Over the past few weeks, LinkedIn users have been logging in to find a completely new look and feel. With the launch of a new design interface, LinkedIn is streamlining the user experience and making it much easier to navigate pages. Overall, these changes are a nice upgrade from the previous interface, which was a little clunky. This new, user-friendly interface also introduces some functionality changes. Here is a summary of what you need to know:
User Interface & Navigation
LinkedIn’s new user interface mimics some of the main elements seen on Facebook. According to Dreamgrow.com, Facebook is still the leading social network, with over 1.86 billion users and 70 million active users. With this level of familiarity, LinkedIn’s design strategy was a smart move.
When you land on LinkedIn’s home page, you’ll notice a brand new layout and navigation bar. The left-hand sidebar now features a snapshot of your profile that includes your name, headline, picture and background image, profile view counter and recent posts views, if you publish content.
LinkedIn’s top navigation bar now features icons for easy access to your connections (renamed to My Network), jobs, messages (emails), notifications and full profile (me). All other sections are housed under the table grid icon next to learning and advertising.
The top middle section of the new home page is focused on your activity feed and features two sharing prompts. The first line prompts you to share an article, photo or update. This mirrors the previous status update section. The next line connects you to LinkedIn Publisher. Here, you can publish an original content article to your profile.
LinkedIn also changed how owners and other users view a profile. Your owner profile is now accessed by clicking on the profile picture on the left sidebar or by clicking on the Me icon in the navigation toolbar.
Once you’ve landed on your profile page, you’ll notice the new layout features your profile image and headline information front and center. The sections have not changed, but they have been condensed. For example, the summary section follows the header, but now you only see the first two sentences. While our recommendations for personalizing your summary still apply, LinkedIn’s new “elevator speech” approach emphasizes the importance of a great first sentence.
LinkedIn has also changed how you view your posts and activities. This information, which was once dynamic in its positioning on your page, is now static and cannot be reorganized. Posts and activities will be permanently sandwiched between your summary/highlights and everything else (experience, education, skills and endorsements, recommendations and accomplishments).
We reviewed how the user view has changed, now we turn our attention to how the public profile view (the page other users see) has changed. Contact information has been moved to the right-hand side of the screen and when you click on arrow, you’ll notice that any website links you included before are no longer customized.
Options for sharing a profile, removing a connection, blocking or reporting a profile, requesting a recommendation or unfollowing someone can now be accessed by clicking on the three small squares in the upper right corner of the profile box. Below the profile box, the highlights section summarizes your mutual and groups.
In the new interface, the Connections section (add contacts, people you may know, alumni) is now known knows as My Network. Clicking on the My Network icon from the navigation bar, will bring you to your Received invitations and People you may know.
From this page your connection count and list can be accessed by clicking See all in the Your Connections box on the left side of the screen. From here, you can also click on Find connections to access a tool that grows your network by importing contacts, inviting others via email or uploading a file. LinkedIn has removed the alumni search, but you can still find this information using advanced search.
Other Things You Need to Know
- Rich Media: Videos and slides can no longer be uploaded to your profile. Slideshare, which is owned by LinkedIn, is still available from the More icon in the top navigation bar.
- Exporting Your LinkedIn Connections: There is no longer an export button under your connections (now known as My Network) section. You can still get to this data, but you must now request a data archive.
- Sharing Published Posts: LinkedIn has now added social share buttons to allow you to share published posts to both Facebook and Twitter. By clicking on LinkedIn, you can still access the options to share an update with your network, post to groups or send to individuals.
- Search: LinkedIn has removed the saved search, advanced search feature and premium filters for free and paid accounts. These features are still available, but you must upgrade to Sales Navigator.
The Bottom Line
While change isn’t always fun, I believe the new updates to LinkedIn’s interface will make it easier for CPAs to navigate their profile. Users will need to examine and possibly update the first sentence of their Summary section to ensure their grabbing the right person’s attention. With the removal of many search features, more firms may have to consider paid accounts, including the pricey Sales Navigator to be able to utilize LinkedIn in a more proactive way.