5 key changes to LinkedIn apps

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I realise that last Friday saw the ‘official’ end of LinkedIn Week here at FreshNetworks,  culminating in the launch of our new report about the growth, current use and future direction of LinkedIn.

However LinkedIn has just launched new upgrades to its app portfolio which promise to address the issue of bugs, as well as introducing a new range of features.

Key updates include:

1. Introduction of a news stream

More aligned with other popular social networks, LinkedIn has now introduced a news stream to their app.

At the top of the app you can access information from LinkedIn Today, which contains news sources that users swipe to view or select particular categories. Below the LinkedIn Today strip is the stream of updates, job changes and other information about your LinkedIn contacts.

2. Easy to scan profiles

Say you’re about to head to a business meeting and you need some information about the person you’re meeting. Or you’re at an event and have just met someone you should remember but can’t quite place where you would’ve met them before in your professional life.

The new LinkedIn app allows you to do a a quick scan of people’s profiles, as well as connect with them during or after the meeting. You can also check the latest updates from that person  quickly and easily.

3. Easier screen navigation

The new apps have a main navigation screen that is clear and easy to navigate. It’s also easy on the eye - something not previously the case with LinkedIn apps.

The new app has detailed and intricate icons, including a “name badge” for your individual LinkedIn profile and a mail envelope for your LinkedIn messages. There’s also an icon for sending and receiving messages in LinkedIn Groups.

4. HTML5 mobile version

LinkedIn has also launched a mobile HTML5 version of its service. The mobile site is designed for people who don’t have the mobile app, or for people who get LinkedIn emails, such as the weekly “network updates”. Previously, when people received these emails on a mobile phone and clicked on a person with a new job, they would go to the full website, which is difficult to read. Now people will get sent to an easy-to-read mobile version of the site. Because it uses HTML5, it has app-like features such as swiping through pages too.

5. CardMunch

Ok, so this is not quite a key change as yet, but as mentioned by Forbes, LinkedIn also recently bought CardMunch, an application for quickly scanning business cards and converting them to contacts on your phone. Nothing has been rolled out just yet but it’s pretty likely that LinkedIn are working on something that could add even more value to LinkedIn apps.

By rolling out  new iPhone, Android and HTML5 apps, LinkedIn are clearly trying to encourage members to think of the platform as more ‘everyday service’ for professionals to access on the go at the touch of a button, rather than just a tool for recruiters and job seekers.

Report download - The growth, current use and future direction of LinkedIn

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Today sees an end to our focus on LinkedIn and the launch of our new report about the growth, current use and future direction of LinkedIn.

You can DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF OUR REPORT HERE.

Our report looks at:

  • How LinkedIn has grown to become the world’s biggest professional online network.
  • Our predictions for the future growth of LinkedIn.
  • How brands and businesses should use LinkedIn.
  • The top 10 companies on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn’s tops tips getting started.
  • The future direction of LinkedIn.
  • An Interview with Ngaire Moyes, Director of Communications EMEA, LinkedIn.

It would be great to hear any comments or thoughts you have about the report, as well as how you’re currently using LinkedIn as part of your own personal or company’s social media strategy.

4 ways brands and businesses can use LinkedIn

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Last year, Guy Kawasaki,  wrote a guest post for the LinkedIn Blog about how small businesses can use LinkedIn.

In his post, Kawasaki advised companies to be transparent in order to attract both prospective clients and employees.

While the post focuses on small businesses, some of the points he raises can be applied to businesses of all sizes.

Here are some of our own thoughts, as well as some of Kawasaki’s own words of wisdom, on some of the ways that brands and businesses can use LinkedIn.

1.    Win new business by answering questions in your area of expertise

Currently 17.8 million LinkedIn users are members of groups and 1.2 million post comments to groups every week.

If employees are demonstrating expertise and providing sound advice within the conversations relevant to their industry, then others will want to find out who they work for, thereby increasing a company’s reputation.

2.    Convince potential customers about your expertise by sharing content

The profile of your company will increase by having a presence in groups on LinkedIn and by sharing knowledge through these groups.

It’s important to think of these people as prospective customers or employees and try to captivate them as much as possible with your content, and then try to convert where possible.

Content can range from adding comments and joining in discussions in relevant groups on LinkedIn, to posting your company’s blog and twitter feeds to your own profile, as well as that of your employees, in order to help people learn more about your brand and business.

If you have resource you could even set up your own group on LinkedIn.

Either way, make sure you only post relevant, timely information that relates to the audience in order to avoid clutter or annoying people with irrelevant content.

3.    Acquire new customers through online recommendations and word of mouth

Nielsen’s Global Online Consumer Survey , which sampled 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 different countries, demonstrates the value of word of mouth, with 90% of respondents trusting recommendations of people they know.

Having a company presence on LinkedIn increases word-of-mouth about your brand.  Plus, getting recommended by a connection on LinkedIn will help to validate your business credentials.

4.    Cut recruitment costs

LinkedIn is a great platform to showcase professional qualifications and experience, and as such it can help businesses save money on recruitment. HR and internal recruiters can view information about potential candidates, as well as contact them, without having to use expensive agencies to provide names and contacts. A leading software provider managed to cut its recruitment budget by 50% significantly thanks to using LinkedIn for recruitment purposes.

The top 10 companies on LinkedIn

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Having already charted how LinkedIn has grown over the last eight years, as well as comparing the growth of LinkedIn to Facebook,  it’s time to take a look at the top 10 companies on LinkedIn.

Users on LinkedIn can be linked to a company in one of two ways; by being an employee or by following the company. The top 10 followed companies on LinkedIn are  IBM, HP, Accenture, Microsoft, Oracle, Deloitte, PwC, Cisco, Apple, Google.

When looking at theses top ten companies on LinkedIn in more detail it becomes clear that there is a leader in both the number of followers and the number of employees on LinkedIn:

The chart shows there’s a clear trend between the size of the company (based on the number of employees on the platform) and the number of followers it has.

On average, each company has almost 2.5 followers for each employee on the site.

However, there are a couple of ‘top performers’ - Apple has six followers to every employee while Google has eight. Perhaps this is not suprising given the ‘aspirational’ nature of both these brands from a professional and personal perspective.

LinkedIn v Facebook: growth statistics and trends

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Having already looked at how LinkedIn has grown over the last eight years,  we thought it would be interesting to look at the growth of LinkedIn in comparison to another online networking giant - Facebook - as well as in relation to Internet use in the more general sense.

Whilst LinkedIn’s growth has been continuous, the rate at which this growth is occurring has been in decline since 2007. This trend is in fact similar to both that of Facebook and also the Internet:

LinkedIn’s decrease in growth is not unexpected as saturation points are often seen within original/initial launch markets. In fact, when comparing the decline in growth across the three areas, LinkedIn’s user decrease correlates to that of the Internet, whereas Facebook has seen a rather more rapid decline.

What is interesting, though, is if you track growth for the first quarter this year and compare it to the previous two years growth, as this indicates that there will be a return to growth, not only for LinkedIn but also for both Internet use and Facebook too.

This is a bold prediction, specifically when news reports in June this year suggested that in developed markets, such as the USA, UK, Canada and Russia, there has been a loss in users month-on-month for Facebook.

So where will these new users come from? Eric Eldon, editor of Inside Network, which includes Inside Facebook was quoted in The Guardian saying that:

“…by the time Facebook reaches around 50% of the total population in a given country (plus or minus, depending on internet access rates in that country), growth generally slows to a halt … So far, Facebook has been able to make up stalls and losses with big gains in heavily populated developing countries like Mexico, Brazil, India and Indonesia.”

Eldon’s words actually apply to LinkedIn too and recent figures on LinkedIn’s own blog highlighted Brazil, Mexico and India as markets with the fastest growth rates.

Indeed, overall, global memberships - free and paid for – on LinkedIn grew to 115.8 million in second quarter of this year, up 61% on 2010. By contrast, Facebook, which is also said to be mooting an IPO, has more than 750 million members.

Our next post, as part of our LinkedIn Week series, will look at the top 10 companies on LinkedIn.