How LinkedIn 2017 Updates will affect Thought-Leaders
If you haven’t seen yet, LinkedIn has made some dramatic updates to the user interface and profiles. It is the first major update since the inception of the company. These changes, however, are probably the biggest step back any social media platform has ever made. I was told by a PR person the other day that I should never be negative in my communications especially about a company I have built a livelihood off the backoff. While I definitely take on his points, I think, as a thought-leader representing Small Businesses, it would be wrong of me not to act as a spokesperson and begin a communication explaining to LinkedIn the implications of what they have done.
However, alongside this, I have also chosen to update my book What to Put on Your LinkedIn Profile and create an amendment with the aim of helping you to make the most of the new profile layout. New LinkedIn training resources for 2017 are on the way. Over the coming weeks, you’ll see new videos appearing on our site our YouTube channel.
So what do I think of these new changes:
As an individual, I have been providing LinkedIn profile reviews since 2013 and in 2015 began my own company focused on writing LinkedIn profiles for solo-entrepreneurs, sales teams, thought leaders and CEOs. While the profile had a few limitations, the general layout was very clear with distinct sections that could be re-ordered and manipulated to engage and draw in any prospect.
Unfortunately, these new updates just prove what I’ve been thinking all along – LinkedIn have no idea that asset they are sitting on nor the value it brings to its users. That might sound harsh, but sadly it appears true.
LinkedIn was originally designed to aid recruitment, but in 2009 we began to see a very different approach and by 2012 we had a new term ‘Social Selling’. It wasn’t too long before Sales Navigator arrived taking a small but important part of LinkedIn’s focus.
However, at its heart, it has always remained a recruitment tool with LinkedIn’s main revenue generated from Corporates who pay high premiums for what is called a ‘Seat’. This is the ability for one person within the company to log in and use LinkedIn in a very different way to how you and I do. It provides greater access to people outside of your network, lead management and InMails. In fact, there is even an exam that users have to take before they are fully licenced to use it.
As a personal branding consultant and business development expert, it has never been something I’ve paid close attention to. My focus has always been on how SMEs, which account for 48m companies on LinkedIn, and how they can use the platform to build vital connections, establish brand presence and position themselves as Trusted Advisors in their industry.
It has never been about overtly selling, as this will quickly get you kicked out of someone’s network, but rather about building relationships.
For any thought leader or sales person, LinkedIn was the one place to make a big impact, as it is the only platform where talking solely about business is permissible. By publishing, sharing and commenting on articles and status updates we can quickly establish ourselves as key persons of influence and experts in our field.
By publishing, sharing and commenting on articles and status updates we can quickly establish ourselves as key persons of influence and experts in our field.
LinkedIn made it easy for your name to come up in all the right conversations.
It is also the only platform where you had the opportunity to make a real impression beyond your ‘Feed’. With such a comprehensive profile you had the opportunity build rapport with your prospect and demonstrate your passion for your field and your credibility. Each section of the profile played a vital part. How you completed the section and structured the profile to match the buying psychology of your prospect appropriate to this platform was important. In fact, my clients can attest to the results. With a good LinkedIn profile, the quality of connections and conversations changed dramatically, bringing many opportunities and creating a
In fact, my clients can attest to the results. With a good LinkedIn profile, the quality of connections and conversations changed dramatically, bringing many opportunities and creating a
With a good LinkedIn profile, the quality of connections and conversations changed dramatically, bringing many opportunities and creating an individual’s personal brand.
What is a good LinkedIn profile?
A good LinkedIn profile is one that can take a prospect from someone who doesn’t know they have a problem to need your services to one that is jumping through hoops to hire you to help them fix it. It should match current sales campaigns and branding and lead prospects effortlessly into your existing sales funnel. It should make a great first impression so when a prospect receives an invitation to connect with you, they instantly see you as a valuable addition to your network.
These changes have definitely made it more challenging to accomplish this but we’ll work it out together.
I am currently in the process of studying the new profile, via a clients login as my own hasn’t updated, and working out new ways to create an impact and build your personal brand.
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What are the main changes that will impact Thought-Leaders?
- Publications: If you’re an Author publications allowed you to feature your book on the profile. By moving the section around you could choose how visible it was. As any author will attest, writing a book is a big achievement and deserves to be featured. In the last decade writing a book has become a vital component for establishing authority in our field and developing our market. With publications is now hidden at the bottom of the profile under ‘Accomplishments’ the impact will be minimal.
- URLs: Previously website URL’s could be labelled, either with LinkedIn’s presets ‘Company Page’ ‘Blog’ etc or by selecting ‘Other’ and customising yourself. The best advice here, and still is, is to select three websites or landing pages that matched the general conversation of your profile and lead people into your sales funnel. You might choose to use a tracking link so you can measure how many people are clicking through. However, the URL is now fully exposed with the label in brackets at the end. The impact is entirely lost as, to the eye, it is a jumbled mess and misses the clean call to action of the normal URL title.
- Summary: The summary served many purposes but for the thought-leader and trusted advisor it was a chance to establish rapport with our prospect by outlining the problem we solve for our clients and how we go about it. By sharing statements such as ‘I believe…’ or ‘In my experience…’ we had the chance to invite our prospect into our world and feel like they were having a conversation with us. While this is still true, the section still exists and is the same length as before, it is now hidden behind a ‘See more’ drop down. A drop-down that will open the section and navigate you to the bottom of the box. How much text you’ll see at first view will depend on whether the profile has Rich Content Media attached to it. The user has to now scroll back up to continue reading where they left off. The opening line of the summary was always absolutely key and needed to include the keywords of the problem you solve, however with only 223 characters showing before ‘See more’ we certainly have our work cut out. Added to this the light colour of the font makes it easy to miss altogether.
- Advice for Contacting: For those not connected with us, this was our opportunity to add our contact details and direct prospects where we wanted them to go next to find out more about working with us. With this section now taken away, we’ll have to provide this information elsewhere. This is fine. For my client’s we would always include it in the Summary and the Experience entry for the company, but still, it was valuable and very useful especially if you were over the character limit in the summary or experience section.
However despite this, we’ll work it out and if we all shout loud enough perhaps LinkedIn will listen to us, the solo-entrepreneurs, sales teams, thought-leaders and Trusted Advisors and bring some of the items back.
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