These 2015 Secret LinkedIn Changes Will Help You Succeed in the New Year

By Wayne Breitbarth, Andersen Alumnus

Happy New Year!

LinkedIn made a number of big, well-publicized changes this year, like commercial use search limit, the complete revamp of groups, and changing the messaging system from an email-based system to more of a text messaging system. The links above will get you up to speed if you missed any of these changes.

But before we close the book on 2015, here are some of the less-publicized additions and changes LinkedIn made last year and some simple tips to help you take advantage of them in the new year.

Capitalize on LinkedIn’s 2015 updates and new features

1. Follow people who aren’t in your first-level network. Once you begin following them, you’ll start receiving notifications of their published posts and status updates. To begin following someone, go to his/her profile, hover over the down arrow to the right of the Send InMail button, and click Follow.

2. You can still invite people in your third-level network to become first-level connections. LinkedIn buried the Connect button this year, but it’s easy to send an invitation once you’ve found the button. Simply hover over the down arrow to the right of the Send InMail button and click Connect in the drop-down menu. You can then send a customized invitation–and you’ll be more likely to have your invitation accepted if you follow my five-star invitation rules.

3. Skills are becoming more important. Users who have upgraded to the Recruiter Premium Account can now sort a list of candidates by the skills required for the position. Therefore, it’s to your advantage to include your most important keywords in your Skills section. I’m not privy to LinkedIn’s search algorithm, but I assume that people with the most endorsements for their skills will show up higher in the search results.

Obviously, this is extremely important for job seekers. Click here to learn more about this important feature.

4. Direct messaging up to 50 people at a time is virtually dead. In the past, when you sent a message to a group of people, you could hide the names of the recipients, and each person would receive the message in his/her inbox and be unaware that you sent the same message to other people. Now there is no way to hide the other recipients. Worse yet, most people don’t realize that when they reply to you, all recipients will see their comments. For those reasons, I’ve stopped using this feature.

5. You can now join up to 100 groups instead of 50. This is a really big deal if my assumption about LinkedIn’s proprietary relevancy algorithm is correct. If fellow group members are searching for someone like you, I think you’ll be higher in the search results because of your common group membership. Thus, you’re more likely to show up in more search results if you belong to lots of groups.

Warning: The more groups you join, the more important it is to control the group email notifications or you will be deluged with emails. To avoid this problem, hover over your photo on your top toolbar, select Privacy & Settings from the drop-down menu, and then select the Groups, Companies & Applications tab. Next, click Set the frequency of group digest emails and choose whether you want to hear from that group daily (which is the default), weekly or never.

6. You can still send 15 free direct messages each month to fellow group members who are not in your first-level network. Whether you’re in one group or 100 groups, you get 15 free direct messages. Take advantage of this gift from LinkedIn when you want to contact someone who isn’t in your first-level network.

When you find a fellow group member whom you’d like to direct message, simply click the Envelope icon.

7. The opening sentences on your company page are critically important.

The company information displayed on the mobile app and in the pop-up box on employees’ profiles is truncated until someone selects See More. Therefore, it’s extremely important that the first 88 characters on your company page clearly state your company’s unique business proposition.

Many companies start with an historical timeline of the company. This is important information, but it may be better to include those facts in a subsequent paragraph of your company narrative.

8. Be sure to track your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI). In the past, this feature was only available to LinkedIn’s largest corporate clients, but now you, too, can see how well you’re doing the activities on LinkedIn that will lead to improved sales.

To read my complete analysis of this feature and learn how to get your SSI, click here.

9. It’s now easier to attach documents to direct messages.

Although I’m not a fan of the new messaging system, I like being able to attach multiple documents to a message, including photos. But I’m not sure how I feel about attaching stickers, emojis and GIFs.

I am confident that if you follow these suggestions, you’ll have great success in the new year.

Wayne Breitbarth, an Andersen Alumnus, is a Social Media Trainer Speaker, Consultant and Author of “THE POWER FORMULA FOR LINKEDIN SUCCESS” He can be reached at