Recent Changes to LinkedIn (July 2012)

There have been a few changes to LinkedIn recently that I thought were worthy of a short explanation, I tend not to comment on cosmetic changes (such as the updated 'people you may know' feature) but the following changes, whilst not hugely significant could be reasonably important to some users.

100% Profile Criteria

It has always been important to ensure you have a 100% complete profile, this automatically ranks you higher in search results, partly because it encourages you to put more information in your profile (which makes it easier to find you) but it also has  a positive weighting to how high up you appear in a search result. Recently LinkedIn have dropped one of the key criteria required to get to 100% - recommendations. Previously you needed 3 recommendations worth 5% each but now you can get to 100% without any recommendations. Whilst I am a big fan of recommendations (when done the correct way) I found that making them a criteria for a 100% profile encouraged users to just get anybody to recommend them so that they could reach 100%. This was pointless and often led to recommendations from a friend, colleague or even a family member and these type of testimonials were actually damaging to a profile. This criteria has now been replaced with the need to have a minimum of 50 connections which is in my view, much more sensible.

Twitter Link

I have never been a fan of automatic feeds from Twitter into a LinkedIn status update and now Twitter have called a stop to this. You can still link your accounts and send your LinkedIn updates to Twitter but not the other way around - either automatically or by adding #in. Most LinkedIn users will be quite happy to hear this news, many have commented to me that they are tired of seeing countless tweets telling them how someone is feeling that day or what they have been up to at the weekend or even worse seeing one half of an @ conversation!

That said I do have some connections who use Twitter extensively and only ever Tweet serious, relevant information and less often than a normal Tweeter. This new change will potentially create much more work for these people but all is not lost - there is a solution! 

I have recently been using an excellent web service called IFTTT which stands for 'If This Then That'. This simple, free and very effective service allows you to link actions between different web sites. There are lots of ways IFTTT can be used, you just need to use your imagination but one simple recipe (the term they use for a set of instructions) is to send every Tweet directly to your LinkedIn status updates. You only need to set it up once and then it will automatically keep working until you switch it off - simple!

I tested this out today with the following 'recipe'

and it worked, within minutes the Tweet appeared in my LinkedIn homepage. Whilst this is a convenient and effective workaround I still believe that the majority of LinkedIn users should NOT be sharing every Tweet on LinkedIn, IFTTT does also help in this respect as it allows you to specify that you do not want @replies sent to LinkedIn.

Company Profile Updates

LinkedIn are gradually making Company Profiles more useful and effective, firstly they allowed you the free facility to advertise your products and services via a separate tab in the profile, then they allowed a company to send a status update to its followers and now they are allowing companies to target updates at specific followers. This is a great new feature and a potential game changer in terms of what a company can do on LinkedIn (as opposed to individuals). The problem with the company status update feature was that a company's followers were often largely made up of employees, competitors and suppliers. forward thinking organisations have now started to encourage more followers (of the right type) and this feature allows them to send out status updates in a highly targeted way.

Now you can specify which followers see an update by;

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Seniority
  • Function
  • Size of employer

And you can even select to remove company employees from an update.

This is a vast improvement and does make me wonder why they can't do the same for status updates from an individual profile.......now that really would be useful!