
If you are being more thoughtful, you can even suggest skills to a friend or colleague that have been left out of mention. Further, what makes the whole thing a gem is visibility. Every endorsement done becomes a part of the news feed and thereby attracts more such endorsements, adding to the give and take gesture that already prevails.
Moreover, a snapshot of skills endorsed, helps a great deal in judging one’s profile, thus, helping the head hunters out there. A real breather for the ones who had a tough time putting their colleagues and seniors to write them a recommendation.
This feature adds an all new dimension to professional networking. Thus far, it was always about being connected with your peers and seniors. From here, it now becomes possible to hear the ones who have always influenced your thoughts, opinions and beliefs.
Initially “Thought Leaders” included the likes of Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Caterina Fake, Craig Newmark, President Barack Obama, Governor Mitt Romney, and many more. The users can not just read their status updates and posts, but also be a party to content (videos, photos, original blog posts and Slideshare presentations) that has been created just for them, by the influencers. To add to it, it is also possible to initiate discussions on these posts and get the best out of them. As of now, over 850 original posts have been authored for the network.
Moving ahead, this new design will include an influencers’ leaderboard that ranks people on the basis of the number of followers and lets members sort posts by date or alphabetical order. The network will also start showing members suggested influencers based on their interests.
LinkedIn video ads
Text ads have been a part of LinkedIn since long now. Now it was time to let brands go more expressive through LinkedIn video ads. These ads being targeted in nature let you control your costs, pay per view or click, and stop or commence your campaign at a time of choice.
However, what makes it worthwhile is the fact that LinkedIn self-serve video ads work seamlessly with YouTube, hence enabling brands to cash in on their existing YouTube presence and promote the same videos on LinkedIn as well.
Company pages – featured updates
The newly redesigned LinkedIn Company Pages have made the task easier for companies and their followers alike. The new streamlined design and prominent navigation makes finding all kind of information, may it be career opportunities, products and services, or insights, a cakewalk for the members and followers, as they are present right there as distinct tabs.
Another move that adds to accessibility is that Company Pages are now available on iPhone, Android and iPad apps. Now, there is a chance to add an image that best represents the company and brand and is crucial for the establishment of their identity over the network.
Also, product recommendations too, find a place in the company’s page. Any visitor to the sidebar of the page can see who in their network is endorsing the concerned companies’ products or services. These recommendations are extremely valuable and are a display of social proof.
For members, this means easier access to the information you want about the companies, while for companies, this means a more powerful way to build relationships with your target audience on LinkedIn.
The all new exciting LinkedIn profiles, though as of now a luxury for the few, are adorned with features that make networking exciting and easy to monitor. Some, which deserve a mention:
- Network: Your network now gets a diagrammatical representation. All the companies that are a part of your network through the employees, who work there, are now grouped, for you to easily know which industry your network is strong in, or if you are looking to be working for a particular firm, you know how good your contacts are therein, all too clearly.
- Connections: People one is connected to, groups he/she is a member, and the companies being followed, did not distinctly exist as a part of the profile, and were all clubbed under “Additional Information”. However, now they have been put up in different sections, to avoid them from going unnoticed.
- Flow: Each segment in the profile has been given due attention, with recent activity being right at the top, followed by your summary, skills, experience and recommendations. The recommendations have also been grouped up with the position they are meant for.
- Visual Appeal: Though it may not sound that important as a feature, per se, but the profile now looks more visually appealing, thus not making it tedious for one to go through it.
One of the toughest tasks for anything that is user driven to this extent is not simply bringing about a change or introducing new features but creating an acceptance. LinkedIn had a lot of stuff in their bag to present their users with, but they didn’t put it on the table all together, for users to find a revamped site when they wake up the next morning.
This is where they seemed to have played smart, by rolling out the features in a phased manner, commencing from minor ones like notifications, visitor insights and video ads, and then going ahead with renovation of profile and company pages. The phased implementation has also contributed to simplifying the LinkedIn experience, which has been the motto behind the drive.
[About the Author: Pooja Mishra Has had a taste of consultancy, scriptwriting, marketing communications and identity solutions in her professional life so far. But, writing is what keeps her going and Blogging is her latest love. You can follow her on http://pjscribbles.wordpress.com]