By Hector Cisneros
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It is a relatively rare occasion when a colossal company like Microsoft buys one of the top 10 social media giants Like LinkedIn. This kind of purchase could usher in major changes in the dynamics of social media as well as the domination of mega giant’s for different areas of the internet. More importantly, this will usher in a lot of changes that the current subscribership of LinkedIn will have to absorb, adapt to and re-learn. In this episode, on Working the Web to Win, I will cover the major changes in the newly redesigned LinkedIn interface, discussing where features have moved, along with comparing free versus premium versions. And lastly, I will cover what has not changed, that is, the things you do to make LinkedIn work for you. The principle and fundamentals that allow you to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business.
Any time there is a change in a software platform, there is angst, resentment, and the feeling that you need to learn everything over again. For the most part, LinkedIn has kept its user interface unchanged for many years. However, with the purchase by Microsoft, the decision was made to simplify and unify the look and feel of LinkedIn so that it more closely matched the mobile version. This is not a bad thing in my opinion since there is more web traffic generated (i.e. usage) via mobile devices than desktop usage today.
Many of you reading this may be thinking, what new user interface? Well, that’s because yours hasn’t been changed yet. As of this writing, mine has not undergone the upgrade to the new design. My research indicated that it would be rolled out to everyone over the next few weeks (barring no major problems).
Out with the Old – In with the New
LinkedIn’s old desktop user interface had gotten crammed and cluttered as they added features. I always hated the dropdown menus. They tend to make people search for features because they can’t readily be seen. All the dropdown menus are gone, replaced with a single top level menu. This is much cleaner and easier to understand. Other major changes that have taken place include some of my favorite features being moved to the Premium version. For example; advanced search is only available in Premium, and several other features have been scaled back in the free version. Features like Profile View’s in the free version, went from 11 to 5 whereas the Premium version allows you to view all who have viewed your profile over the last 90 days. Another feature I will miss is the ability to tag my connections by category. This feature allowed me to organize my connection as I deemed fit. This is no longer available.
The move from a drop down menu to a single level menu means that many things had to be moved around. However, instead of me giving you a long list of items that have changed, I found a video that I think will provide this information in a more visual format. It is easier to learn by watching than just reading a list of items. Watch this video from Viveka Von Rosen called: “What Is Different Between LinkedIn's Old User Interface and the New UI to really get the picture.”
Watch: What Is Different Between LinkedIn's Old User Interface
Now let’s compare the Free version (aka Basic) verse the Premium version of the new LinkedIn interface. Here is some useful information I found in the LinkedIn Help section. This is how LinkedIn now categorizes subscribers and why they will use their social network.
A Basic account is for anyone who wants to create and maintain a professional profile online.
· Build your professional identity on the web.
· Build and maintain a large trusted professional network.
· Find and reconnect with colleagues and classmates.
· Request and provide recommendations.
· Request up to five introductions at a time.
· Search for and view profiles of other LinkedIn members.
· Receive unlimited InMail messages.
· Save up to three searches and get weekly alerts on those searches.
We have Premium account options for job seekers, sales and talent professionals, as well as the general professional who wants to get more out of LinkedIn. If you have a free account and want to upgrade, you can compare account types described below.
The Premium Essentials account type is only available to members in Germany and Austria.
The Free/Basic version allows you to see that ten most viewed people among your connections and colleagues as well as the five above and below you. The Premium allows you to see the top 100 most viewed connections and how you rank in your industry. Premium job applicants can be shown above Free version applicants by using the Featured Applicant function. There are also limits on profile searches for the Free/Basic version.
Premium only features include; Applicant Insights, a Keyword Suggestion feature to help you create a better summary. You can also reach out to any member of LinkedIn with the Open Profiles and the InMail feature. Premium further includes; Unlimited Profile Searches and Additional Search Filters.
For a video that provides a comprehensive look at the LinkedIn changes, watch this video from Brynne Tilman called:” The New LinkedIn Experience 2017.”
Watch: The New LinkedIn Experience 2017
Here are a few articles I recommend as part of a detailed reading list if you’re a true diehard LinkedIn user. Also, the Show Note Page of our blog has a couple of dozen links to even more articles.
Now here are the most important things you need to learn about using LinkedIn. Too often people get all caught up in the technical changes and rearrangements of features that they forget that it is how you use LinkedIn that makes all the difference in the world. If you want to be successful using LinkedIn, make sure you don’t forget and use the following tips from my previous article call: “How to Use LinkedIn for Sales and Lead Generation - 15 Surefire Ways to Grow Your Appointments, Connections & Sales” So let’s get to the list.
20 Principles-Based Tips to Maximize Your LinkedIn Return on Investment
- Leveraging Trust is What Makes It Work - You must take the time to build trust with your connections. If trust does not exist, your connections won’t work with you.
- Business People Expect Professionalism - Your profile and communications must be impeccable. You must look your best at all times, which includes spelling and grammar checked profiles and all communications.
- Regular engagement provides touches to reach top of mind - Regular communications with connections, referral partners, colleagues, business associates, and prospects can be a great way to build trust and achieve top of mind.
- Publish authoritative original content - Authoritative content, (blogging and article
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- Provide useful, curated content on a regular basis - Providing useful information for others is a great way to help people. Helping other portrays you in a positive and engaging light. Business people want to find useful or interesting information. Be one of those providers; you never know where it will lead.
- Give Referrals via LinkedIn - Giving others referrals is a great way to build social equity and trust with your connections and business partners. If you believe in givers gain, it will come back to you in the way of new business.
- Ask for referral connections instead of referrals - Make it easy for connections to give you a referral, ask them to connect you with other possible referral partners, not just sales prospects. Just remember a referral partner is like the goose that lays golden eggs - the giver that can keep on giving!
- Endorse others and Give Testimonials via LinkedIn - If you want people to endorse you, and provide you with testimonials, be ready to give them first. Often you may have to give out three of four endorsements or testimonials first before you get one, but in the long run, this strategy pays big social dividends.
- Ask Others for Endorsement and Testimonials via LinkedIn and Other Social Networks - If you have done a good job for a client of partners, ask them to endorse you. If you don’t ask, you won’t get, (at best a lot less than if you had asked), just be willing to reciprocate.
- Invite Other LinkedIn Connections to Follow You Back Every Day - The best strategy for growing your connections is to actively connect with people every day. Invite at least five people a day, and it will yield a thousand new connections in a year, yeah that’s right, 1000!
- Thank Everyone who follows you or Writes to you. -You may be surprised at how consistent common courtesy can affect how other the perceive you. Being nice is easy, and it can’t hurt how others think of you.
- Invite people from Other Social Networks to Connect with you on LinkedIn - Take the time to let others know you’re on LinkedIn and ask them to connect with you there if they are members as well. This is especially important if LinkedIn is your primary social network!
- Invite Connections by doing a Mailing to your Current Customer Base - Send out a snail mail invitation to ask your current customers to connect with you on LinkedIn. Don’t let this untapped resource, go unused.
- When Customers Visit your Store or office ask them to Connect with you on LinkedIn - Asking people to connect with you is a fundamental process that must become part of your daily routine. This is another simple way to grow your connections.
- Grow your Connections with LinkedIn’s Built-in Inviting System - Upload your contacts list into LinkedIn’s inviting system when using the desktop or mobile app. LinkedIn will automatically invite any email address that matches someone in their subscription database.
- Ask your Best Customers to Connect you with their Friends and Families - Your best customers want to help you. Ask them to do you a favor and connect you with others.
- Use Pay Per Click Promotions on LinkedIn to Generate Connections - LinkedIn
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- Use Pay Per Click on Other Social Sites to Grow your Connections - You can use pay per click and other promotional methods to get people to connect with you (and even buy from you) on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is just another website you can use to promote yourself and business.
- Join Various Groups in LinkedIn to Expand your Reach - You can greatly increase the number of connections you have by joining various LinkedIn groups and then engaging members of those groups. The same is true of groups on other social networks. You can even invite people in these other social network groups to connect with you on LinkedIn as well.
- Use Aggregation Software to Leverage your Efforts - Use aggregation software to leverage your efforts when scheduling and posting curated and authoritative social post. Programs like Hoot Suite and others can greatly reduce your time and effort to get this social work accomplished.
Where do we go from here? LinkedIn has been a staple of many business users marketing endeavors for many years. It was the first social network that I embraced over ten years ago; it still is a major part of my marketing life today. Now that Microsoft is at the helm of this social network, expect some big changes. They will come in the way of additional features and integration with other Microsoft products. I further predict that eventually, LinkedIn will have an A.I. interface, (i.e. artificial intelligence) connected to Microsoft’s Cortana program so that it’s command structure is voice activated. Expect full integration into Office 365 and Outlook as well.
Anything that is on the web today will evolve and change over time. LinkedIn has reached a stage where it will begin evolving faster that in the past. All too often users get all hung up on the mechanics and forget the fundamental of social networking. It is important that we don’t forget the fundamental principles of how to use and leverage these social networks. This article provides time-tested tips that will ensure your success with LinkedIn and most other social networks as well.
That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.
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If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091 or fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog, we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “LinkedIn” in the search box at the top of this blog. Also, check out the “Blog Talk Radio Internet podcast, ” and the Show Note Page has, even more, links for you to check out. If you have a useful comment or opinion related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+.
Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”