LinkedIn is becoming more popular with B2B marketers, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only is the platform the largest in the world for professionals, but it also works well for lead generation. When you consider that 80% of B2B leads originate from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2Bs use LinkedIn to distribute content, it’s no wonder the business social network has become a popular hotspot for networking with decision makers.
However, marketers who are new to LinkedIn, and even veterans, are left scratching their heads at the network’s recent changes. Rumors of changes to the LinkedIn interface have persisted ever since Microsoft purchased the site in 2016, Well, those changes have arrived, and for now, they seem only to affect the desktop version of the site.
The first thing you may notice is that the site’s desktop version has been remodeled to look more like the mobile app. If you are marketing on LinkedIn, you may wonder how the new changes will affect your efforts. Will the new interface make your job easier or more difficult?
Here is what to be on the lookout for, and how to navigate the recent alterations, for even more LinkedIn marketing success in the coming year.
Home Page Changes
It should be immediately apparent to anyone who frequents LinkedIn often that the entire desktop homepage has changed. It looks cleaner, the menu bar is thinner, and the icons are very similar to the LinkedIn mobile app.
Your profile picture is neatly partitioned off to the left along with the number of people who have viewed your profile and snippets of your most recent articles.
Streamlined News Feed
Right away it becomes clear that LinkedIn has been spying on the activities of other popular social networks. The new, streamlined newsfeed is a good example. LinkedIn has rolled out a modernized newsfeed that uses a combination of human editors and algorithms to deliver more content and fewer status updates. Just like Facebook, the homepage news feed will suggest organic, sponsored, and native content that users might find interesting.
This is excellent news for marketers, as users will be exposed to more content, particularly paid content, allowing for improved engagement with the B2Bs that matter.
The new version of LinkedIn provides more insight into how other users interact with the content you share. Whether someone views your profile, or likes one of your articles, you’ll be able to see the company they came from and the role they play. This gives the analytics figures actual names and faces for instant networkability.
LinkedIn will also suggest other articles that you might want to share with your network, making content sharing easy. You will never run out of relevant and interesting content to share, in other words. LinkedIn marketers should be rejoicing!
LinkedIn now makes it possible to send InMail like a chat instead of as an email. That means you don’t have to navigate to a separate pane to send a private message. You’ll be able to chat directly with someone without leaving the LinkedIn homepage feed.
Once again, LinkedIn has kept an eye on what works best for Facebook and implemented it into its desktop version. This is a boon for marketers, as they’ll be able to collaborate and network more quickly, and all from a single location.
The content sharing section has been placed in the center of the homepage. Here you can share articles and updates, or even photos and videos. You can also create an article, which is similar to posting on the LinkedIn Publisher.
This, once again, makes it easier to create and share content, which is great for marketing purposes.
The “Me” Section
Just as you would find on the mobile app, your profile is under the “Me” icon. You can click the Me icon to view and edit your profile, as well as adjust privacy settings, get help, change the language, upgrade to Premium, and sign out.
You may notice that the background photos have changed. Now, when you try to upload a background photo, you will notice that the recommended size 1536 x 768 pixels.
Other changes include the fact that your contact information is now on the upper right hand side of the screen when someone views your profile.
And one very welcome change is that the recommendations LinkedIn provides to help you beef up your profile, like adding your education and experience, have now been relegated to the Me section only—making them less obtrusive. Before, they were at the top of the home page, constantly bugging you. With these changes,
LinkedIn is putting critical information at the forefront of users’ attention; the way a quality social network should.
You may notice a new section you’ve never seen before. This is the “Accomplishments” section and is great for showing off users’ publication credits, courses, projects, honors, patents, certifications, and awards. Marketers who want to stand out now have an entire section to list the best-of-the-best honorable mentions.
Add New Sections
LinkedIn allows you to add new sections to your profile at will. You can add new elements about your background, such as your work experience, education and volunteer experience, add to your skills, and implement accomplishments, such as projects, patents, test scores, languages, and more. You can either add the new elements to the right sidebar or within your profile.
Changes to LinkedIn Search
LinkedIn is putting more resources into its search engine. Unfortunately, only premium users can access total search functionality. LinkedIn removed the advanced search options from the free version with the new interface. That means that you can no longer search by keyword, name, title, or the person’s location.
Instead, you will be able to filter people by their connection level to you, their general location, company, industry, language, non-profit, and school. If you visit the search page, you’ll be able to browse through jobs, groups, companies, and schools. With the old version, you used to have to toggle between the various sections to search through each one. Now you can do a site-wide search right from the search page.
This is excellent for marketers, as it enables you to find the very people you need to contact to spread your message and connect.
Premium Options: LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator allows for saved and advanced searches, as well as tagging, but saved searches and tagging are no longer available for the free version.
My Network Section
The My Network section has been slimmed down to automatically show your invitations and the people you may know. When you click on your connections from this section, you won’t be able to view their profiles. You’ll only be able to message connections or remove them.
The “More” Section
As it is on the mobile app, LinkedIn has included a “More” section that allows you to post a job, access LinkedIn Learning, upgrade to Talent Solutions or Create a Company page.
Another benefit is that, from this section, you can access Lookup, ProFinder, and SlideShare with a single click.
Chatbots are even being used on the site, and Glass says that these can provide better automation to LinkedIn, as well as help with collaboration
The Calendar chatbot will take the calendars of two connections and will find and set times for them to meet right within LinkedIn’s messenger platform. More bots are expected to show up soon.
The Notifications Section
Click on the Notifications section and you’ll get notices when people in your network publish an article or have a work anniversary, birthday, or promotion. You will also be notified when people follow you, engage with your articles, and endorse you. In this way, LinkedIn has once again borrowed from Facebook.
But how are the changes with marketing?
LinkedIn Marketing is Now More Intuitive
Most reports state that marketers should be unhindered by the most recent changes. In fact, LinkedIn’s Head of Product for Marketing Solutions, Russell Glass, said in an email to DMnews, “There's no need for brands to change their approach. Brands should continue using LinkedIn to reach the right professionals with high-quality content marketing,”
According to Glass, the new changes are merely intended to put high-quality content and the news feed front and center. The idea is to create an experience that will help users better engage with the site so they keep on returning. The focus, of course, is on delivering more value to advertisers.
It Might Be Time for a LinkedIn Overhaul
The new version of LinkedIn seems as though it was designed with marketers in mind. Instead of getting upset by any changes, marketers might want to take the time to adapt. Give your LinkedIn profile an overhaul. Upload new images that are optimized for the new sizes, and upgrade your profile to accentuate the new sections that are now more prominent thanks to the cleaner layout.
Glass isn’t being entirely truthful when he says that marketers should be prepared for business as usual. The consensus seems to be that marketing will have an even easier time with the new interface. More specifically, it might now be easier to find new contacts, interact with your current list of connections, and craft engaging posts to ramp up your profile popularity.
What’s even better is that, from the sounds of it, more changes could soon be coming our way soon. 2018 may turn out to become the year of the LinkedIn B2B marketer.
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
An expert search, social and content marketer, Ryan leads Elevation Marketing's digital strategy department, helping brands achieve their business goals, such as improving sales and market share, by developing integrated marketing strategies distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement and conversion. With a proven track record of energizing brands, engaging audiences and managing multidisciplinary marketing teams, Ryan is a respected expert in achieving consistent results through creative design, thought-provoking narratives and innovative problem solving.
By Marc DeLeuw