LinkedIn just got a lot more like Facebook. Shocking, isn’t it? This week LinkedIn announced two new ways for premium members’ profiles to stand out by adding additional room at the top of the page for a cover image and enlarging the profile image. Twitter did the same thing last month when they rolled out profile page changes. Apparently, every socnet wants to feel like Facebook.
This feature is only available if you have a premium account, and of course, that’s probably part of LinkedIn’s strategy here – to entice more users to upgrade to premium accounts. Doesn’t that only make sense? And seriously, if you’re in sales, biz dev, recruiting, events – or a wide variety of fields, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t spend $20 a month to have a premium account and work to leverage the biggest business social network as effectively as possible.
If you don’t want to spend money on a premium account, just be patient. LinkedIn plans on rolling out the new profile enhancements to everyone in awhile – and you can get early access by signing up on their waitlist.
The Benefits of Going Premium – It’s All About Being Found
But for those of you who don’t want to spend some money on a premium account, make sure you think this through. This early access to fancy cover photos is nothing. In the near future, premium members (and their profiles) will appear twice as large in search results as basic profiles. Hello, marketing yourself on the biggest business social network.
Another cool thing about the new features is that LinkedIn will help premium subscribers by prompting them with personalized keyword suggestions that are more search-friendly when setting up their accounts. If it’s been awhile since you’ve taken a look at your LinkedIn profile and updated it, there’s no time like the present to consider a refresh.
Lowering the Barriers
In a big move and one that makes the platform a lot more like Twitter, LinkedIn is lowering the gates and making it possible for users to have an “open” profile. If you decide to leave your profile open, this means that people no longer have to connect with you in order to see your profile and/or even ask you to connect — they can view your whole profile if they choose. I’m not sure how I feel about that, and I’m pretty comfortable with no barriers. But I think of all the recruiters (no offense, recruiters) who want to connect with me simply so that the can see my connections and/or the vast numbers of spammers that I get reaching out for “business relationships” on a regular basis and I kind of like the gates LinkedIn allows me to erect around my profile. What do you think about this?
Tracking Profile Views: The Crack Cocaine of LinkedIn
We all know the number one reason that people visit LinkedIn is to see who’s been checking them out. It’s truly the crack cocaine of LinkedIn. Go ahead, tell me you don’t do it on a regular basis – admit it, we all do! Well now, for Premium users, tracking profile views is easier as well. Premium users will be able to access a list of users that have viewed their profile over the last 90 days. I really don’t use this feature all this much – do you? By that, I mean that I absolutely look at who’s looked at my profile, but I never do anything about it. I don’t reach out and connect with them or ask them why they were looking – that seems a little stalkerish to me. I figure if someone wants to connect with me, they’ll send me a request. And generally, I’ll accept. How do you operate when it comes to this?
Spotlight: A New Entry Level Membership Tier Rolls Out
All the features mentioned above are also available to members who sign up using the new pricing tier rolled out by LinkedIn this week. LinkedIn Premium runs $23.99 a month and $47.99 per month for the business and business plus membership tiers respectively, and the new entry-level Spotlight membership tier costs just $7.99 a month.
The objectives here are clear. Adding features to the premium membership and offering a super low-priced option is absolutely designed to induce users who have heretofore eschewed a premium profile to fork over a little dough and join the party. I’m sure there are reduced benefits at this $7.99 level (otherwise all existing Premium members would downgrade), but it’s a great way to test the waters as to whether a lower price entices more users to give Premium profiles a test drive. This is a lot like Yellow Page advertising of old – you paid for larger ads, bolded ads, color in ads, etc., in an effort to stand out. I’m not sure why anyone serious about using LinkedIn as a business development and/or a recruiting tools (and I’m not just talking about HR pros here) wouldn’t at least give the lowest tier of Premium profiles a shot, if for no other reason than to test it out. Talk about a way to get a competitive advantage over your many colleagues who haven’t yet figured out the value of LinkedIn, especially in the B2B space.
Do you have a Premium account? If you don’t, might this induce you to check them out? What are your thoughts, you know I want to know.
UPDATE: For those who want to take advantage of the spotlight account. You need to follow these steps:
a. Click home on your LinkedIn account page.
b. On the right side of your side bar where you see “who viewed my profile”. Scroll down and click on “Unlock The Full List with LinkedIn Premium” This will take you to the different plans including the Spotlight plan.
Official LinkedIn Blog : Stand Out with the New LinkedIn Premium Experience http://buff.ly/1mfTqxc
Marketing Land: Soon Your LinkedIn Profile Will Look More Like Your Facebook Page http://buff.ly/1mfTAoj
VIDEO: Unlocking LinkedIn’s HIDDEN Premium Discount Plan – http://buff.ly/1q4NcXH