LinkedIn is now a publicly traded company (NYSE: LNKD) with more than 160 million members and to many the number one spot for professional networking online. Recently, the company announced its first website redesign in years, emphasizing building out relationships, curating news content and enabling users to easily share and comment on stories. In many ways the design resembles Facebook. Now, there is a “Share an update” box on the top of your stream followed by recommendations from LinkedIn as to what the most important updates are from your network. This may include trending topics, news, professional updates and links to what your network is reading and sharing.
In addition, updates will have images and there’s an infinite scrolling feature so you don’t have to click links to see older updates. It’s also easier to interact with your connections posts and you can like, comment and share updates directly from your homepage. You can also send one of your connections a message immediately from their status update. They also added sharing and liking for LinkedIn Today updates and a tab for items that are trending in your network – the ones that are most popular based on shares.
1. Use LinkedIn Today. I would go so far as to say that LinkedIn Today is one of the top sources of information in the world today. I review it almost daily because it saves me time from trying to find out what people in my network, and in the world, are interested in. The first thing you should do is to customize your news so that content is related to your interests. I checked off “Careers & Recruiting” because it’s the main industry I write for and follow. If you work in banking or automotive industry, you should follow those topics. Once you’ve done that, using LinkedIn’s new interface, you should read, share and comment on stories that you find interesting. When do you do this, people in your network (and that follow that topic) will notice and it will help position you as a thought leader in your industry.
2. Create a flawless profile. You would be surprised with how many profiles are blank, don’t have a picture, don’t have recommendations, and have spelling errors. It’s important that you create a profile that resembles your resume (cut and paste if you have to), while getting employers to endorse your work and adding color to what you do through a paragraph summary and a headline that’s more than lists your job title and employer. Your headline should dictate what your expertise is and in what industry. Furthermore, you want to select just a few keywords and use them throughout your entire profile so that it becomes optimized for LinkedIn search. Having a strong profile will help you with the redesign because when people see something you shared, they will click on your profile to learn more about you and your background.
3. Stay as active as possible. I know you’re busy and I know you might be spending more time on Facebook, but LinkedIn’s redesign is going to create more conversations and have peoples stay on the platform longer, or so they hope. You get rewarded if you share more because people will start seeing your name and face more and that you are keeping up with your industry. By reading, sharing and commenting, you’re showing that you’re in tune with what’s going on in your industry and it furthers your communication skills and helps you develop a stronger network that you can tap.