LinkedIn gives big picture push to Premium Profiles
LinkedIn profiles have been stable now for some time and hence just when everyone is (very slowly from our latest research into over 2,000 profiles) getting to grips with their personal brands and LinkedIn profile here’s another wave of new functionality – some of which isn’t even new!
We all know our profile on LinkedIn has to put us in the best possible light as it is the default platform for business professionals and businesses all over the globe with over 300 million users. Although interestingly only 40% of respondents were happy with their own LinkedIn profile during our research.
Yesterday LinkedIn started to roll out to all new and existing premium members some additional functionality to help you differentiate yourself and stand out. Not all of these are new, however, as a summary you can:
1. Bigger hero image on your profile
LinkedIn has embraced some of the stylistic bits of Twitter and Facebook to put a background image across the top of your LinkedIn personal profile and increased the size of your photo. To make it easy for you they have also included some default, bland but free background images should you not have one or the skills handy (or just get a professional to help you, I did!).
LinkedIn states that “in a few months, all members will be able to add a custom profile background. To request to be one of the first to take it for a spin, click here.” So you might want to check that out and sign up – interestingly it doesn’t say premium only on the sign up page.
In order here’s a standard profile by default, a premium profile before customisation before, and after customisation:
2. Optimising your profile
We all know it’s tricky to write about yourself, everyone finds it hard, not just you. But then you have to do it, you have to put you in your profile if you want to make LinkedIn work but then there’s the keywords, those words that clients, partners or people that find you interesting might use to find you.
Premium account holders used to get the words people use to find them, but then that functionality suddenly disappeared from the latest version of the “who’s viewed your profile” but now it is back as a “new” feature – yay (kind of).
To find this click on “who’s viewed your profile”, then rank and it makes suggestions on the right to enhance your profile in a few ways, if you click summary you will see this sort of thing:
Now the good news is that your whole profile, apart from the advice for contacting me box, is indexed for keywords, so get them into your profile somewhere. The bad news is that half the suggested keywords for me are irrelevant, so take a pinch of practicality and salt before you amend your profiles wholesale.
This tool just makes it a little easier to see what you should have. What you say on your profile impact on the kinds of people and opportunities you attract. On client of ours in the last month got a £500,000 order just from updating profiles!
3. Premium now get featured in search results
Oh wow (I think)! Runs off to check and … and … looks …. looks harder …
Is that it? Yes, it now shows your current and past job titles in the search if your premium, flaccid whoop. Really disappointed with this one, very anticlimactic but here’s hoping it’s the start of something positive.
4. OpenLink is dead, now you have Open Profile
OpenLink used to be a cool little premium feature where any other OpenLink account could send you a message for free but it has gone now and been replaced with Open Profile, which is a very different functionality and perceived meaning – OpenLink users beware as you have automatically been swapped to OpenProfile.
With OpenProfile you are happy shouting that your profile is “open” so that every LinkedIn member can see your full profile and send you a message for free. Now I suspect the LION and spammers will love this functionality, for me it was a quick run up to Account and Settings on the top right, down to privacy and turn it off sharpish. I don’t want or have time for spam (in fact I hate spam, if you do too read this . I only have time for professional and result driven use of LinkedIn.
5. Tracking your impact and visibility
They all say that you can now track your visibility for the last 90 days in “who’s viewed your profile” (but you could do that before) and now see how you rank against your network.
Now this is an interesting move depending on your outlook:
In the positive corner you can start to see how you compare, what content resonate (but you can do that by watching how effective your status messages are) and how these rank against your network and see as you progress.
Also if you’re one of life’s competitive people there is a gamification aspect here, which is why I suspect LinkedIn did it to make you look at it and use it more.
On the negative side does it matter how you rank in relation to your network? What does it matter? If LinkedIn is delivering you outcomes that you want then you’re happy – right?
So it comes down to how you see it, but already I can see a trend in the results and it is a worry. For example if you have a huge network of people (whether you know them or collect them) and you post a lot then more people look at you, just the law of averages here, and then you rank higher. The really interesting thing for me at a personal level is that I know all of my network and I am currently flipping between 3rd and 5th highest in my network for rank and I’m really happy with that, but then I’d also be happy anywhere in the top ten – why?
I’m happy as I know everyone in the top ten and they are all struggling along at the moment, with two of them safely ensconced in large corporates with time to “play” but my LinkedIn use is light on time (around an hour most weeks) and at a frantic level of work in the business – so why do I care about rank? It comes down to what you want from LinkedIn to be ranked, looked at, engagement, likes or profitable outcomes. My largest client made £22m in sales in 12 months using LinkedIn – they only mention the last one – me too.
As part of this change to functionality LinkedIn has rolled out (yet another) premium package, called Premium Spotlight, which gives you these feature on top of your free experience. My view on this is simple, don’t do it! You would be much better represented to learn how to make all of the free LinkedIn functions work for you and then when you have pay for a Business, Sales / Marketing upgrade as they are worth having when you have made the free stuff work (see this old blog)
If you haven’t yet got direct leads or sales for yourself, business or company then we should talk – I know, how old school 😉
I just love your style and approach James.
Great advice above, as ever, and I especially liked your last line. 😉
Thanks for the kind comment Mark. There are to many people out there that profess to be “social media experts” and don’t really understand how to make this “stuff” work in ways that impact bottom line and that includes using LinkedIn as a way to talk to people in real life, on the phone and of course over a coffee. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man