The screams of frustration you’ve been hearing around the office are LinkedIn marketers trying to figure out where all the tools they needed have gone in the new LinkedIn layout. There are a lot of changes impacting the mobile and desktop version, but the most important is the ability — or lack thereof — to tag and export connections plus manage your relationships.
In this post, we’ll look at the few quick steps it takes to export your connections, if your blog is better than a LinkedIn post, and some important new changes, plus discuss the one dreaded change that will make LinkedIn life more of a pain.
1. Exporting Your Connections in the New Layout
First and foremost, the easy option to export your LinkedIn Connections is gone in the new layout. That means you’ll have to request an archive of your data from LinkedIn to get your connections’ information.
Click on this link here to open up the request (under your privacy settings): https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/member-data
Request the “Fast file plus other data” to make sure you’re getting all of the information about your account. The fast file will arrive in about 10 minutes and will have all of your basic account details as well as the information from your connections.
Within a day, you’ll get another set of documents that includes account activity and history, which can be helpful to see if you’re targeting people based on an existing relationship.
It isn’t immediate, which stinks, but it is fairly fast and shouldn’t harm your overall marketing efforts.
Because of this change, we recommend that you start getting the fast file once a week.
Immediate Action If You Have the OLD Layout
If you’re lucky enough to still have the old LinkedIn layout, here’s what you need to do right this minute.
Seriously, open up another tab and put it side-by-side on your screen so you can follow these steps to get your connections list. Do it right now before the easy option goes away:
- Hover your mouse over “My Network” on the top bar.
- Click “Connections”
- Click the cog wheel that is at the right-hand side of your Connections header – this is the one that says how many connections you have.
- Under Advanced Settings on the new screen, click “Export LinkedIn Connections.”
- Select your file format — we recommend “MS Outlook (.CSV file)”.
- Export it to your computer.
- Shout for joy at least once because you could get it before it was gone.
For those of you with the older layout, it’s a good idea to export this information regularly as well. LinkedIn maintains the way it sorts your contacts, so you can check for additions at the bottom of the exported file, making it easier to know who to add to your large database.
2. Two New Helpers
One thing to note that can help with some of this management is that you can now turn on read receipts for your messages. That way you can tell if someone isn’t using LinkedIn or is simply avoiding you. It’s worth doing right now just to increase your overall effectiveness on the network.
You also have a messaging platform that’s gotten a bit smarter, so you can use its chatbot feature to set up meeting times with Google Calendar, which can be especially important.
3. Where’d My Search Go?
Advanced Search is probably the feature we use the most because it helps us find the right person, right when we need them. It used to perch nicely at the top of our screen, just a click away. Unfortunately, your Advanced options are now a bit buried.
Instead of going right the Advanced option, you need to click the magnifying glass, which will take you to a separate search page. The core sorting and searching options still remain and it actually seems a bit more robust for diving deeper into the particulars of a specific person, position or company.
But the one thing we’ve noticed that’s gone is the ability to sort by posts.
With Pulse getting hidden behind the scenes for many, you also can’t search by post topics and see what’s trending within your network.
The Pulse Discover page appears to still be active (but may not stay that way) and will show you who and which topics to follow, plus access all of LinkedIn’s core content channels. Without no current buttons or links directing you to it specifically, we believe this page may soon be removed or replaced with something that goes in line with LinkedIn’s posting changes.
4. LinkedIn Articles or Back to Blogs?
Many were hoping that LinkedIn could be a new blogging site perfect for their company and their time, but the update may have burst that bubble.
In the new update, there are no longer URLs for your specific activity, such as posts or shares. We used to be able to grab URLs of past posts on the LinkedIn Newsfeed to help for smarter tracking, but now they’ve removed the option to save posts for later viewing and you can only see a handful of your most recent posts.
LinkedIn Posts have been rebranded as Articles and they are no longer shared with your entire set of connections, so notifications aren’t being sent out. Your Articles will still go through your Newsfeed, but it’ll take some extra legwork to get it to your connections.
A blogging strategy is a smart part of any LinkedIn marketing tool, so it might be best to create content on your company blog and then share it in LinkedIn as a post. If you have an executive who is building up their influence on LinkedIn, you can also try having them post your next blog as an Article and then link to your company’s page to help drive a little traffic.
5. Saving Your Profile by Request
LinkedIn has removed the simple option for you to save your profile as a PDF, which was helpful for many executives during LinkedIn marketing. It gave a clear snapshot of who you are and made it simple to compare campaign notes across a wide range of profiles – PDFs are a bit easier to look through than switching back between web pages.
Plus, if you found a profile you really liked, then you could save a copy of it and model your efforts based on what they were doing right.
Now that there’s no PDF drop-down option, you have two methods you can use:
- Request an archive of your data, like in the above section, and you’ll get a copy of your profile.
- Save a copy of the page itself, either by right-clicking on it and selecting your browser’s save page option or taking a screenshot and saving the image.
They’re not the best options, but they will get the job done.
6. Quickly See Your Connections
There’s always been the push to get above the 500 connections hump of LinkedIn, but after that many users didn’t realize there were ways to see exactly how many connections they had beyond the “500+” marker on their profile.
The new LinkedIn makes it simple by going to My Network and then looking at the top-left, where you can see a specific number for your connections. There is also a search and sort function on the page that gives some tools you’ll enjoy. We especially like sorting by who was recently added to your connections list.
7. Option Lost: Tagging Connections
In older LinkedIn versions, you could tag your connections to help keep them sorted, such as clients and colleagues or why you wanted to follow an influencer. It was a simple way to keep yourself organized and manage a personal LinkedIn database. We found it to be a very successful helper for marketing to connections and avoiding becoming spammy.
Tagging someone with a campaign name helped prevent sending message on top of message.
Unfortunately, now that’s been removed for work within LinkedIn. Rumors point to marketers who got exceptionally spammy with the tagging as a chief culprit, because removing the function makes it more difficult to track and target people.
The one thing that you’ll have to do if you want to keep managing your connections is incorporate a CRM (customer relationship management software) with LinkedIn. Request your LinkedIn data and then incorporate it into your CRM’s database, and do this regularly to make sure you keep on top of people’s current employer and position.
If you have a particularly important set of relationships on LinkedIn, it’s also a good idea to create calendar reminders once or twice a month to reach out.
8. Absence of the Organization and Membership Section
LinkedIn has removed the Memberships and Organizations section completely, which makes it more difficult to share your credentials or see possible points of commonality with your connections.
The best way to get around this is to put your existing memberships either in your summary or your Certification sections. The more people who do this, the more likely it will catch on and your prospects will adopt the practice too.
9. URLs are Less Available
Proper metrics depend on URLs for their tracking and LinkedIn is removing some of these options that you may be using.
We no longer can get a URL that links us to past posts from your LinkedIn Newsfeed, making research a bit tougher and making it harder for you to come back to a post or update that you wanted to read and respond to later.
The interface has changed so that you can only see recent posts, with the save function completely removed. What you’ll need to do is save it to your computer to read later. This means some of the long tail for social sharing is going to go away and it’s likely better to post things on a company blog and then share that on LinkedIn when you want to provide your own take.
10. Seeing “See More” A Lot More
Longer LinkedIn profiles are having more and more information hidden behind “See more” tags, which is making it take a lot longer to read profiles.
For marketing, this means clicking a lot more often to learn more about prospects and connections. For the people you’re trying to reach, it means they are looking at a lot less of your profile when trying to figure out who you are and if you’re an expert.
Focus on creating a scannable profile so that someone can get your highlights quickly. Your summary is a great place to focus on recent wins and big accomplishments because it’ll naturally display more than you past experience or other sections.
These are just a few of the things to keep in mind with how LinkedIn’s current changes will shift your marketing efforts. They aren’t big now, but we know a new LinkedIn header and taskbar are on their way, so stay tuned for further help. Or, if you’d like our LinkedIn experts to help you with your social outreach, contact us right now at [email protected]