LinkedIn is the undisputed leader in online professional social networking. With its explosive growth, both in stock value and in user base, LinkedIn has become impossible to ignore.
It’s now home to more than 175 million users from 200 countries and territories, making it a huge force to reckon with in the social space.
While it’s not as hugely popular as Facebook, LinkedIn’s immense influence and benefits are undeniable and, in some ways, more effective. Unlike other fancy social networking sites, changes within LinkedIn’s interface have been rare; but when they do implement changes, the honchos at LinkedIn make a point of ensuring those changes count.
If you’re an active LinkedIn user like me, you will have noticed some recent changes. Let’s explore the changes that have taken place on LinkedIn and consider the potentially significant impact they can have on your social media marketing campaigns.
Neat new stuff on LinkedIn
While the layout of LinkedIn’s new homepage remains largely faithful to its former look, there are some dramatic changes. One immediately sensed how much faster the site loads and witnessed the modernized interface it sports.
Despite the changes, the overall feel of the new homepage remains minimalistic. As LinkedIn hinted in their blog post, it’s just the start of other improvements coming our way.
We can expect more customization and functionality before the end of this year. In their words, LinkedIn’s goal is to transform itself into a “go-to destination to discover and discuss what matters to you, your industry and your professional network around the world.”
Other industry insiders, including Mashable, pointed out that LinkedIn’s new homepage looks like a cross between Facebook and Google+, a comparison with which many might agree.
Personally, I prefer the new LinkedIn homepage. After the latest makeover, I have been visiting the site more frequently to get the dose of information I was accustomed to getting elsewhere.
The new LinkedIn homepage: an overview
If you haven’t visited LinkedIn for a while, you’d notice the changes the instant you log in. What’s more visible on the new homepage is a blue box that, when clicked, displays the most recent updates from your LinkedIn connections.
Right below your status update section is the more prominent “LinkedIn Today,” a personal favorite of mine, which recommends news. The news stories highlighted for your consumption relate to your industry as well as to subjects you have indicated among your interests.
Clicking on one of the recommended stories will take you to the LinkedIn Today page where more news stories are listed for you.
Track updates from your connections
Just beneath the LinkedIn Today feed section is an area where you’ll find updates from connections and companies you are following on LinkedIn. The updates are based on your level of connection with these individuals and companies, as well as the relevance of their updates to you.
With the newly redesigned homepage, it’s much easier to engage directly with your connections. Just like in Facebook and Google+, you can now like and comment on a connection’s status update.
Another great thing about the new LinkedIn is that it lets you customize your homepage view, and it filters what you allow to show on your update stream so you can minimize noise and clutter. LinkedIn’s homepage is a bit more social, which makes it a space where you may like to spend a little bit more of your time. It’s a dramatic departure from LinkedIn’s former, somewhat static and staid homepage.
Bigger and better images
Another prominent feature of the new LinkedIn homepage is the emphasis placed on images. Those are now bigger and better, which indicates that LinkedIn has recognized the importance of images for more effective engagement.
Even your profile boasts a bigger profile image — a significant improvement over the thumbnail that used to adorn everyone’s LinkedIn profile.
Making the most of LinkedIn’s new features
So how do we make sense of all the changes to LinkedIn?
By taking advantage of the features that the new LinkedIn homepage has to offer, you will have an even greater edge in terms of determining what the market wants. You will also obtain crucial information that relates to your industry.
Also, if your goal is to stay right in front of your LinkedIn connections (who are also your prospective customers) all the time, you need to keep active on LinkedIn. If you constantly engage your connections, they will regularly be reminded of who you are and what you are all about.
This gives you tremendous opportunities for traffic growth as well as conversion.
Simple ways to make the most out of the new LinkedIn homepage
Now that you’ve seen how cool the new LinkedIn homepage is and the size of the opportunities it presents for your business, here are three simple ways to make it work for you.
No. 1: Consistency is key
Make LinkedIn a staple of your online marketing campaign. Increase your LinkedIn activities by participating more in discussions, and answering questions on LinkedIn Answers.
Share industry information among your connections and encourage them to pass it along. But remember to stay relevant by sharing only stuff that matters to your connections. And if you choose to do these activities on LinkedIn, do them on a regular basis.
By staying active and relevant on LinkedIn, you will create extra traction for your brand marketing and influence-building efforts.
No. 2: Take advantage of the power of images
LinkedIn has chosen to grant place and weight to images. Not to say they are turning into something like Facebook, but LinkedIn has handed everyone a new opportunity in its space.
What’s important about images is that they are powerful branding tools. That’s why you should strive, whenever possible, to include appropriate images when sharing information to engage your audience more effectively.
No. 3: Explore LinkedIn Today
LinkedIn’s news section has lots of awesome social features that every online marketer should explore and make the most out of.
LinkedIn Today allows you to see what’s trending in your network. You can see what your connections have been sharing. Also, you can “like” and comment on those stories. Your likes and comments show on your profile, so your connections can see in turn what you have been up to.
As indicated by its stellar stock price performance and its user growth, LinkedIn is undeniably on a roll. It just keeps getting better: more social and more powerful. If you haven’t implemented a LinkedIn campaign for your business yet, it’s probably time you got started on it.