There was a time when LinkedIn was seeming a bit static, and I thought they were close to falling behind the curve. With competition like Manta, Facebook, and Fast Pitch fast catching up, LinkedIn kicked into high gear and are now the leaders in the business networking space. And yes, FastPitch is gone and Facebook…well, it’s obviously a leader in the ‘share everything in my life’ space…but in the business world – opinions vary widely as to how much it really does for your bottom line.
Today, WordPress is seriously tackling the business marketplace – it’s literally the one stop shop these days for anyone wanting to build a client base of their business. Whether you are a home based entrepreneur or an exec with a corner office – you cannot afford to NOT be seen on LinkedIn today.
So without further ado – here are the latest LinkedIn features that you HAVE to check out:
1. LinkedIn Publishing Platform. This is the big one! Originally available only to “Influencers”, as designated by LinkedIn, it’s now being rolled out to all members. The opportunity to publish your content on LinkedIn has amazing marketing and branding potential. Once you access to this new feature, you’ll be able to move far beyond the current brief update status posts and create long-form content, that can truly be a showcase for your talent, expertise and knowledge.
To access the new feature, click the edit icon in the “share an update” box on your homepage, and you should see “create a post”. LinkedIn will walk you through the easy process from that point – if you blog, you will be right at home. Your posts will appear in your profile but exceptional and relevant posts are will be distributed through the network based on views, likes, comments, and shares. LinkedIn also uses an algorithm that matches the right content with the right profession, and if you make the cut.you might Your post may even make it into LinkedIn Pulse! Stats for all of your posts are available so you can see their popularity, and determine the corresponding impact on your leads and business.
2. Custom Profile Background. It’s been available for awhile to Premium members, but the new feature will be available to all members very shortly. Like Facebook’s Timeline Cover, this will give you great opportunity to personalize your profile and your personal ‘brand’. If you don’t have a Premium account, sign up here to get on the waiting list for the new feature. No word yet on how long a way this may be, but I doubt that it will be too long, base on the buzz the new feature is causing.
But don’t wait until you get approved to get started – get your background ready now so you can be an early adopter when you’re approved! To get the best effect, your image should be a 1400×425 pixel jpg. No in-house art department? Then go the DIY route – with tools like PicMonkey, it’s pretty say to do your own. Create your image now so that when you get access to the new feature you will be ready to go. Be sure to use good quality pictures or graphics that tell the right story and leave your visitors with the right impression of you and your business.
Here’s LinkedIn’s instructions for adding your background image to your profile: Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile. Click Edit Background, which appears above the top section of your profile. Then, select a background image or click Upload to use a photo of your own (jpg, gif or PNG with a maximum file size of 4MB) and click save.
3. The Expanded ‘Who has viewed your profile’. This is not a new feature by any means but definitely one of the most upgraded features of LinkedIn. You can now get an amazing amount of detail and demographic data about who is visiting your profile which include the keywords searchers used to find you, how they found you, where they come from, their job title, industry and the company they work for, all broken down by date. This is great because you can now see a direct correlation between your marketing efforts on LinkedIn and the response from your network and those outside your network. Premium accounts can see the complete list of people that viewed your profile, other than those that have their privacy set to anonymous.
4. LinkedIn Connected app (for iPhone). The new Connected app practically automates managing and maintaining your LinkedIn network of connections with instant alerts and one touch response to comment on almost anything new that your connections post: promotions, new jobs, press releases, work anniversaries, birthdays, etc. According to LinkedIn, profiles of members who use the app average six times more profile visits and average seven times more endorsements than nonusers. It takes a bit to get used to using it all the time but take a few minutes a day to try it out and see if has any impact. Most of us that have – now routinely use it a couple of times a day, and the impact is well worth the effort.
5. Profile Rank. For the uber competitive among us (okay, that is probably most of us reading this), LinkedIn also now lets you now how you how you rank in your personal network based on the total number of profile views. It shows where you place among “your 1st-level connections”, “professionals like you,” and “people in your company”. Although it might make you feel god to know that you are doing better than the person in the cubicle next to you – the one that you should be watching is the “professionals like you” – these could be your competitors but could also be excellent business resources or alliances depending on your field.
Use these new statistics to gauge the impact of your status updates, articles/blog posts and group participation.
Take advantage of these powerful personal branding features from LinkedIn. They’ll help you can stand out and move up!