If you haven’t been on LinkedIn recently, you may have missed some of the subtle changes being made. Sometimes the reasons are obvious, and sometimes there just seem to be no reasons whatsoever… change for the sake of change…
I have a love/hate relationship with this social platform. I admit I am a LinkedIn addict. I think the overall concept is incredible… when implemented with purpose and positive intentions. That’s where the ‘love’ exists. Unfortunately, the ‘hate’ in this love/hate relationships stems from what seems to be a haphazard approach to implementing tools, then removing them because of a low volume of activity with these functions by the members. Or even worse – changing things just to change them with no clear purpose as to why. The problem is not that members do not find these functions helpful. The problem is that most members don’t know the capabilities even exist.
The biggest and most disruptive change for those of us that leveraged LinkedIn mini CRM system is the removal of the ‘Save Contacts’ feature. Just recently, I wrote a blog explaining how to leverage this effectively for prospecting and have taught many students how to utilize this function, then LinkedIn just took it away. Check out what you were able to do not so long ago in my blog, “If They Don’t Connect with Me on LinkedIn, How Do I Keep Track?” The removal of this feature was incredibly disappointing. Along with that, the “How You Met” feature also evaporated. According to LinkedIn, it was tied to the “Save Contacts” feature and they had no choice but to “throw the baby out with the bath water”.
Another disappointing change as far as I can tell is the removal of sorting functions in the ‘My Network’/ ‘Connected’ page. I’m not sure if this is being removed or if there is just yet another issue with my LinkedIn account, but stay tuned as I’m hoping that LinkedIn will provide an answer soon. Very recently, we were able to sort by filters such as location or company… making it much easier to navigate your connection list… gone.
Along with this change, it seems as though the ability to send a group/mass message from your ‘My Network’ / ‘Connected’ page has been removed as well… although to be quite honest, I’m not a fan of the spammy mass messages that have 50 people in the string all commenting, where the only person that knows the people in the string is the sender. There’s not enough time in the day for extra messages flooding your inbox.
It was useful to message a specific group of people that were all familiar with each other. A few examples would be sending a group message to a specific networking group notifying them of events, or sending a single message to everyone employed at a specific company in an effort to notify the group of important information or spark an internal dialogue. There is a right way… social etiquette should not change simply because you went from a face-to-face social networking situation to an on-line social networking situation.
Another small change that seems unnecessary, but at least makes some sense, is the change to the ‘My Network’ / ‘Connected’ tab’s reminders for anniversaries. We now have the option to make it a public message or a private message, where before the only capability was to comment publicly.
I understand that this gives folks more options in making a private congratulation vs the public congratulations… but couldn’t we just send them a message right from the inbox? Why waste time on functionality like this?
Sometimes it seems as though LinkedIn makes these changes for 1 of 2 reasons:
- Change for the sake of change.
- Change because members do not know about functionality
My interests are in being productive effectively without wasting time. Digital tools are meant to help us with these tasks. I’ll be the first to admit that LinkedIn absolutely changed and impacted the way I network, build relationships, and build trust within my network… or at the very least LinkedIn put those activities on steroids and directly impacted my sales and marketing efforts. I’m just not sure that their approach to determining what is effective and what is not effective is… well, effective in a positive manner. So here’s my solution, my letter to LinkedIn:
Let me start by saying thank you. Thank you for your ingenuity and creativity. Thank you for changing the way I do business. Thank you for impacting a new era of networking, sales, and marketing. Thank you for helping catapult professional social networking with your 413 million members. Sincerely, thank you.
But seriously… let’s do this better. You are better than this. And so are your members.
I am a believer in bringing issues to the surface, but also recommending solutions. While it’s necessary to change in order to become better, change for the sake of change is a general disruption to your members. It’s frustrating and has the opposite effect of your mission in implementing innovation for professional social networkers. It drives people away.
And change because members don’t know of capabilities… well, that is simply a breakdown in communication… or perhaps poor marketing… or lack of leadership.
Perhaps you could pilot a program of qualified LinkedIn trainers, mavens, and experts who you could vet new features to, and implement (or not) based on feedback from the folks that dive deep into LinkedIn every day. LinkedIn is a social platform meant for professional collaboration. Perhaps it’s time to start leveraging it for social collaboration that will help positively impact your members.
We have seen you run a number of pilots successfully nationwide… why not a pilot like this? You have the capabilities… why not use them? Even something as simple as a closed group where you provide the information to a select group of social experts, let them test the features, and report on the positives and negatives. Part of participation could be a requirement to write about the new features in their content, and on Publisher. This will allow you to get the word out to many networks and professionals via their “go-to” LinkedIn experts.
This would directly impact your bottom line, LinkedIn. There could be less time and money used to implement features, and then take them away. Less time and money invested in responses to the help center. Less time and money getting the word out – not to mention a more effective way to inform your members of your capabilities.
Yes, LinkedIn. Let’s do this better.
Chief Social Selling Officer
All About Leverage, LLC
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. What features did you love that are now gone? What changes have been made that don’t seem to make sense? What changes have been made that you have fallen in love with? What do you think about a potential pilot?
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Network with purpose.