LinkedIn spring update

LinkedIn has a number of new updates this spring, including the retirement of its ‘Stories’ feature. Personal branding expert Sue Parker outlines everything marketers and brands need to know.

In a world of great uncertainty, there is one sure thing that can be relied on – LinkedIn’s never-ending array of new features and changes. Indeed change and review is part of the platform’s DNA. 

As I wrote a few months ago in celebration of LinkedIn’s 18th birthday, there would be more changes in 2021 after a stellar number early in the year. And by gee that crystal ball didn’t need much nudging to manifest. Over the last three months there has been a host of new features, updates, flops and magical strange appearances. 

Stories cancelled 

Stories has been cancelled effective end of September. Released in June 2020 with much brouhaha. Back in March 2020 I wrote that LinkedIn should stay in its lane and Stories wouldn’t fly.

Personal and business brands just were not enthralled with the 24 hour soundbite which was only available on the mobile app (hence losing 45 percent of desktop users). Ephemeral posts just didn’t fit the platforms brand expectation and resonance for deeper and permanent content. 

There is now discussions of a new video feature from LinkedIn’s product teams so let’s wait and see how that transpires and when.  

Strange and beta testing features

Often features in beta testing mode just magically appear without any logic or pre-warning. 

A recent strange appearance was the prompt to re-share a post automatically after a member commented on it. Using the comment as a starter to encourage re-sharing is rather odd. 

Supposedly to drive wider engagement, re-sharing of posts is pretty much a dead duck in the pond in 90 percent of cases at the best of times. Given also that circa only 2-4 percent of members create their own content, the idea was no doubt to encourage contributions from the other 96 percent of members. The re-share prompt feature has seemingly died on the vine. It clearly was a beta test.

Another strange appearance was the ‘Start a Conversation’ prompt on Company pages. At the time of writing, it was suggested I write a post on either #HispanicHeritageMonth or #ConversationsForChange. 

Is this part of an ongoing company page booster fee focus or a widening of Creator Mode functionality? Does it signal a greater resonance for the LinkedIn News editorial team? Stay tuned as there is more coming in this space.

New features

Here is list of a few new features over the last few months.  And as ever, roll outs can and will be staggered. 

Native video meetings:

Live on platform video calls are now available on desktop and mobile.  Accessed directly from Messages, two members can video chat live together.  A great addition to the suite of video scheduling tools enabling wider flexibility and spontaneity. I think it will be a bit of fun and add to more relaxed networking opportunities.

Dark mode:

Rolling out on both desktop and mobile dark mode is turned on from the display section under Settings.  Very cool addition welcomed by many, especially for night scrolling.

Content analytics on company pages

New improved analytics tool on mobile providing additional insights on the company page performance of organic and paid content.

‘Query first’ search experience

A wider search capability to deliver a richer keyword search experience including communities, people, conversations, jobs, learning courses, products, service providers, newsletters, companies.

Work style preference alerts

For freelancers and job seekers you can designate your work style preference. Choose from hybrid, remote or onsite. Accessible under the ‘Open to Work’ feature (displayed on photos).

There are filters to select your network, all members and recruiters only.  It will also incorporate job alerts. Recruiters and HR departments using talent solutions will also be able to use the filters to search broadly.

End note – importance of manners

The last few months has seen a steep rise in the level of vitriolic conversations and derision resultant from the pandemic and related issues. And many have come from employees and owners of well-known brands.

But also there has been a plethora of wonderful supportive conversations and community care provided.  As in the off-line world, there is a myriad of human behaviours and reactions and LinkedIn represent them all.

Be mindful that how you communicate on LinkedIn can impact your personal brand either positively or negatively.  Memories are long and whilst what is written may not be recalled exactly, the feelings resultant may not be forgotten. Manners and respect are more important now than ever.

 

Sue Parker is the founder of Dare Group Australia, a unique communications, LinkedIn and personal branding consultancy.