January 27, 2017
/ by Jim Dougherty
LinkedIn recently announced significant changes to its desktop and its search functions. Perhaps a little counterintuitive to the “mobile first” ethos, the new LinkedIn desktop looks great and has some cool features that will appeal to communications and marketing professionals on the platform.
LinkedIn says that these changes are scheduled to roll out to all users “in the coming weeks.” In preparation, I’d like to highlight five of the significant changes and demonstrate how these can help you leverage the platform more effectively.
The most noticeable change to LinkedIn’s desktop is its sleek new appearance. On the top left of the page is a search bar and on the top right is a new navigation bar encompassing what LinkedIn describes as its “seven core areas:”
The “Me” profile page consists of circular profile picture superimposed on a background photo, and the “Home” page includes an abbreviated profile picture on the left, with posts in the middle.
Perhaps one of the most interesting additions to the LinkedIn desktop is “real-time messaging.” In essence, LinkedIn has incorporated its own Messenger-type chat feature into the platform.
While the details on this feature are still vague, Techcrunch reports that the real-time messaging service will accommodate chat bots. If LinkedIn follows Facebook’s model, they will probably release a mobile feature in the near future.
In its newest incarnation, LinkedIn made some exciting enhancements to its search capabilities. Using the search box at the top of the page, users can search within any category of LinkedIn data (with the exception of Posts, which is a feature that LinkedIn says they will release soon). After entering a search term, the results page allows you to filter results more precisely. For example, to search for a job at Cision you might type, “Cision” in the search bar and then filter results by jobs on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Another very cool enhancement is the addition of search operators to help accomplish specific searches very quickly. There are five search operators available for LinkedIn search:
By using these search operators with Boolean search operators (quotes, parentheses, NOT, OR, AND), you can execute a sophisticated search of LinkedIn quite quickly. An example search using these operators might look like this:
firstname:Joan company:Cision NOT lastname:Osborne
This search would return Cision employees named Joan without the last name Osborne.
One of the great and/or not entirely great aspects of LinkedIn is the ability to see who has looked at your profile. LinkedIn has extended that feature so that you can see who reads your social posts. (for people concerned about privacy issues, presumably enabling Linkedin’s private and semi-private modes would keep LinkedIn from outing you as a reader).
While it may not seem immediately useful, for some people the ability to understand who is consuming and sharing your social content may help you to target better, or to help identify supportive influencers.
LinkedIn additionally says that they have tweaked their algorithm with automation and human curation. Presumably, the automated portion of the algorithm will take your past activities into account when presenting new information, and the human curation will introduce more of their Pulse content into your feed.
While this is probably a tweak intended to increase monetization, anecdotally my LinkedIn timeline was perhaps one of my least useful social feeds. So adding more intelligence to the algorithm is not a bad thing, in my humble opinion.
LinkedIn is now an official property of Microsoft and has announced the intention to deeply integrate Microsoft products into the network. So perhaps these desktop changes are a precursor to integrations coming in the next year.
What you need to know about LinkedIn is that the changes are coming soon to your desktop profile, and at the very least you should probably make sure your profile photos look good. And if you use LinkedIn in any capacity, learning how to use their search operators or navigate the new space will likely be helpful.
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