We’ve seen it happen with Facebook, so we really shouldn’t be too surprised as LinkedIn continues to move in the same direction: the steady erosion of once-free services, all aimed at improving the social network’s bottom line.
B2B marketers have been spoiled for many years by the free availability of information on LinkedIn that allows the more astute among us to research prospects and competitors and to promote ourselves and our organisations using the professional social network.
Over time, however, we’ve seen a number of free services fall by the wayside as LinkedIn has refocused itself to concentrate on those products and services that actually make money for the company.
We can’t actually blame them — it’s their sandbox, after all — but it can be intensely frustrating, especially when core capabilities, those that organisations have relied upon heavily, are arbitrarily removed or placed beyond paywalls.
Take, for example,Tags, once a simple way to filter and organise your connections on LinkedIn (e.g. tagging customers, prospects and suppliers so that you could sort them easily).
Earlier this year, LinkedIn announced that “we’re removing the Relationship Section of your profile, which allowed you to add Reminders, Notes and Tags to your connections. If you want to download your existing Notes and Tags, you’ll have the option to do so through May 31, 2017.”
Brutal, for those who relied on the tagging system to make sense of their hundreds or thousands of connections.
There is a (paid) alternative: “if you are looking for similar functionalities, consider our Sales Navigator or Recruiter Lite products that allow you to transfer and view your existing notes and tags”.
But Wait, There’s Less
Late February/early March 2017 saw even more change, with the release (for most) of a whole new look for LinkedIn. We’ll let Fatima Williams describe what she calls “The Day of Disaster“:
Yes, I got switched to the new interface and it won’t let me do anything. You hide everything . I can’t see images they are so tiny, my eyes are fine.
The stickers to make work a little fun while sending messages is removed. I can’t see candidates who are outside my network. I know I can’t connect with them but if I don’t see them how am I to even connect with them???
The hope’s of one finding a job by anybody is now gone. Don’t tell me try premium — been there, done that No Thank you!
Should I start an online petition to get them to get us back to the old interface so I can help those candidates out of my reach!
” The new interface is of no use to poor unemployed job seekers who have no hope and cannot afford the premium membership. Forget the premium members who are now asked to pay for features they lost. Your customers/users (job-seekers) are the source of your revenue“ – Fatima Williams
A few other comments from some of the 1356 mostly-disgruntled LinkedIn users who responded to the post:
- Less functional and certainly not user friendly! please back to previous one – Didier Bassleer
- Innovation shall not mean regression. We are humans and have our habits of humans. Previous visual was friendly enough to find our way easily and get what we were needing quickly.-Patrick LR Le Guirriec
- The new one is only cosmetic, less organized and less functional. – Marco Koelink
- The removal of the ability to view one’s news feed in reverse chronological order (i.e., ‘recent first’) was a devastating loss. Extremely useful for tracking one’s news from login to login; a user could “pick up where he/she left off”, but now it’s gone. Too bad – Jim Kracht
- I’m OK with the new design. It’s the removal of functionality that bothers me. Just like FB, they now tell me what they think I want to see in my news feed – Denny Russell
- How about posting suggestions here for other platforms we can each explore, evaluate, and migrate over to if they seem better? I acknowledge the scope of my network on here is broad, and that any competing platforms are likely to need our support to power up to an equivalent reach. But holding onto the tail of a dying dinosaur is perilous. And with Microsoft’s inevitable strangling of service in pursuit of forced extraction of profits, they have signaled the slow death of this beast. So what else is out there for us to explore? – Erik Van Lennep
- I agree this latest version is one of the worst they have put out over the past 8 years – Shane Null
- Is anybody at LinkedIn listening to the Voice Of the Customers? So much efforts fostering the sharing of professional content and so little walking the talking… – Sergio Berna
- YES. The new LinkedIn stinks! I used to log on and get notifications telling me when someone had replied to my posts. Now I no longer do. Nor is there any other way to easily find my way back to the conversations I’ve been involved in in the forums. So I hardly bother logging on at all anymore. – Andrew Horn
- Leave it to Microsoft to take away the networking component of a networking site. – Ronald Regnier
Heartfelt angst, right there (although many LinkedIn members won’t actually know what Fatima and the other correspondents are talking about, because they simply don’t use LinkedIn that much).
So what can be done?
Well, LinkedIn is simply going to continue to change (especially as new owners Microsoft start to implement their own plans).
You can either (A) turn your back on LinkedIn (except as a CV-replicating tool); or (B) learn how to master the new, “improved” LinkedIn.
If Plan B sounds like you, we can help, with a couple of options:
1 IN-PERSON WORKSHOPS
For larger organisations, we’ve developed a couple of hands-on Workshops for you and your teams:
- LinkedIn Masterclass, half-day sessions designed to help participants re-work and develop their LinkedIn presence to really sell themselves and their organisation
- Using LinkedIn as a Sales Tool, a two-hour workshop specifically designed to help B2B sales-people use LinkedIn to sell their goods and services
If you’re interested in in-person Workshops, email us at michael (AT) netmarketingservices.co.nz or phone 021 1492 403.
2 ONLINE TRAINING COURSE
Alternatively, you should certainly consider our online training course “How to use LinkedIn Effectively“, updated to reflect the latest changes:
LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with (as of January 2017) more than 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
New Zealand now boasts more than 1,540,000 LinkedIn members, according to the latest LinkedIn data. Yet far too many of those members simply don’t know how to use LinkedIn effectively to promote themselves or their organisations.
In response to this need, we’ve developed a course that will show you how to use LinkedIn to best advantage, taking account of the developments being rolled out regularly by the LinkedIn team.
About the Course
This is a seven-part online training course providing a comprehensive introduction to LinkedIn, from the Basics to detailed instructions on how to use LinkedIn to promote your organisation, build your personal reputation and even make sales.
This online training course is conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular online training course provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.
Course lessons will be provided in seven parts, for participants to access in accordance with their own timetables. Interaction with the course tutor is enabled through the platform software tools (with telephone backup if required).
Feedback from those who have previously taken one of our courses:
- “this was the best professional development course I have done in many years” – Mark R, senior Agency Exec responsible for social media
- “thought the information within was outstanding” – Ed P, General Manager
- “What I loved was that I started with a fairly rudimentary understanding of social media but have learned a lot – including where to find more information as I need it.” – Fiona W, Marketing Manager
- “I found it relevant, informative, topical, insightful and a bloody good read. It’s never evangelical, too techy, patronising, assumes that you know too much or too little about digital and has a warm sense of humour in the communication throughout which helped faciliate the learning process for me.” — Adrienne B, new media senior executive
- “Am thoroughly enjoying the content!” – Kara B, magazine co-ordinator
- “I completed the first lesson today and found it really interesting and love the interaction already! I am so looking forward to the second lesson already …” — Annette B, public relations director
COURSE CREATION AND TUTORING
This “How to use LinkedIn Effectively” programme has been created and is tutored by Michael Carney. Michael has been in the marketing game since 1971, online since 1987 and keeps tabs on a wide range of trends and developments, locally and around the world. He is the author of “Trade Me Success Secrets” (now in its Second Edition) and a regular magazine columnist. Michael is also the creator of a number of online training courses, covering social media, eCommerce and other aspects of digital marketing.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THE “HOW TO USE LINKEDIN EFFECTIVELY” COURSE
Any business professional who wants to master LinkedIn, whether to further their own career or to develop their business presence on the world’s leading Social B2B network.
Lesson One: How To Set Yourself Up Effectively On LinkedIn
You’re probably one of the hundreds of millions who already have a profile on LinkedIn — but is it just a transplanted CV? We show you how to turn your basic profile into a living, selling document that:
- showcases your unique talents and experience to best advantage
- reinforces your personal brand with a compelling headline that’s the first thing any visitor will see
- highlights your achievements, not just your history
- provides a platform for your future success
Lesson One also covers:
- The most effective ways to ask for recommendations and endorsements
- How to use the principle of Reciprocity to sharpen your profile
- Trojan Horse Marketing and how it can really work for you
- How to claim your name on LinkedIn (and why it matters)
- How to optimize your profile for SEO
- How to use LinkedIn’s Mobile Apps and how you can ensure that your profile stands out on every platform
- The power of an effective profile summary
- How to re-shape your profile to make it sizzle (and show off your best bits)
Lesson Two: How To Use LinkedIn For Business
Once you have your own personal profile up and sizzling, it’s time to turn your attention to your organisation (especially if you operate in the B2B space). LinkedIn has now surpassed Twitter as the most popular social medium for distributing B2B content, with 83% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn to promote their organisations. So where do you begin? We start with Company Pages (which were recently redesigned to make it easier for LinkedIn users to find, follow and engage with companies of interest).
Topics covered in Lesson Two include:
- How to use LinkedIn Banner Images to showcase your company brand and really bring your page to life
- How to attract keen followers to your company pages (and what that does for your organisation’s visibility on LinkedIn)
- What you can now say about your company’s products and services
- How to harness social proof to best effect
- Why you must make your updates valuable, relevant and interesting (and what that really means)
Lesson Three: How To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job
You’ve probably heard that LinkedIn is very useful when you’re looking for a new job — but where do you start?
In Lesson Three, we talk about:
- How to use LinkedIn to get the word out that you’re in the market
- How to polish your LinkedIn profile even further, to highlight your best (and most employable) characteristics
- How to find out where people with your skillset are working
- How to check if a company is still hiring
- How to identify new recruits (and perhaps pick their brains)
- How to find out who’s who in your target industry
- How to network shamelessly to future-proof your career
- How to build your personal brand
- How to enhance your Resume with LinkedIn Testimonials
- How to find (and capitalise on) inside connections at potential employers
- How to search the hidden job market for opportunities
- How to use LinkedIn to prepare for your job interview
Lesson Four: How To Use LinkedIn To Generate Business
Can you actually use LinkedIn to create business? Yes, indeed you can, and we’ll show you how. Along the way, we’ll talk about:
- How to use LinkedIn to find business opportunities
- How to Use LinkedIn Groups to build relationships with prospects and attract new leads
- How to decide who you should connect with (and who doesn’t make the cut)
- The power of a clear Call To Action
- LinkedIn Special Offers (and where it’s appropriate to make them)
- How LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search feature can be your very best prospecting friend
- How to use LinkedIn for sales success
Lesson Five: How To Use LinkedIn’s Paid Services
You’ve probably noticed that, whilst many of LinkedIn’s services are free, you are occasionally encouraged to buy some stuff there. Reportedly, around 2% of LinkedIn members have paid-for subscriptions. So should you dip into your pocket?
In Lesson Six, we evaluate the pros and cons of:
- LinkedIn paid advertising — how it works, what you can expect to pay and what results to aim for
- The surprising response rates of LinkedIn InMails (and when using them is worthwhile)
- How to use LinkedIn’s Profile Organizer
- The LinkedIn paid account options and what they provide
Lesson Six: How To Use LinkedIn To Promote Your Business
So far we’ve looked at how to use LinkedIn to make sales and build your reputation. But LinkedIn is also an ideal vehicle for promoting your organisation to other businesses.
In Lesson Six we’ll look at the promotional potential of LinkedIn, including:
- How (and how often) to craft status updates that will appeal to your target customers and clients
- Best practices for sending out mass messages and invitations (without being a pest)
- How to use Groups to build your authority and keep in regular touch with your prospects
- How to connect from LinkedIn to the rest of the web, using widgets and plugins and other automated services
- How to share useful articles and resources without overdoing it
- How to add videos and presentations to LinkedIn
- How to use the right tools to manage your LinkedIn content to avoid getting overwhelmed
Lesson Seven: How To Use LinkedIn For Recruiting
We’ve already covered using LinkedIn to find a new job. In Lesson Seven we look at the flip side of the coin — how to use LinkedIn to find the most appropriate candidates for vacancies within your organisation.
In this lesson, we consider:
- why LinkedIn is a fertile ground within which to find perhaps 80% of your prospective employees
- How to use LinkedIn to tap into the most effective recruiting source of all
- The crowd-sourced accuracy of LinkedIn profiles
- LinkedIn’s job-posting facilities (and whether you should use them)
- Soliciting introductions: the appropriate protocols
- How to use LinkedIn to search and compare
The next “How To Use LinkedIn Effectively” course begins on Monday 03 April, 2017.
This seven-part online training course is available for $497 +GST. However we offer an Early Bird Discount of $100 — the course is just $397 +GST for bookings made and payment received by Monday 27 March, 2017.
Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.
To reserve your place in our “How To Use LinkedIn Effectively” course, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here.
If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice, please send an email to [email protected] with your requirements.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
You’ll receive our emailed confirmation of your booking. Then on the first day of the course we’ll follow up with details of your Login and Password, along with an Enrolment Key for the “How To Use LinkedIn Effectively” online training course.
If you have any questions, or would like more information, please email us at [email protected]