Have you ever taken a moment to think about how similar social media is to high school movie? No really, stay with me here. There is a central cast of five or six archetypal characters, and then all the satellite people whose names you know but you really don’t spend much time thinking about.
If Facebook is the popular quarterback, and Twitter is the super cool geek, and Pinterest is the artsy girl with paint on her overalls, then LinkedIn has always kind of seemed like the editor of the newspaper. Someone who is well-liked and respected, but lacks the style and star-power of the rest of the crew. Well, like any good high school movie, this social media story contains an exciting makeover that will (hopefully) result in a dramatic turn in LinkedIn’s popularity.
The professional network announced today that they are starting to roll out new visual enhancements to users’ personal profiles. Premium users get access to the new look first, but the rest of us will get it in the next “few months” as well. The new look features a wider header area with enhanced details, a larger profile photo, and a custom background image – all designed to “reflect your unique brand” according to the announcement. The end result? An attractive, modern look for your professional networking presence:
Want the new look for your own profile? There are two ways to get it. The first, less expedient option is to apply to be in the ‘early bird’ group of free users to get access. You can do that with this handy request form. The second option is to simply upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account.
If you’ve previously looked into this and decided you didn’t have $29.99/month to spend on networking, there’s good news! Today’s announcement also introduced a new, lower-priced premium option. At just $9.99/month, the new Spotlight starter plan comes with all the same bells and whistles as the Business and Business Plus plans, with the exception of direct InMail Messages. If sending networking messages is important to you, then the other two plans are still great options. If not, the Spotlight plan really does give you a lot of bang for your buck with features like:
- Enhanced search result: Stand out with a larger, more detailed listing in search results.
- Open Profile option: If you want to, allow anyone on LinkedIn to see your full profile and send you messages even if they are free members themselves.
- Meaningful analytics: See real results on Who’s Viewed Your Profile, and see how you stack up against your peers with How You Rank data.
- Early Premium Profile access: While this will eventually be available to everyone, you can be among the first if you have a premium account.
- Keyword suggestions: Optimize your profile with custom keyword recommendations:
Obviously the changes we are talking about today affect personal accounts and profiles, not Company or Showcase pages. But if you are a small business owner, changes to your personal LinkedIn profile can have a big impact. Networking is a key part of growing a small business, and anything you can do to give yourself a leg up is worthwhile!
It’s worth noting that LinkedIn isn’t the only one to reveal a big makeover this week. Facebook is also rumored to be releasing its new design to all users starting tomorrow!