Jonny Ross
Jonny Ross

LinkedIn changes include new pricing policy: but will businesses now have to pay?

LinkedIn rolled out some important changes to the world’s biggest professional social media platform last month. The changes will affect all businesses and professionals who are actively using the platform, especially those who utilise its powerful search functionality. Is your business ready for the changes and do you know and understand how to adapt your usage in response?

One major change is around LinkedIn pricing plans. The old flat rate £40 fee has been replaced with a new range of packages starting from a more accessible £19.99. But savvy users can still undertake key LinkedIn activities with a free account.

LinkedIn has introduced a cap on the number of monthly searches that can be done for free, presumably to incentivise paid sign-ups. The cap resets on the 1st of each month. But by logging out of LinkedIn and searching for profiles through Google instead, more detailed information is visible than from within LinkedIn itself for people outside of the searcher’s network. For example, a search for all HR Managers in Leeds can be carried out by typing the phrase into Google: “hr manager” leeds site:https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/ - This search tells Google to find all LinkedIn profiles that have the phrase “HR Manager” and Leeds in their description.

LinkedIn also restricts Inmails to people within a user’s own network. But a direct message to an unknown contact is essentially a cold call, and there are other ways to make a warm and therefore more effective approach, such as connecting via a mutual contact or through a mutual interest group. Both of these are more likely to result in a stronger long-term relationship.

Company pages have had a revamp, too. Until recently, company pages appeared as a rollover image pop-up box when viewed through individual profile pages. LinkedIn has now redesigned this “pop up” to include a ‘follow’ button and banner image. Descriptions have also been shortened from 200 characters to around 85, so concise, well structured content is now vital: brevity is key. The full 200 characters will still appear on the full company page.

Another welcome change is that published posts will now be highlighted in individual search results. This means that the creation and publication of high quality content such as blogs and news articles is more important now than ever before for professionals who want to position themselves as experts in their field.

So in summary, most professionals can utilise LinkedIn effectively without having to pay. And those who invest time into developing an effective content strategy will reap the most rewards.

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