Posted: 24th March 2017
In the early months of 2017, LinkedIn has rolled out the biggest redesign of its desktop version since the platform was launched in 2003.
LinkedIn says its key objective is to make the experience of using the world’s biggest business-to-business networking platform simpler, more intuitive and more valuable.
The desktop version now looks very similar to the the mobile version.
Platforms such as LinkedIn are continually evolving and you can be sure that its teams will continue to evaluate feedback and analyse how people spend their time on the website and the mobile app. They will use this information to tweak functionality and design. The aim will always be to encourage more people to use LinkedIn more often and for longer, because that’s how they build an engaged audience that they can monetise.
Connections of mine, who got the new version a while ago, tell me they have seen features getting added back in and changed around. As always with LinkedIn’s roll-out cycles, users around the world will get changes and enhancements at different times.
Here are seven enhanced features and changes, which by now most of you should be seeing, that I believe offer particular value to business owners and professionals:
1. SEARCH. LinkedIn now offers a simple search box in the top left of the desktop screen. You can enter keywords or names and then isolate results by clicking on one of the horizontal headings that run from left to right on the results page in this order: Top; People; Jobs; Posts; Companies; Groups or Schools (or universities). There are also more filters down the right hand side of the page to help you sort your results.
2. NAVIGATION. The next section of the navigation on desktop has been simplified into six key elements: Home (which takes you to your news feed); My Network (your connections); Jobs; Messaging; Notifications and Me (which has a dropdown giving access to LinkedIn’s help section, your privacy settings and any company pages that you have created or of which you are an administrator). To the right of these is a ‘More’ icon that leads you into other features including Groups, Learning (which has lots of online courses you can pay to access after a free months’ trial) and Slideshare. The final element on the far right is an icon that leads you to information about LinkedIn’s advertising options.
3. NEWS FEED. LinkedIn aims to give you the news and updates that matter most to you. It says it has improved the automated algorithm that decides which updates to show you but has coupled this with the input of REAL people in LinkedIn’s editorial team who now also have a hand in that decision-making process. It’s also easier now to ‘educate’ LinkedIn about what is relevant to you. When a sponsored item is suggested to you in your news feed you can click on the three dots top right and give feedback by hiding it. It’s not in the interests of LinkedIn, or the companies that advertise with it, to show irrelevant adverts to people who don’t want to see them. So DO use the ‘hide this post’ option for things of no interest to you.
4. INSTANT MESSAGING. In addition to the traditional inbox, which you can still access from the top navigation bar, you will see an instant messaging feature in the bottom right of your desktop screen where you can have quick chats with connections who are online.
5. PUBLISHING ARTICLES. Any LinkedIn users can easily write their own articles and add in hyperlinks, images and video clips. These articles can be found by anyone on LinkedIn. This is a great way to raise your business profile outside of your own connections. The interface is really easy to use and you can quickly see which articles are getting you noticed on LinkedIn.
6. YOUR PROFILE. LinkedIn has removed the ability for users to re-order sections of their profile. This means that everything is in the same place when you look at anyone’s profile. There is also a new section near the top of all profiles that includes any recent activity by that person including what they have liked, shared or commented on and any articles they have created on LinkedIn.
7. MAKING CONNECTIONS. One of my favourite changes on the new platform is that when you click the blue button to connect with someone you are now encouraged to add a personal note. I’ve always believed that it’s good practice to add a personal note whenever you want to connect with someone. I rarely accept anyone I don’t immediately recognise unless they have personalised their request to explain why it might be a good idea for us to connect on LinkedIn.
The principles of using LinkedIn haven’t changed and business owners will get the most out of it if they approach it in the same way as they approach face-to-face networking. That means listening and learning and showing support for others as well as talking about your own services, products and news. LinkedIn offers a great opportunity for you to bring together people you know and trust and become a respected networker online as well as in person.