You may have noticed that LinkedIn had a pretty good year in 2011. On February 9, 2012, the company announced it surpassed 150 million users and posted Q4 earnings of $167.7 million, a 105 percent increase over the same period in 2010, exceeding the analysts’ consensus and earnings forecasts. The stock is up and the smiles at LinkedIn headquarters stretch from ear-to-ear. Clearly, since its May 19, 2011 IPO, the company has not rested on its laurels.
Throughout the years, the company has aggressively innovated from within and has introduced several features that have improved the quality of life on the LinkedIn site. Many users pined for change, openly expressed their wants in the LinkedIn interactive forums and deposited threads of market research gold for the company’s consideration.
Evidently, LinkedIn listened.
Since 2009, the four enhancements to the LinkedIn site that have brought the most value to our time-strapped, hustle-bustle lives are:
New Home Page Orientation
Of all the modifications LinkedIn has made, the one that has completely reshaped the user experience is the conversion of its home page to the interactive, news feed format. In essence, it became the Facebook wall. The vertical array of information is better organized, easier on the eyes and creates a quicker and more comfortable processing route for the brain.
BENEFITS: Provides real-time streaming of network activities and your personal LinkedIn profile metrics.
The Status Bar
When LinkedIn installed the status bar in 2009, it created a true framework for content marketing. The device is a direct take from Twitter which, until that time, the market cornered on the 140-character, shortened URL world. LinkedIn status updates are unique pieces of communication in that they are at once broadcast messages (one-way) and potentially interactive mini-blogs (two-way) on which posts can be “liked.” The content also becomes fixed to your LinkedIn profile—until it is changed or deleted.
BENEFITS: Status updates deliver relevant information about you, your organization and your products and services to your direct connections’ home pages and can be accessed by visitors to your LinkedIn profile.
As your LinkedIn network expands, the noise level increases. There is more stuff and more clutter on your home page. Think of LinkedIn Signal as a way to effectively filter the noise and tame the clutter. It can be found by mousing over the news tab in the main menu. It is, essentially, a dedicated search engine for updates. Simply plug in the proper name of a person, company, or any other keyword or term, and the system will sift through myriad conversations and retrieve all mentions of that entry in the master update feed. This vehicle is similar in functionality to Tweetdeck.
BENEFITS: Offers immense time savings by isolating and extracting isolating relevant bits of business information for daily monitoring.
You can’t stop technology; you can only hope to contain it. As more and more people feel that they want to participate in the social media revolution, the incessant demand for timely news on how digital is driving our lives increases. LinkedIn gives its users easy access to the top tech stories impacting the global business landscape in a prominently displayed section above the fold on the home page. Click and learn.
BENEFITS: Knowledge is power. Always has been, always will be.
Social media is still shifting and evolving to accommodate changes in lifestyle and advances in gadgetry. All the major sites share common characteristics. They borrow (steal) from each other and package these hybrid features as their own. More often than not, it works.
J.D. Gershbein, CEO of OWLISH COMMUNICATIONS, is a specialist in the Art and Science of LinkedIn. He is a trusted asset to top executives, managers, entrepreneurs, professional service providers, salespeople, and those involved in the search for their next great opportunity. J.D. offers unrivaled strategic direction to individuals and firms -- ranging from small to medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) to Fortune 500 companies -- in using LinkedIn to build brand and generate revenue. Dubbed “The Oracle of LinkedIn” and “The LinkedIn Black Belt,” J.D. is considered one of the top LinkedIn strategists in the world and a pioneer in the design and delivery of LinkedIn educational programs. A highly sought-after international speaker, J.D. draws upon his background in marketing communications, industrial psychology, neuroscience, improvisational comedy and broadcast media to inspire opportunity-oriented professionals in all walks of business. J.D. is also an Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart Graduate School of Business where he teaches the school’s first-ever course in social media. His first book, a treatise on social neuromarketing and LinkedIn communication strategies will be available in 2012.