The New LinkedIn User Interface: 2 Good, 4 Bad And 4 Ugly Changes

Plus conjecture, other oddities in the new LinkedIn UI, and a possible win win suggestion.

One oddity of the new UI is that with all the bugs and hiccups, I am not sure if there is one new UI or 460 million individual unique LinkedIn UI’s. With that in mind, some early (based on one week) observations on the new User Interface…

Good: Notifications get their own feed. Hallelujah. That little slider thingee in the old notifications window drove me nuts.

Bad: your followers have disappeared. The only ones you can find are ones that are new, that you have been notified about today.  

Ugly: The list of who liked a post only seems accessible from a notification that someone liked your post.

Ugly: Groups have been shunted off to Island of Misfit Toys, also known as the  “More” tab. Methinks this doesn’t augur well for Groups. Note that “Jobs” get their own tab while Groups do not. This decision hardly reinforces the idea that LinkedIn is more of a social network than a jobs board.  

Even uglier: Creating a company page fared even worse than Groups. You have to use the little slider on the More tab to slide down and reveal “Create Company Page” which is otherwise hidden.

Just plain weird: The “More” tab has ProFinder on it. Unfortunately, ProFinder is not available where I live (Toronto) yet. If LinkedIn is going to have tabs that aren’t functional, they might as well have some fun ones, like having a tab that says “Free Money.”

I ambivalent about:  Pulse disappearing

Good: A lot of what seemed like five or six hundred possible profile sections have been eliminated.

Bad: thank you to anyone who shares my post. Normally I try to send messages  and thank people who share my posts. Unfortunately, the new UI won’t tell you who shared your post. Anywhere. Because…well, actually I can’t figure out why LinkedIn would do this. To discourage sharing and engagement?

Odd sidebar: you get notified if someone mentions you in a post. So if someone shares your post and mentions your name in the share, you do get notified. Otherwise, no.

Conjecture on the odd sidebar: get ready to get mentioned to death as people figure out the only way to spread the word is through mentions.

Really really really bad: I have had the new UI for a week. Number of notifications that someone I am connected with or someone I follow has posted: zero. What’s the point of following someone?

Now some of these may be temporary situations, bugs or oversights or miscalculations that LinkedIn has made. But I have an idea that is even better than patching all the mistakes. Let us pay a nominal sum to get the old UI back. Let me explain.

I have read in a few places that the estimate on daily LinkedIn users is 40 million. Based on my own research and anecdotal evidence, of that 40 million daily users,  roughly ALL OF THEM hate the new interface (and associated changes in functionality). So LinkedIn should offer us the old user interface back for $1 a month each. That’s a half a billion dollars a year right there in cold hard cash for Linkrosoft. We get a functional LinkedIn with some search capability, they get money. That’s how you make lemonade out of a lemon.

Improve Your LinkedIn Use By Leaving One Bad Habit Behind In 2017

Here’s a New Year’s resolution that will make you more effective: Find one bad LinkedIn habit and kill it to start the new year.

Think of all the things you regularly do on LinkedIn. Maybe you check for messages, check your notifications, visit some LinkedIn groups, read some posts in your homepage feed, and like or comment on a couple of those posts.

For each of those things ask yourself what tangible benefits you derive from doing this activity. I am guessing at least one of the items on your list is going to make for some rather uncomfortable rationalizations.

Here’s an example I recognized of my own from a couple of years ago: I would spend around fifteen minutes seeing what was new in my Linkedin groups each week. This continued until I realized that I wasn’t getting anything tangible out of that time. I wan’t meeting new people, I had problems finding interesting conversations, and groups just didn’t seem to work for me. They may work beautifully for many people, but they just weren’t working for me. So unless someone asked me to get involved in a  discussion, I quit going to my LinkedIn groups. I was spending fifteen minutes a week – which added up to a day and half of my time over twelve months – and that day and a half was just spent wandering around. Quitting my LinkedIn group time got me that time back to use more productively elsewhere.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, maybe it’s time to move on to something else, or even nothing else. Your most precious resource is your time. Don’t waste it on LinkedIn activities that aren’t getting you anywhere. For any activity on LinkedIn, you should know the exact role it plays for you, and what you expect to get from it.

There’s a fine line that separates investing from spending.

This Is Why I Don’t Trust Any Social Media Or Social Selling Statistics

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Back in the spring I wrote a post about a hoary old (for social media) statistic and showed how people liked to take it completely out of context to use as proof of whatever it was they were flogging (you can read it here  http://practicalsmm.com/2016/02/18/linkedin-is-277-more-effective-than-just-about-everything-wait-what/ ).

It hasn’t stopped. I found more. Here are four of them. I have no desire to identify the people in question, but can provide links to the articles in question to anyone who sends me a message.

As background to these startling statistical stories, here are four statistics from LinkedIn’s Q3 results announced October 27th, 2016:

  1. LinkedIn now has 467M members.
  2. 106M – or 22.7% – of LinkedIn members log in once a month or more often.
  3. LinkedIn’s sales for the quarter were $933M
  4. LinkedIn’s sales of premium subscriptions for the quarter were $162M

The Case Of The Out Of Context Statistics

A couple of weeks ago I came across a post from someone making the case for Sales Navigator. In the post, they mentioned that since only 15.1% of LinkedIn members pay to use the service, it is obvious that a lot of salespeople don’t have Sales Navigator accounts, but they should.  

This one was easy as I knew this statistic was flat out wrong. Let’s do a little math using the LinkedIn results statistics above and you will see why.

15.1% of 467M total members means there would be 70.5M paying members.

Those 70.5M paying members paid $933M for the privilege in Q3

So $933M divided by 70.5M would be…hang on, carry the three…$13.23.

But that’s $13.23 for the quarter.  

So one of these statements is true:

  1. The average LinkedIn premium subscriber pays $4.41 a month for their premium subscription.   
  2. This statistic is bullshit.

So I decided that clearly a little investigation (rubbing his hands with barely restrained glee) was warranted.  

It turns out that Company A, the writer of this post, got their data from Company B (cue ominous music), and that Company B got their data from a study done by Company C. (I should point out that Company A quite rightly gave prominent credit for their statistics to Company B.)

Then things got really weird as Company C turned out to be…Wayne Breitbarth. For those of you who don’t know him, Wayne Breitbarth has been training people in the mid west on how to use LinkedIn for years. And he has a reputation that makes straight arrows ashamed of themselves. How could Wayne be involved in such a sham statistic? Well, it turns out, quite easily.

Every year Wayne sends out a survey to clients and other LinkedIn enthusiasts (I’ve participated several times myself), asking about their LinkedIn habits. The survey is where this statistic came from. So it wasn’t 15.1% of LinkedIn users that said they paid for their LinkedIn, it was 15.1% of Wayne’s email list; people he has trained in how to use LinkedIn, his social followers and connections, and probably friends and connections of those people.

And all of these people who follow Wayne in one way or another, are more likely to be paying customers than a random sample of Linkedin users. 15.1% of Wayne’s  demographic being paying members is plausible.

So Company A, in trying to imply that there was lots of room for more Sales Nav subscribers because only 70M people pay now, would have actually had a much better argument if they just divided how much a premium member like me pays a quarter ($150) into the dollars received by LinkedIn last quarter for prem subs ($162M). So  there are more like 1.1M paying subscribers out there. 1.1M out of 467M leaves a lot of room for more subscribers.  

As Company A was honestly trying to make a point that more people should use Sales Navigator, it is obvious that there was no advantage to them in portraying this statistic they way they did.

But I can’t forgive Company A for one thing. When you click on the link taking you to Company B’s report, you see that company B based their data on Wayne’s 2013 survey. And right at the top of Company B’s post is the date that post was written: Nov 19, 2013. Company A used data in their current post that was both out of context and three years old (and you were wondering why I had three birthday candles in the photo). Three years is a long time in social media. Actually, was Sales Navigator even around when Wayne did his 2013 survey?

By the way, the results for Wayne Breitbarth’s 2016 survey can be found here.

http://www.powerformula.net/linkedin-infographic-portrait-linkedin-user-2016/

 

The Case Of The Big Honking Outlier

Remember statistic number 2 above, where LinkedIn announced 106M people – or 22.7% – of LinkedIn users were now checking in at least once a month?

Imagine my surprise when I read an online article from an Australian company  informing their readers that a top LinkedIn influencer had stated that “of the more than 7 million people in this country on LinkedIn, 40 per cent use it every single day”

If 22.7% – and no that number didn’t used to be a lot higher – of LinkedIn users log in once a month, how can 40% of Australian LinkedIn users log in every day?

A request for clarification to the website in question went unanswered.

 

The “Of One Questionable Statistic Is Good, Two Must Be Great” Incident

Two weeks ago I ran across one of those long lists of incredible social media and social selling statistic infographics. Apparently part of the incredible part is being not true. Among all the Facebook and Twitter and other stats that I couldn’t verify I came across a couple that I could.

  • Daily logins on LinkedIn: 27%

My first thought was, have these guys been talking to the Australians?

Later on the infographic informed the reader that:

  • LinkedIn now has 100 million members.

Gee, these guys aren’t even making me do math. This is too easy.  

In this case, an email request for clarification was answered immediately, directing me to the other online source they had used. I see this from time to time. Someone else wrote it on the internet, so it must be true.

 

The Case Of “Repeat It Often Enough And They Will Believe It.”

And for our finale, let’s take this old one out behind the shed and shoot it.

nsea-official-stats

 

How many of you have seen this one floating around from time to time? Hands up everyone who has actually seen it and liked it, commented on how pithy these statistics were, or shared it with their network?  

Well, sorry to say, but there is no evidence to support these marvelous statistics.

To start with, google “National Sales Executive Association” and see what comes up. Mingled in with lots of people sharing this are lots of articles on how this whole slate of statistics is completely made up (one excellent one can be read here http://askthemanager.com/2014/06/92-percent-of-linkedin-users-believe-made-up-statistics/#.WCoerWorKUm )

You will note that one thing won’t find in a search for the National Sales Executives Association is any reference to such an organization existing or ever having existed.

And here’s the thing. We believe this slate of stats because we want to. We want to believe that these stats show that perseverance is critical to success and will be rewarded.   

A lot of social media statistics and social selling statistics are used with very little reference as to where they came from or how they were generated. People love to cite statistics and a lot of statistics that started out as legitimate become “massaged”, whether by design or by accident.

So let me suggest that if someone quotes a statistic without referencing a source you can verify yourself, consider it crap.

And let me suggest that if someone quotes a vague data set that can’t be quantified “we interviewed a hundred top performers” or “social sellers outperformed their peers”, consider it crap.

And finally, in the immortal words of Peanuts character Charlie Brown: “Tell your statistics to shut up.”