Open Letter to Microsoft after LinkedIn Acquisition

It’s only a matter of time before another not-yet-mainstream social network challenges LinkedIn for the title of #1 social media site for B2B companies and professionals. Unless, Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn can change its current trajectory.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for a change. As a social media marketer working primarily with B2B companies, I spend about 80% of my work life on crafting and managing LinkedIn programs. I know the ins-and-outs, the nooks and crannies, the little details that change from day to day and the big ones that LinkedIn fails to notify its users about until they’ve actually made the change!

I’m hopeful that there will be some serious changes, and I’m not the only one.

LinkedIn is a great platform, but it could be better if we actually felt like LinkedIn cared about the user experience. If our feedback was appreciated. If customer service was actually helpful.

LinkedIn’s mission is simple: To connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Do you think they are living up to their mission statement? Are they actually making professionals more productive? And, more successful?

Though some have written open letters to LinkedIn, I have been compiling feedback from dozens of groups and hundreds of members about changes we’d like to see come to the LinkedIn platform. Because if another platform figures out “how to do LinkedIn better,” you can bet we’ll change platforms.

LinkedIn News Feed - Mindi Rosser
LinkedIn News Feed - Mindi Rosser

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Prioritize LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn took away the community for group managers to share/discuss ideas for improving LinkedIn groups because the community was not as about LinkedIn groups. This action sent a message to all group owners that groups are no longer as valuable to LinkedIn.
  • Change up the way advertising is served. I get too many irrelevant ads when I am on LinkedIn. I also started using AdBlocker Plus to cut down on the ads I see.
  • New algorithm for advertising. Very few companies tell me they are investing in LinkedIn advertisement because their ads are not getting the attention of the right people. Those are wasted dollars for both LinkedIn and companies.
  • Clean up the LinkedIn news feed. There have been too many selfies and cleavage for my liking in the LinkedIn news feed. LinkedIn needs to keep the feed more professional for users.
  • Make LinkedIn not a "have to" but a "want to" for business professionals. Many people are on LinkedIn because they feel they “have to” be there. Very few professionals LOVE logging in to their LinkedIn accounts.
  • More competitive content on LinkedIn Pulse. The inFluencers badge is only given to those LinkedIn deems worthy, though there are more qualified inFluencers who could drive more traffic to LinkedIn and enhance the LinkedIn Publishing experience if allowed to apply for inFluencers status.
  • Let members message members via groups again. There’s a limitation of 15 messages/month on the number of people you can message directly through LinkedIn without being connected to them. This applies to group owners, moderators and managers, which makes it challenging to moderate larger LinkedIn groups.
  • Get rid of dormant profiles. LinkedIn says it’s growing, but there are many inactive accounts that should be removed after a reasonable period of time. Keep the active users and let the others go by the wayside.
  • Require people to use a profile picture. Without a real-person profile picture, a LinkedIn profile is not effective and could be misleading. Companies try to create individual profiles, which is counter to LinkedIn regulations.
  • Stop using the resume template. LinkedIn could begin teaching users how better to craft their LinkedIn profiles, rather than putting them through the outdated resume template. LinkedIn is much MORE than a place for recruiters to find employees.
  • Make LinkedIn Premium a must-have. Instead, going Premium is a useless tagline on a profile for anyone outside social selling/sales. It could become more enticing if it actually unlocked features/analytics users want.
  • Change the rates for LinkedIn Premium services. $30/month is pricey if you don’t do much with your LinkedIn profile but want to be a Premium member. I stop-and-start my Premium membership depending on what I need to do with my profile at any given time.
  • InMails could become more valuable if they were less pricey. InMails are very expensive, which means fewer people are using them. There’s got to be a balance between charging enough to make sure people are not spamming with them, but not so pricey that users choose to use a different communication medium.
  • Better incorporate Slideshare into the LinkedIn platform. It’s rare to come across SlideShare on LinkedIn, unless you actively incorporate it into your LinkedIn profile. There are a number of ways to better integrate Slideshare that would be valuable to users.
  • Social Selling Index. Everybody’s trying to get a higher score, but it's a useless metric and nobody can tell you how to actually improve that number.
  • Customer Support. This is the most annoying issue for anyone in need of support on LinkedIn. Automated responses. Series of non-answers. And, useless tips from the support team. Half the time, the support reps have no idea what is causing an issue and say “they are looking into it.” Please fire the head of customer support and totally revamp the team.

Keep These Features:

  • Tagging people in status updates and discussion comments. This allows for better engagement across the network. I’ve noticed I can more easily keep up with my connections when using the tagging feature.
  • Reply option in comments on status updates. Finally. I love this feature and have noticed an uptick in engagement on my own status updates and on others’ updates.
  • Making Pulse available to everyone to publish content. This is a huge opportunity for those who are trying to increase thought leadership and build their personal brand. Through Pulse, I have garnered the attention of some high-value connections and even received a few lucrative job offers.
  • Beautiful new publishing experience on LinkedIn Pulse. Making content prettier means more people will spend time reading on LinkedIn. Thumbs up for this update!
  • Helping social sellers learn how to use Sales Navigator. I have been happy that LinkedIn is [finally] beginning to show its users how they can integrate Sales Navigator into their selling activities. This training will increase customer retention.
  • Providing good content via LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales blogs. I feel like I can keep my finger on the pulse of social selling and marketing trends solely from these two blogs.

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Accelerating LinkedIn’s Vision Through Innovation

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UPDATE 9/22: LinkedIn explains what their vision is for redesigning the user experience.