Over the past year Linkedin has made a number of changes to what information they showcase on both personal bio and company pages. The underlying intent of the redesign seems focused on two things: 1) increasing user engagement and 2) making the pages more visual and less text-heavy. Here is a brief recap of the most relevant changes for lawyers:
Personal Bio Pages
Skills + Endorsements
Skills and endorsements are the most notable new feature in the redesigned bio pages. Linkedin now asks you to list a handful of skills or areas of expertise. Others can then “endorse” you for those particular skills with one click when they are on your profile. The thumbnail images of people that endorse you then appear beside that particular skill in your listing.
Linkedin has long had the ability for people to provide recommendations – essentially longer-form testimonials – that then appear on your profile. That functionality remains intact but is now buried deeper down the page. That older recommendation format required actual work on the part of the provider in terms of drafting unique content about you from scratch. Conversely, the new skills + endorsements feature lets you list your key skills and then have others “endorse” you with a single-click. Indeed, a recent Forbes article describes endorsements as “the Stove Top Stuffings version of recommendations.” There are mixed reactions to the new feature, but endorsements are gaining traction quickly, in part because they are quick and easy, and in part because Linkedin is proactively throwing a giant blue box at you suggesting short lists of people in your network when you log in or when you view the bio of one of your connections, and asking if you’d like to endorse them. (Sample screen capture below)
Be sure the skills listed in this skills & expertise section of your bio are the ones that you actually want to be known for (there are some reports of Linkedin auto-generating skills based on your bio if you haven’t specifically added them yourself), and also be careful to add them in the order of their importance to you, as that will be the order they are initially displayed. Once people start endorsing you, the skills for which you receive the most endorsements will be displayed first.
While Linkedin was originally built around individual bios, company pages are a logical growth area for the platform, given its business-oriented focus. While company pages have been around for a while now, the original default page structure for the main company page was extremely static, and there was very little ability to customize the look or feel of the page compared with other social media platforms.
The company page redesign now puts huge emphasis on two elements, to the exclusion of almost everything else: a large banner image area at the top of the page, and the status update box. The good news is that adding content for those two simple pieces will quickly give your firm a credible firm presence on Linkedin. Fasken Martineau’s page is a good example of the right way to do it, and so I’ve included it here – one strong image and one leading story.
The bad news is that if you have a firm page and don’t include these two elements, your firm page now looks terrible, as the default formatting for the main area of the page includes only that little “About” text block at the bottom, and a giant sidebar runs down the right hand side of the page. Perform a quick search within Linkedin on a handful of firms you know and you will see that most Canadian firms haven’t yet adapted to the new formatting requirements.
Linkedin’s own blog says that the benefits of the update are that big image, an improved navigation format, and improvements to the update stream to make it more relevant, while simplifying the experience across the various Linkedin products. I would also add that they have now added company pages to their various mobile apps, meaning that company pages will now be more prominent when users are accessing Linkedin on iPads or other mobile devices. One more reason to get your firm’s page back up to date.