LinkedIn changes are coming!

Benjamin Franklin is thought to have expressed the famous quote, “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I would suggest that if Ben Franklin were around in the fast-moving world of today he might add “change” as a third certainty.

One area where we’re about to experience change is with the LinkedIn platform. As always, this type of change may be welcomed and embraced by some financial advisors, while others may debate and reject it, seeing it as another reason not to use LinkedIn as part of their business development strategy. Don’t fall into the latter camp.

As the premier business prospecting and networking tool, quickly approaching 500 million users, LinkedIn has become too big for financial advisors to ignore. So, before you decide to abandon the platform, let me outline the pending LinkedIn changes, comment on how they may affect you, and provide some insight into what the changes may mean for your prospecting efforts — and you may very well see a great deal of potential value for your practice.

The first thing you’ll notice about the updated platform — likely to be rolled out in March 2017 for most users — is the similarity between the desktop and mobile versions.

Why would LinkedIn want to do this?

In Mary Meeker’s 2016 update of “KPCB Mobile Technology Trends,” she reported that, in the United States, time spent accessing digital media on mobile is now significantly higher than on desktops, at 51% versus 42%. A whopping 75.1% of U.S. Internet users access the Internet via mobile, according to in its “Internet Stats and Facts for 2016” infographic.

With mobile users accounting for 58% of LinkedIn’s traffic, as reported by DMR in its October 2016 LinkedIn Mobile Statistics report, it seems only fitting that LinkedIn would look to unify the look and feel across platforms. Take a look at your LinkedIn mobile app and note the substantive changes in appearance and functionality that have occurred over the past year. They may surprise you!

What you’ll find is a LinkedIn app that’s more visually appealing and streamlined, making it easier for you to quickly update your status, message contacts, and respond to client or prospect inquiries anytime and anywhere, with a user interface that is notably more intuitive than before.

Why is this important?

The ease-of-use of the LinkedIn app can provide a critical advantage. Consider the following stats from*:

  • 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first.
  • If you follow up with web leads within five minutes, you are nine times more likely to convert them.

What changes can I expect?

LinkedIn is converting users to the new LinkedIn user experience (UX) daily. This is providing insights into what features might be eliminated and which might be added or enhanced. One thing seems certain: While there will still be a basic version of LinkedIn, it will not have the robust functionality you’ve come to enjoy. Or I should say, the functionality will still be available, but not in the free, basic version.

Here’s what we’ve learned about the changes thus far:

  • 1Say goodbye to “Advanced Search.” The “Advanced Search” button is gone, as is the “Search” dropdown menu that provided you with the ability to refine your searches. Basic LinkedIn will still have a search function, but with limited functionality.
  • 2No more “Saved Searches.” If you had saved searches, which you mined for opportunity and updated weekly, that function is gone.

  • 3The “Relationship” section — or “poor man’s CRM” as I called it — is no longer. This is the function that automatically archived every LinkedIn message you had with one of your connections and allowed you to “tag” contacts for organizational purposes.

  • 4The “Notes” and “Tags” features are also discontinued. In the basic package, you will no longer be able to keep “notes” on your prospects or clients or “tag” your connections into groups to make your searches a bit more efficient.

  • 5 The ability to research your “Connections’ Connections” is gone. This was an easy way for you to identify your connections’ connections who may be of interest to you and ask for an introduction.

Will the changes stop there?

The short answer is: probably not. LinkedIn will continue to upgrade its product and likely introduce a new paid version of its platform.

Do you have to upgrade? No, as the basic plan will provide you the ability to target buyers through search, identify more people through the “also viewed” feature, receive notifications when someone connects with you, and leverage company pages to drill down and identify people you may know there.

Upgrading or not

If you’re currently leveraging the features that will be eliminated from the basic plan, you may want to upgrade. But before you take the plunge, remember you can test drive LinkedIn Sales Navigator for 30 days before they charge your credit card. You can also purchase LinkedIn on a month-to-month basis and cancel your subscription at any time.

If you would like to discuss any of these changes with me please contact your Delaware FundsSM regional director and they will arrange for a telephone call or in-person meeting.

*Source: Inside Sales: Lead Response Infographic, 2012.

All third-party marks cited are property of their respective owners.

Investment professionals should consult their compliance departments before accessing any social media network for a business purpose.

This content is for informational use only and is not an endorsement of any app, service, or publicly traded company.

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