If there’s one frustrating thing about LinkedIn, it’s keeping up with all the changes. The PTB (powers that be) who run the platform are consistently trying to improve it, so it’s our job to keep abreast of the updates and share them all with you! They have recently made some alterations to every user’s profile page and all sales and marketing professionals can use them to their advantage in their social selling efforts.

Looking at the graphic below, you can see the biggest differences are the placement of your profile headshot/photo and a tweaking of how information appears in your top box. I like the new “home” of the photo; it’s one of those things I really can’t explain why… I just do.

Here are some other highlights:

The good

  • More preview lines for summary
  • Prominent placement of external media
  • Highlighting current employment, education and contact info

The bad

  • Messing around with one’s header image… again

The somewhat known

  • The mobile app

And now, the details.

The Good

There’s a lot of good in the newest LinkedIn profile.

More Summary Preview Lines
I love this change. Up until this version of the profile, LinkedIn provided two lines for a “preview” of your summary. I don’t remember approximately how many characters you could have; needless to say, it wasn’t enough.

Now, we have three lines and approximately 280 characters – essentially, an entire Tweet – to entice people to click on your summary. This is huge, as it’s now easier to invite people to click in and discover your entire story.

Moreover, if you write your summary in what I call a “value-added” way, you can show them how your products or services can help solve their current challenges. Think of it as more of a ‘marketing and educational section’ than a summary on a resume. Consider offering insights and advice in your industry right away. Bring value to your target audience in your profile. Believe me, they will get excited to have a conversation with you when you ask for one.

External Media Placement
This is the other “biggie.” A great way to brand yourself and your company as experts in your field is to link to external media like blog posts, Webinars, marketing collateral (PDFs, case studies, and so on), and the like. While you’ve been able to provide such links in the past, LinkedIn has now put them in a more prominent place to enhance your social selling efforts. Before, your readers had to click into your summary to see those links; quite frankly, I bet most LinkedIn didn’t even know about media – either accessing it or using it themselves – prior to this update.

Bringing More into the Spotlight
Did you know that “contact info” is a real thing on LinkedIn? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, as LinkedIn has done an excellent job of not calling attention to it in previous versions. Now it’s in a prominent place and you can be much better showcase Websites you want your visitors to see, your Twitter account, your phone number, and your email address. You can set permissions on who sees your phone number and email address, too.

An added bonus: Your place of employment and your education are even more prominent now in your profile than they were in the past.

The Bad

You may have to change your header image, again. With the move of one’s headshot from the center to the left, your background image may not work anymore; especially true if there is relevant information in the lower left corner of the image.

One of LinkedIn’s problems in the past has been the ever-changing requirements to make the header image appear like everyone wants it to across the desktop and mobile versions. This problem hasn’t gone away with this new version. Basically, the way LinkedIn scales the image down for mobile can make it unusable. That’s why it’s always important to check both the desktop and mobile versions of your header image to make sure they’re up to snuff. My FRONTLINE Selling header image works in that “kinda, sorta” way, but only if you have your reading glasses on:

It’s difficult to make an effective LinkedIn header graphic for both the desktop and mobile. My recommendation is to design one primarily for your desktop audience, but make sure it’s not totally unusable in the mobile app.

The Somewhat Known

As you can see from the graphic immediately above, LinkedIn has moved external media up into the top box in its mobile app. That’s a great move for the reason mentioned above. What’s unknown is if any further changes are coming to the app versions. If they do come, I’ll be sure to highlight them in a future article to optimize your social selling.

If you haven’t taken a look at your LinkedIn profile lately, now is a good time to see how the changes have affected your online “home” in the professional world. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s newest features for the good of your (and your company’s) business.

Bob Woods is Manager of Social Selling at FRONTLINE Selling.