The New LinkedIn: Four Things You Might Not Know
Over the past 18 months, LinkedIn has made a number of changes to its social media platform, adding features it hopes will create a more user-friendly, engaging, content-rich environment. Some of the changes that associations can benefit from the most and should direct resources to are listed below.

1. More Dynamic Company Pages

Many associations rely on LinkedIn groups to facilitate discussions among members, but they frequently overlook the use of company pages.

LinkedIn changed the design of Company Pages in late 2012 and has been releasing enhancements ever since. The new company page design now allows organizations to visually brand themselves with cover images and a better layout. Updates can be targeted to specific audiences and products and services are featured much more prominently.

The new Company Page offers a better calling card for prospects and a terrific branding opportunity for associations. If you have not taken advantage of this new LinkedIn Company Page, now is the time to do it.

Finally, LinkedIn recently launched Showcase Pages, which allow companies to highlight and build community around a specific aspect or area of their business. For example, Microsoft has a Showcase Page that specifically covers its Office software.

2. Group Makeover

LinkedIn Groups have long been a favorite of associations, since they can be private or public and the discussion format can add authority to an organization’s place within its industry and add value to membership. LinkedIn made enhancements to its Groups format in late 2013.

As with Company Pages, the new look is more visual and allows the use of “hero” images (header art that can be used to promote upcoming events or membership benefits). Group managers can also highlight popular discussions using the new “Manager’s Choice Discussions” feature. Additional management features make it easier for managers to move inappropriate content to the jobs or promotions tabs and keep the discussion tab “clean.” New Group features for users also include easier search and share functionality.

3. New Advertising Opportunities

In the increasingly crowded social media space, it is important for associations to allocate advertising dollars to help extend reach and engagement. New advertising opportunities have accompanied the changes to LinkedIn’s interface, including sponsored updates, which enable organizations to deliver content to the homepage feed of LinkedIn members who are not following them. Associations can leverage this new ad feature to reach prospective members, as well as potential new event attendees.

4. LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace

Qualifying nonprofit organizations can use the new LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace to advertise their needs, including board positions, skilled volunteers and staff talent. Listings are offered at a substantial discount to registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Additionally, organizations can encourage members or volunteers to list their affiliation in the Volunteer and Causes section of their profile and draw more exposure to the organization across their professional network.
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