In case you missed it, last week was the LinkedIn 10 year anniversary. There has been a steady stream of new LinkedIn features, functions and design changes including during April 2013, that are being released and rolled out to users.
Here are three new LinkedIn features that I feel are significant for sales people and business owners who want to use LinkedIn to help them to generate new conversations, appointments and sales leads.
LinkedIn Search got Smarter
Search has been updated so you no longer need to choose People, Companies or Jobs separately. Search suggestions and enhanced Advanced Search are just two of the powerful additions. When you’re looking for a skill, a service or a supplier try searching LinkedIn. Add a location too, such as ‘LinkedIn Training Bristol’. And if you’re looking for prospect why not save your key searches and receive email notifications when new people match your criteria. The results you get will be influenced by your network of contacts, so people you are more closely connected to should appear at the top of the list. Take a look at the ‘Sort by…’ filter as well.
Update your Profile Keywords
This is a timely reminder to update your personal profile and company profile on LinkedIn with keywords so you get found. Chances are your smarter competitors will be doing so, and if they have a wide network too then they’ll be seen by more people – effectively increasing the competition to get to the First Page of LinkedIn, as companies have done in Google for several years.
The New LinkedIn Feature for Contact Management
LinkedIn has been a useful Address Book for your LinkedIn Contacts. It’s not about to become a full-blown CRM system. BUT it is about to become a place where you can bring together more information about your contacts and help you to manage your contacts better. Bringing together all your address books, emails and calendars within the LinkedIn App is a useful user feature. The improvements to the Notifications feature will be very useful too, to alert us to Trigger Events such as Position Updates of people in our networks. These alerts are fantastic reminders so we can contact people in our networks with a timely and targeted message. I’m using an application from SalesLoft to do this already.
The Price of FREE
It’s a smart move by LinkedIn too, as it risked being marginalised by the many Contact Aggregation Apps such as Nimble CRM. It also provides LinkedIn with more information about LinkedIn users, which, along with other data from the increased publishing it is doing, allows LinkedIn to build a more complete picture about users. This in turn will make LinkedIn a better platform for targeted advertising, which could be good news if you intend to advertise for customers through LinkedIn in future.
Find out more about the new LinkedIn Contacts function here. (And while you’re there request to Get Started)
Start a Conversation in LinkedIn
The LinkedIn Sharing Bookmarklet has allowed you to add a status update, share with a group and share with a specific person for some time. Now you’ll be able to do the latter of these from a status update or a comment on your home page.
- Found an interesting article and want to share it with a client or colleague and you don’t mind others seeing it, or finding it too?
- Want to ask a question of a contact and don’t mind if someone else jumps in with an answer and joins the conversation?
Create a status update with a suitable description, start typing their name and select them from the drop-down and click to share. They will receive a notification, and can respond, as can others who see the update in their home stream. This will add another way we can share and show our expertise, to help others, to build our authority, and to be found.
Will this open the door for spammers?
The potential down-side of this feature is people being too pro-active in trying to reach out through LinkedIn using the equivalent of Twitter @ messages. However, since this will all be fairly public there will be the visibility side so people can spot, and avoid or disconnect from, those people who push the limits too far. A small percentage of people (or fake accounts) may tarnish the reputation of LinkedIn for some people. Others may find their notifications stream gets too busy and the tune-out and miss a potentially valuable message from a genuine and well-meaning user. For the majority of users the new messaging facility should be a benefit.
How to find more about new LinkedIn Features
Tips, Techniques and Strategies to use LinkedIn as a Sales Tool
On this website you will find many powerful ideas to help you use LinkedIn more effectively. Some will help you to build relationships. Others will help you to be found for your expertise. And others will help you to find people who meet your criteria, to engage with people and start conversations. Fairly soon you’ll find new sales opportunities, or you’ll create sales opportunities where they didn’t previously exist.
LinkedIn Masterclass for Sales People and Business Owners
And if you’re based around Bristol, find out about the new LinkedIn Features and much more by booking onto our next LinkedIn Masterclass course, run by Mark Stonham.