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The 3 Best Ways to Manage Change on LinkedIn

By: JD Gershbein

 

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LinkedIn is by no means a static social networking site. It changes, seemingly on the hour, presenting users with new challenges in navigation, negotiation and real world application. Social business moves a light-year per second. Keeping up with LinkedIn as it continues to innovate around its platform—especially when the habit of doing something a certain way is ingrained—can be too rigorous a coping exercise for some. So, too, is the responsibility of managing an existing Linkedin network that has expanded over time. The key is to accept the fact that change is a constant and, like anything else in business and life, make the necessary adjustments, and keep moving forward.

When LinkedIn rolled out its Endorsements feature in October 2012, it was met with universal confusion. This option just materialized out of thin air, without fanfare, begging for an explanation. Some took to it right away; others to this day have yet to wrap any rationale around its utility. But we rolled with the change. Your guess as to the future of this feature is as good as mine. What it does, though, is condition us for the changes that will follow and, sure as the day is long, they will. We, as user-consumers, can choose to either dally with them or not.
So what can you do to meet the requirements of change on LinkedIn and capitalize on a site that is trending toward more humanization, community building and engagement?
1. Redefine your Rules of Engagement
If you have been on LinkedIn for a while, you have undoubtedly set your own personal boundaries for social networking. If you are active on the site, and work it on a daily basis, then you have surely picked up on the mores of LinkedIn culture. Perhaps you have mellowed in your acceptance of LinkedIn conventions, and are more receptive to the approaches of others. Or, have you tightened your controls and become more selective as to what you do on the site and who you take into your professional network? The time is ripe for you to reevaluate how you engage on LinkedIn, establish context for the relationships that you have forged thus far, and become a more judicious and proactive connector.
2. Keep your LinkedIn Profile Current
The ever-increasing importance of the LinkedIn profile as the primary access point for business professionals warrants its ongoing micromanagement. The beauty of the document resides in its flexibility and elasticity. Some of us reinvent ourselves on a daily basis. The LinkedIn profile can accommodate as many incarnations of your brand or versions of your message as you deem valid. Ask yourself: does my LinkedIn profile accurately reflect what I do right now? If your content does not speak to your business value, is not key-worded properly, or is shrouded in ambiguity, you do not stand a chance of engaging with the right people.
3. Stay in the Know on LinkedIn Best Practices
LinkedIn requires constant learning and practice. Educating yourself on a daily basis eases you into the mindset of change, helps you achieve momentum on LinkedIn, and puts you in position to succeed on the site. You will ascertain from your efforts that there is a “right way” to do things when it comes to social business. Also, talk to your colleagues. Ask how they are dealing with the changes and managing their LinkedIn affairs. You may get an idea or two that can be a difference-maker in your business. Prick up your ears and keep your nose to the grindstone. An informed LinkedIn citizen is a productive (and successful) LinkedIn citizen.
Parting Thoughts
With the new LinkedIn methodologies, there are new learning curves to shorten, new ideas to grasp and new strategies to execute. Staying productive on the site comes at a cost—an investment of time, certainly, as well as a monthly financial commitment—should you wish to take full advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer. The key is to communicate respectfully and purposefully, and with collaboration in mind. When you act with others in concert—not as disparate elements—you serve the greater good.
Published: June 13, 2013
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JD Gershbein

Since 2006, JD Gershbein, CEO of Owlish Communications, has been helping advance collective awareness of LinkedIn and inspiring opportunity-oriented professionals to step up and achieve on the site. He fuses LinkedIn profile optimization, personal branding, respect-based social networking, marketing communication strategy and classical business development techniques with neuroscience and psychology. J.D. is one of the world's top scholars on LinkedIn, a globally acclaimed speaker and frequent media contributor on social business strategy. He is also Adjunct Professor of Marketing Communications at the Illinois Institute of Technology's Stuart Graduate School of Business, where he is advancing social media marketing as an accredited field of study. His book “The LinkedIn Edge: Creating a Psychological Advantage in Social Business” is due out in fall 2013. LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jdgershbeinFollow JD on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jdgershbein

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