LinkedIn members who are dedicated regular users all agree the platform delivers substantial benefits. But what would a deeper probe of experiences reveal? What are the tools and behaviours for great LinkedIn results?
Asking members what they really liked and disliked about LinkedIn were important questions. Answers would shine a balanced light on the activities, tools, systems and behaviours from both members and LinkedIn to impact user experiences and success going forward.
I took a 2-pronged approach in collating LinkedIn member feedback. I recognised many would not publicly share their views so I privately emailed 150 people together with placing a public LinkedIn post
In total 220 participants shared their views. Age, gender, location, industry, seniority and professions were diverse. It’s worth noting that for some, LinkedIn is their primary marketing and sales tool, for others it’s part of a broader strategy.
The two questions asked without predictive checklists were: “What did you most like and Dislike about LinkedIn in 2018?” & ‘If you had a magic wand what would you like to see change?’
Many remarked that they didn’t just like the platform but loved it. Several expressed a love-hate relationship and others a sense of it being a necessary evil. Follow are lists of common responses, tools and functions identified and a few takeways.
- Connect with members you would never have had an opportunity to meet otherwise
- Build long term meaningful relationships both online and offline
- Meet new friends, suppliers, mentors, clients, collaborators, partners
- Major high value new sales and revenue generation
- Ability to research backgrounds, shared connections and credentials before hiring new staff, engaging suppliers and board appointments
- Excellent for brand building and expertise positioning
- Product and brand launches have had great reach
- Drive new channels and geographical outreach
- Platform to give back, find support, build communities and share experiences
- Learning and development, topic research
- Reliable platform to share and consume content
Functions & Tools
- Voice Messaging
- QR Codes
- Find Me Tool
- PDF Document sharing
- Native Video
- Company pages (updates, functionality, video sponsoring)
- Search functionalities and options
- Follow vs Connect button
- New Sales Navigator category of list upgrades
- Experience Section Layout (linking functions and roles together)
There were a wide range of new functions and tools introduced in 2018. Some garnered mixed opinions but overall the introduction of most were welcome and robustly integrated.
Voice messaging (on mobile) seemed to be embraced more by those who identified as extrovert. This was used by many as a key point of difference in their message strategy and is worth pursuing further from feedback.
LinkedIn is the most coveted platform for business development and professional relationships. There are no signs of this abating any time soon.
- Algorithms – Issues included constant changes, penalisation of Posts with links, Articles given very low priority (almost non-existent) in reach and the feed, overall necessitation of guerrilla tactics to maximise algorithm reach
- Customer service and financial engagement experiences (including automated responses, long timeframes for resolution of issues, sense of manipulation to pay for same services)
- Non personalised connection requests & generic automated 3rd party plug in invitations.
- Narcissistic, ego driven ‘look at me’ posts.
- Trolls, bullying, plagiarism, lack of manners
- Explosion of low quality videos without real value and substance (especially shot in cars)
- Blatant upfront sales pitches without any hello or relationship building
- No pre-warning of major profile and platform changes and upgrades.
- Profiles with poor (or no) photos, minimal information, are incomplete or lack clarity
Functions & Tools
- Inconsistency of functions and tools across the desktop and mobile devices
- Clunky loading and image management
- Groups – still relatively ineffective with administrator controls reduced
LinkedIn to review how they apportion equal algorithm weight to all content forms: videos, podcasts, posts, document shares and articles. Need to classify content based on quality not format as content preferences are not linear.
LinkedIn is a relationship platform. Generic spray and pray invitations and blatant heavy sales pitches just do not work.
Following popular rhetoric without critical analysis isn’t advised. For example don’t put up a video just because you think you should. Quality and value-add on all forms of content is first and foremost in any curation decision.
Ensure your profile is inspiring, detailed and complete. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes- would you contact you?
- Introduction of a Facebook Live option
- Add a video messaging tool.
- Upgrade of recommendations and skills sections.
- A telephone contact option for customer service
- Add back the note function to profiles
- Integrate Sales Navigator with LinkedIn
It’s clear that both members and LinkedIn contribute to the overall user experience, albeit from different angles and responsibilities.
There is no utopian tool or digital platform in business that is 100%. But LinkedIn is the clear champion for growth and networking transformation. Businesses who embrace LinkedIn in 2019 will maximise abundant opportunities. Those who don’t will definitely be leaving money on the table.