There’s been a slow drip feed of information since August when LinkedIn announced that they would be making big changes to the interface and it has subsequently turned out, some equally large changes to aspects of the functioning of the site.
I say probably because even those with the beta version of this new interface have been experiencing a developing system with multiple changes since it arrived some 4 weeks ago, and no doubt will continue to do so as the process develops.
What we can be sure of is that we do need to be prepared and to make sure that we have our data secured so that we are prepared for whatever awaits.
These are 6 actions, I would therefore encourage you to take:
1) Back up your Profile
The format of the profile (and certain content elements of it too) is changing with the new interface so it’s a good time to make a back up to make sure that you retain all of the information that you have put in there.
In any case, I’m a great advocate of keeping back ups of your work whatever system you are working on – I’ve been caught out all too often in the past! – and LinkedIn is no different. Therefore, at regular intervals, I would encourage you to back up your LinkedIn profile – firstly, there’s a security element in play here but, just as importantly, I feel that your profile is a “movable feast” which needs to reflect what your tactical & strategic business focus is. Keeping a regular update means that you can make short-term changes when needed and then go back to previous versions that are more relevant where appropriate.
In practical terms, using a “Cut and paste” process from your Profile page does work but is a touch long winded – alternatively, as I do, you could use the “Save to pdf” option that sits in the drop down menu next to the “View Your Profile” button. That does not replicate the page in exactly the display format but will give you a text based copy with all relevant sections for your records.
2) Make a back up of all your LinkedIn activities
LinkedIn introduced two additional features in September 2014 aimed at helping with our security and controlled usage of LinkedIn. The first of these allows us to request and retain a full list of all of our updates and activities on LinkedIn.
This will come to you in two chunks: the first containing the archived information that LinkedIn holds for you including your messages, connections, and imported contacts. About a day later, they’ll send another email with a link where you can download the second part of your archive and this includes your activity and account history, from who invited you to join to the last time you logged in.
There’s lots that you can do with the information that you receive which includes all your activity and account history, from who invited you to join, to the time of your latest login – you can request it from LinkedIn on this “data export” page.
3) Make a backup list of your connections
Likewise, you have the ability to make a copy of your connections (in spreadsheet format) which again I would strongly encourage. This should be included in the full download that I mentioned in point 2 , but it’s worth doing the instant download while it is still available as this is one of the aspects that appears to be absent when it comes to the new interface.
While there’s the practical rationale for backing up your connections, it will also give you the opportunity to evaluate offline if there are people that you should be in contact with more regularly and even categorise them – sometimes working in a spreadsheet is simply quicker and easier.
You can download a list of your connections via the “Connections” section of the site – you can find a quick link to the page here – you get 5 key fields including name, email address, company and job title so it’s well worth it … just don’t do anything “naughty” with the email addresses, please!
4) Download your tags
If you have requested the back up outlined in point 1) then you have already done the functional piece of this. LinkedIn has announced that it will be discontinuing the “Relationship” area of your profile where you were able to leave notes about the person in question and also tag them, essentially creating mini folders allowing you to subdivide your connections. (Full announcement can be found in the Help Centre here)
Rather than fully discontinuing them, they are being moved to 2 of the high level premium accounts Sales Navigator and Recruiter Lite (hhhmmmm) – if you do decide that upgrading is an option then you will be able to import your tags into this new part of the system. You can find details on how to do that here)
5) Save your search parametres
Another part of the system which looks to be making a move to the higher level paid accounts is the wonderful “Saved Search” feature – if you have been building up the boolean strings that create some very specific search results (as we discussed in the LinkedIn for Business training) then this would be the moment to save those strings outside of the system.
Again, no fancy way to achieve this, so it’s a case of running the Saved Search manually and then copy and pasting the string from the left hand filters. If you have built one though which, for example, shows all variations of Sales Director or Health and Safety Manager etc then it is well worth saving all your hard work before it disappears.
6) Take a copy of your Company Page
Finally, the Company Page is another element that is getting a makeover – if you are an admin of your Company Page then you may have noticed that you have had access to it or the last few weeks. In reality, nothing here looks to have been taken away but I still think that it warrants taking a copy of the key parts just in case. There’s no tool to help here I’ m afraid so it’s just a case of taking a screen grab and a couple of “cut and pastes”.
Lots of changes coming and we’ll be looking at these in more depth here on the blog but also in next year’s course and on the LinkedIn Essentials Tour which I will be running in Q1 next year – you can find more information on that on the LinkedIn Essentials Tour website.