Tag Archive for the new look Linkedin

Recruiters: What the new LinkedIn means to you

LinkedIn are on a constant path of change. Jeff Weiner, CEO of the professional networking giant describes this as a state of constant beta. The long term aims of the channel are shrouded in secrecy, but if you keep up with the changes it is easy to see a pattern developing. In the last quarters financial results Weiner commented that the company had made significant investments in increasing their sales team and in developing product. Each time I log in, something looks different or has moved to a different position on the screen. Whilst these changes might seem cosmetic, they are changing the way users are interacting with the platform, and this means recruiters need to be rethinking their LinkedIn strategy.

The trend over time was for using LinkedIn from outside of the channel, with users relying on e-mail and third party applications to interact and keep up. At one time the average user only visited the channel 1.9 times a month. Most notably, engagement levels were low, and the discussion was all around whether LinkedIn was a social channel at all. What is interesting to note is that since the recent redesign of the home page engagement is now at a record level for the channel because users are driven to the home page, and the home page now contains a stream for updates which increases engagement.

One of the other new features enables users to determine which updates get displayed on their home page. The default is for all updates in time sequence, with a refresh button at the top of the stream to show the number of updates since you logged in to the channel. The display options are:

>Top
The most popular updates from your connections (what constitutes popular is explained below this list.)

>Recent
The latest updates.

>LinkedIn Today
Users can customise this according to what topics they want to follow. This is very similar to the way the Mashable social app enables users to choose what content they want to follow by category.

>Connections.
Based on your personal network.

>Shares
What is being shared by your network displayed by time line

>Groups
Updates from your connections in the groups that you share

>Profiles
Changes to the profiles of your connections. This is quite a neat way to keep up to date with what is happening from your connections in one place, from changes to job title, address etc to who is launching a LinkedIn ad campaign.

>Applications
The applications added to profiles by your connections.

>Companies
Changes to company profiles by your network, recommendations and updates.
>Answers
Another neat feature that lets you see all the questions asked and answers given by your network. You can answer this question from this screen or comment, like or share, a great way to engage with your connections when they are reaching out for help or advice.

>Your Updates
Your personal updates including comments,likes and shares.

>Customize
This enables users to determine what type of updates they choose to see or hide, and how many updates they want to see on their home page. If a user is not interested in seeing jobs you may be interested in they can choose to hide them.

LinkedIn are also working on automating moving jobs from the stream (and group discussions) when they are posted as updates. This will clean up the stream and keep it relevant and topical for users. For recruiters, this will also impact on the practice of posting jobs to updates and in to discussions in groups. The only way to reach targeted audience for jobs will be through paid for advertising (most effective), or by posting in the jobs section of groups.

Customisation is a big feature of the new home page because users can edit their own home screen changing the position of the key features and taking out the ones they don’t want. LinkedIn want to give users a personalised experience on their home page, again to encourage use, and making it a destination for users to keep up and engage with their network in one place. The more time users spend in the channel, the more opportunities to serve up PPC and targeted ads based on user behaviour and profile. What i’m seeing among the channels is that their battle is as much about user time as it is about the number of users. Over the last quarter LinkedIn reported a significant increase in ad revenue and a significant increase in sales staff. PPC and ad revenue goes well beyond recruiter products, and it may well be that the company see this as the route away from their dependence on the dominant recruiter revenues. Success in this area is dependent on time spent in channel.

The company have clearly taken some inspiration for this from Facebook and Edgerank, aiming to deliver the most relevant and popular content to the top of the feed via LinkedIn Today. Updates are shared according to the posts that are trending amongst your connections. When you consider that your LinkedIn network is going to be far the most relevant to your objectives by a long way. My own network, which stands at close to 4000 connections comprises of 70% of relevant audience. Others with a smaller network may well have an even higher level of relevance. This means that effective updates are becoming increasingly important because they are far more likely to be seen by the people you want to reach than in any other channel.

LinkedIn shares are ranked according to comments,likes and shares for promoting in the stream between connections. To get “share” points and inclusion in the algorithm the shared content needs to contain a LinkedIn share button first on the list of share options, an important consideration for page design. Retweets count as LinkedIn shares provided the link on the tweet originated from your profile. This means posting to LinkedIn first manually on the home page, and tweeting from the update. This also applies for LinkedIn links posted to Facebook. Even if you are using a posting app like buffer, or a shortner like bitly, use the LinkedIn update as the originating link. By linking all postings back to LinkedIn as the originating source, every action counts as a LinkedIn like, comment or share, and each action will advance the promotion of your content in the channel.

Yesterday, I noticed that LinkedIn have taken the update and share feature from the profile to the home page. This subtle change is quite clever because it drives users to their personal home page rather than their profile, and the more familiar people become with their home page, the more often they are going to use it and review the updates in the stream. The other change of significance is enabling updates from company pages. Again this brings the way LinkedIn works closer to what works on Facebook with pages, enabling users to share updates and communicate with their followers.

Company pages have also added a new feature that gives page admins access to the profiles of who is following the company account. This is the first time recruiters (via the page admin) have been able to see who is connecting with them in order to reach out to anyone who looks of interest. Jobseekers also have access to a similar feature for the page as the one for group statistics. As the company pages are evolving they could become as important as Facebook fan pages for recruiting, especially now that you can post updates from the page. It is going to be interesting to see how these evolve.

Another of the announcements to come out of the last briefing was that LinkedIn are now making it much easier for developers of third party applications.to develop sign ins using their profile, access to updates for monitoring and posting and for integrating share features. Notably, LinkedIn are making it easy for applications that facilitate engagment in groups beyond purely posting in to discussions. This links back to my view of where LinkedIn are positioning themselves among the social media channels. Everything they are developing points to 4 aims:

> To increase engagement between a targeted professional audience without the noise of other channels such as Twitter or Facebook.

> To become the channel for sharing to a targeted and very relevant audience.

> To be the professional reference point for signing in or signing up for any application such as job seeking.

> To become the source for structured professional data and all its applications. This goes well beyond recruiting.

Everything I’m seeing points to great progress in these areas. When you consider your recruiting strategy and how you attract, reach and engage with talent, it is important to consider how the changing face of the channel could impact on your strategy. Time to rethink how you are using LinkedIn for the new age? It is a different place that needs a new approach, and old thinking is just that. Make the most of the changes.

Bill

Has LinkedIn Gone Social With The New Look?

If you have logged in to LinkedIn today you will have noticed that they have a new look. I’m guessing this has been done for two reasons, to make navigation easier and to make the site look a little less like a website and more like a social place. I can’t find anything yet that has significantly changed other than the look, but knowing the guys from LinkedIn there will be some changes hidden somewhere.
I noticed the change because the e-mail i get each week about the jobs I might be interested in was on the money this week, and there was a couple I took a look at. I’m not looking for a job but curiosity always draws you in to look at anything you could do if you really wanted to. If LinkedIn have tightened up the matching algorithm to offer jobs of real relevance, then this will make the channel more attractive from an advertising point of view. On the subject of LinkedIn advertising, I’m a big fan of the channel for PPC campaigns because the structure of profiles makes targeting the right audience so much easier and logical. Facebook is brilliant for targeting by interest. i consider this emotional advertising, where as LinkedIn is logical advertising based on the business case. A combined approach through PPC has to offer the best of both worlds, and thinking this way (along with the type of job), makes channel selection much easier. Test both and see how you get on. Whilst LinkedIn is primarily used by recruiters as a sourcing channel and point of reference, the target audience is there for PPC. I think it is worth thinking beyond advertising jobs, and taking a more Facebook like approach to content. On Facebook, advertising community pages is far more successful for me than advertising jobs. The applications come once you get people to a page about the business rather than just the jobs. When people get there, some will apply, and through advertising you can influence who comes to your page.
The same strategy could work on LinkedIn if you take a more social approach, with ads to invite to groups, content, events or company pages. The challenge for LinkedIn is two-fold. it’s not a very social channel, and access is increasingly coming from outside of the channel via e-mail, applications and extensions. They are seen as “the office”, and people just don’t behave in a social way. Whilst the new make over might look to be purely cosmetic, I think it gives it a social feel to channel. Theres more prominence for LinkedIn Today, and content recommended for you to look at based on the filters you have set and your profile. The highlighted posts are based on the number of shares and likes, and because it’s based on your profile and topic selections, the content is very relevant. I already go to LinkedIn Today when I’m short of blog content and want some inspiration from what is trending. This also encourages users to post content to LinkedIn updates first, and share the link. Each retweet you get of a LinkedIn link  counts as a LinkedIn share, and what gets shown on a users home page in the prominent LinkedIn Today section above the updates is set by the most shared, liked and commented according to your filters. If more people start visiting the home page on a casual basis then being featured here will prove very valuable for gaining targeted audience.

The update feed is on display under LinkedIn Today, and looks more like a Twitter feed than the old look, with easy update, like, share, comment and share to Twitter. Your update stream is refreshed by clicking on the tab that shows the number of updates from your connections since you logged on. Given that your network on LinkedIn is going to be a lot more focussed around your professional life than any other channel, the updates and shares are likely to be more relevant and business orientated, cutting out the noise that surrounds updates in Twitter or Facebook. The challenge for LinkedIn is getting users to view the channel in a more social way, and not just as a reference channel for sourcing, checking people out or referencing them. Perhaps this new look will help with this.

Other features on the new look landing page are  People you may know, placed at the top and bottom of the right hand column to encourage connecting, (the algorithm seems to be getting better in this area to), who has viewed your profile and how many times you have come up in searches, jobs you may be interested in, groups you may like, events and updates from all of the applications you have added to your profile. This last part is quite interesting because it means my home page is personalised according to the user choices I have already made. In my case I get to see updates from slideshare, my wordpress plug-in, Amazon reading list, box-net, company buzz (which notifies me of mentions of my company on LinkedIn),and blog connect for the latest posts I have chosen to connect to. I can take any of these off the home page or move them around to where I want them using drag or drop. This means that users can create a personal space on their home page, with access to the apps they have chosen to use. You can also interact with the apps, doing things like uploading presentations to slideshare or add events without the need to go to your own profile or app dropdown. The drpdowns on the top bar are also much cleaner looking and user-friendly, with a different colour background and a border.  It is convenient and quick, all LinkedIn need to do is promote this hard to get more people familiar with the home screen and using it on a casual basis, interacting more with the update screen. I’m going to be monitoring this more over the next few months to see if the interaction, comments, likes etc go up as a result. An extra feature I would like to see in updates is showing  video in the stream. You can add images to updates and get them to appear provided you add them manually (which is why you should manually update over automated postings). images lead to many more click-throughs in my experience.

To make PPC ads work LinkedIn need this to happen because PPC ads will only work when people log in to the channel often. At the moment the average user (recruiters are exceptional), log in 2.1 times a month. This leaves limited opportunity to get ads noticed, and the channel only earns through clicks. Bringing people back to the channel rather than interacting through apps or e-mail is essential, and that is going to come down to where LinkedIn see as being their principle revenue stream, which is going to be one of the following:

> Advertising – PPC and Display

> Product – Like LinkedIn recruiter and others.

> API Access – Paid by third-party applications and products.

I’m sure they will test all of these options to the full and natural selection will dictate the decision over where they decide to focus the users. The other barrier LinkedIn need to change to make the channel more social is to change the users perception of the business itself and brand LinkedIn. When I think about Facebook, Twitter or Google as businesses I see them as quite funky. They do things like hack days, wear hoodys, make fun videos etc. think about the daily changes to the Google home page or some of the pranks they have pulled in searches, like searching for Chuck Norris in the lucky search and getting the reply “You don’t find Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris finds you!”, think about the image of Facebook employees and you think eccentric geniuses who get to code the platform from day 2. Think Twitter and you think much the same, with the addition of that very funny video they made earlier this year that got over a million views. Now think LinkedIn and what do you see? A more staid, professional, suited crowd. Business like professionals with no room for fun. Not a social crowd, so how could they build a social product?

I’ve met quite a few of the London employees in their own environment. There wasn’t a suit in sight, plenty of communal areas, hot desks etc that fly in the face of this. It might be a good strategy for them to show more of this to change popular perception of them as a business, that professional can be social. LinkedIn’s own mid-year review took place last week, and they used the opportunity to produce this video which shows a different face to the business:.They’ve also set it as the featured video when you go to their official YouTube channel, so perhaps they are thinking the same way.

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I like the new look and feel of the home page. More interaction with the home page by users should create more interaction with user updates and content, and that means more targeted shares, it also makes PPC a lot more attractive a proposition. At the bottom of the post I’ve also added a recent webinar by LinkedIn on getting more from your ads, it’s worth a look. There is a lot more to it than you might think, and audience targeting can be very specific to reach the right eyes. The challenge is getting the right eyes to the channel regularly, and the new look might just do that.

What do you think of the new look LinkedIn?

Bill

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