It is no secret that we here at Hall are BIG LinkedIn fans! Me especially.
LinkedIn has been around since 2003. “So what?” you say? Soooo… name another popular social networking site that has been around more than 4 years publicly (and is still being used). Exactly! Only LinkedIn.
If you are wondering why they have stood the test of ‘social media time’, I am going to tell you their secret. They keep updating to provide the functionality that their users want and need. No matter what your business is, this is important. Your product/service/website is not about YOU but about what your customers need.
In the past two weeks LinkedIn has made some big changes and is trying out a few more. Check them out:
Please note – some of these changes are coming, some will be rolled out over the next few days and some are only being tested on certain accounts.
- Coming Soon: LinkedIn for BlackBerry – LinkedIn has had an iPhone application for awhile and just recently updated it. To stereotype a little bit, Blackberry users pride themselves on being serious business men and women. They have no need for silly games, touch screens and applications you can sing into to get the name and artist. They need to conduct business and their smart phones are their bloodline. So it was surprising that the most business friendly social networking site hadn’t lent itself to Blackberry users, until now.
Having LinkedIn at your finger tips is a great way to plan for a meeting, add new connections on the go (before you get back to your office and forget) and more. The new Blackberry app will also work with the Blackberry platform to integrate into your calendar, contacts and messages.
- Twitter Integration – Twitter has become the darling of social media and for those that use it, they tend to be addicted to it. They find a way to integrate Twitter into every moment of their life. Some people consider their Twitter account as an extension of their resume. Now you can Tweet your status and have it appear on LinkedIn and visa versa.
- Following Group Members – Speaking of Twitter… LinkedIn added a new functionality where you can ‘follow’ group members. Think someone is interesting and you want to hear more from them? Then subscribe to follow them and get updates about other content they are posting. Following also lets you get a quick overview of what your personal connections are contributing to groups you are a member of. I think that is pretty handy. Call me crazy but I think my network includes some really smart people so I like seeing what discussions and news they post in different LinkedIn Groups.
- Design Changes – This is only visible to some so if you don’t see it, I swear I am not crazy. LinkedIn is testing some new design elements. The biggest being a new site navigation that, in theory, will let you access more of the site more easily.The redesign effort was started by analysis of how people are using LinkedIn. Brilliant! This reminds me of a news story from the University of Denver a few years ago (details here are vague but the point is crystal clear).The school redesigned a group of classroom buildings but didn’t make any sidewalks. This confused a lot of people. They let the students decide the paths they took to class and then when the grass was worn out, clearly marking the paths students chose, THEN they paved the sidewalks. Why should the construction/school/planning committee decide how students walked to class? The students decided and in-turn the landscaping was preserved once students forged a path. What a concept!
LinkedIn is such a great business tool and a perfect social media stepping stone (especially for B2Bs). What makes them a contender in my book is continuing to deliver the functionality that is most important to their users. LinkedIn continues to see rapid growth and I honestly believe it is because they are doing it right. If you want to keep up with any changes from LinkedIn they have a great blog where they announce new things, case studies and more a few times a week.
To learn more about using LinkedIn you can also view our archived webinar on Using LinkedIn for Business.