Massive LinkedIn Changes in 2021: New Features, Tools and Options

Massive LinkedIn Changes in 2021: New Features, Tools and Options

Massive LinkedIn Changes in 2021: New Features, Tools and Options

The one thing that remains constant is social platforms evolve. LinkedIn is no different.

Recently, LinkedIn rolled out a variety of updates, some big and some small, on its desktop and mobile platforms.

I understand it can be tough to keep up with these continual platform changes. I have done the work for you so you can stay focused on your business.

In this article, I break down all the recent LinkedIn changes. You will learn how to use them so you can decide which ones are most useful to you.

A Complete Summary of Recent LinkedIn Changes

1. LinkedIn’s New Look

2. LinkedIn Cover Story Just added!

3. LinkedIn Creator Mode Just added!

4. LinkedIn Service Pages Just added!

5. LinkedIn Audio Rooms (in development) Just added!

6. Open to Work on LinkedIn

7. Connection Request Invitation Limits Just added!

8. Gender Pronouns Just added!

9. LinkedIn Newsletters Just added!

10. Changes to LinkedIn Messages

     10.1 Start a Video Meeting on LinkedIn

     10.2 Edit and Delete LinkedIn Messages

     10.3 Other LinkedIn Message Changes

          10.3.1 Invite Others to Join a Group Chat on LinkedIn

          10.3.2 Manage Bulk Messages on LinkedIn

          10.3.3 React with Emojis

11. Changes to Posting on LinkedIn

     11.1 Posting on LinkedIn Just updated!

     11.2 Tagging People in Your Posts

     11.3 The Importance of the First Two Hours

     11.4 Sharing Other People’s Posts Is Seeing All-Time Low Visibility

12. Employee Advocacy Tools on LinkedIn Company Pages Just added!

13. LinkedIn Stories Discontinued!

14. Changes to Sales Navigator

     14.1 New Sales Navigator Filters Just added!

     14.2 Sales Navigator Bookmarking Alerts Just added!

     14.3 Sales Navigator Left Account Flag Just added!

     14.4 Sales Navigator Account Map Additions Just added!

     14.5 Sales Navigator Champions List (Enterprise Edition) Just added!

     14.6 Sales Navigator CRM Integration Updates (Team & Enterprise
              Edition) Just added!

Breaking Down the Latest LinkedIn Changes

1. LinkedIn's New Look

You may have noticed that one of the recent changes on LinkedIn is its new look.

Its LinkedIn’s first major redesign in nearly five years.

According to LinkedIn, the goal of this major redesign is to make the user experience easier, more inclusive, and to put the community front and center. The goal was to create a simple, modern and intuitive user experience that also made navigation and discovery easier.

LinkedIn's New Look

The change in the look is subtle. It features warm colors, except for the blue and green accents to signal action and selection. The platform also softened its look by:

  • rounding the shapes and buttons
  • increasing whitespace
  • reducing divider lines and decorative icons.

The new platform now meets accessibility standards, allowing for text scaling, bigger touch targets and increased contrast for improved readability.

A dark mode is coming soon for those who prefer it.

2. LinkedIn Cover Story

Help your ideal clients get to know you better with LinkedIn’s new feature: Cover Story.

Your cover story is a 30-second video. You can use it to introduce yourself and, if time permits, identify your ideal clients and tell them how you can help them solve their problems.

Once you upload your Cover Story, your profile viewers will see an orange boarder around your profile image and a 3-second preview of the video. LinkedIn is calling this feature the “Harry Potter” effect. It’s visible on both mobile and desktop apps.

Note that you can see another person’s cover story only if you have the feature yourself. Also, the only way to tell if someone has a cover story is by viewing their profile. (If you don’t have this feature yet, don’t panic. It is in the process of being rolled out to all LinkedIn users.)

And while you can create your video using mobile or desktop, you can upload and edit it using only the mobile app.

Upload and edit your LinkedIn Cover Story using the mobile app.

3. LinkedIn Creator Mode

Build your credibility and establish your authority using LinkedIn’s new Creator Mode.

This new feature is ideal for you if you regularly create and share content – it puts your content and activity front and center. It is gradually being rolled out, so don’t worry if you don’t have it yet.

To turn on creator mode, in the Your Dashboard section of your profile, click on Creator mode: Off. Follow the prompts on the screen to start using it.

Once you have creator mode set up, you will see the following changes:

  • The Connect button on your profile will change to a Follow While this is ideal if your goal on LinkedIn is to establish your authority on your topic, it might not be ideal if your current goal is to grow your network.

  • Your intro card will display the number of followers you have. Your followers include both the people you are connected to as well as the people who follow you.

  • You can choose a number of hashtags to indicate the topics you post about most often. They will be displayed within your intro card. This will help you get in front of interested audiences.

  • Your profile will be reordered, with your Featured and Activity sections appearing first.

  • Showcase more of your recent content in the expanded Activity This section will no longer show your likes, comments and other activity.

  • If you’re a LinkedIn Live broadcaster, your LinkedIn profile background will now show your Live broadcast when you start streaming, helping increase the visibility of your content.

4. LinkedIn Service Page

This new feature is incredibly powerful for LinkedIn members who offer a service. It allows you to create a dedicated service page accessible right within your intro card.

Top among the benefits of this feature is the ability to make your services more discoverable through search engines, including LinkedIn’s.

In addition, anyone on LinkedIn can message you free about your services – this is normally a paid feature (Open Profile).

To set up your services page, within your profile, click the Open to button in your intro card. Select Providing services, and complete the set-up information. Click the Publish button to make your Service Page visible to members.

LinkedIn Service Page

If you don’t see the Open to button with the Providing services option at the top of your profile, visit this LinkedIn troubleshooting page.

Also note that once you update your profile with your services information, your profile photo will be visible to all LinkedIn members, regardless of your profile visibility settings.

5. LinkedIn Audio Rooms (in development)

If you like what the new social media platform Clubhouse – an audio-based social networking app – has to offer but are not interested in building a whole new audience on yet another social media platform, good news!

LinkedIn is currently developing and testing its own version of this. From the information available so far, it appears it will look like and offer similar functionality to the Clubhouse app.

LinkedIn Audio Rooms (in development)

6. Open to Work on LinkedIn

You may also have noticed that LinkedIn has included two specialized frames you can add to your profile photo:

  • an “Open to Work” frame
  • a “Hiring” frame.

LinkedIn is trying to help remove the stigma that comes from being unemployed or having been laid off – especially amid the economy downturn caused by COVID-19.

To help its members have an easier time getting hired, it started with its “Open to Work” frame. According to LinkedIn:

“Nearly 2.5 million members have adopted the frame, from airline pilots to data analysts. Early results show members with the Open to Work photo frame are receiving 40% more InMail’s from recruiters and 20% more messages from the LinkedIn community.”

Open to Work on LinkedIn

To further help hiring companies and job seekers connect, LinkedIn created a “Hiring” profile photo frame. This lets any company owner advertise job availability right on their profile.

Job seekers will be able to see who’s hiring directly in their LinkedIn feed and apply to relevant jobs.

LinkedIn stated that the ability to post a job free will be available to all members globally in the coming months – although it appears the “free” part might come to an end at some point.

LinkedIn “Hiring” profile photo frame

7. Connection Request Invitation Limits

To improve the quality of the platform, LinkedIn has introduced some firm invitation limits to reduce the amount of spam and automated invitations plaguing it.

The weekly invitation limit seems to be set at 100 a week. This number may be impacted by the number of outstanding invites you have and the number of your invites that have been rejected.

When you reach the weekly invite limit, you’ll receive a warning note similar to this:

“You’ve reached the weekly invitation limit. Connections benefit you more when you know them personally, so we have weekly limits to encourage better networks.

For people you don’t know, you can follow them to see their posts or send an InMail instead. If you’d still like to send an invitation, please try again next week.”

Keep in mind when sending LinkedIn invitations, it is essential to personalize messages, especially to people you do not know. Take the time to read their profile to learn about them first, and only then send them a personalized connection request, or you could end up in LinkedIn jail.

Additional Reading: Why I Accept or Reject a LinkedIn Connection Request

8. Gender Pronouns

Tomer Cohen, LinkedIn’s global head of product, shared that 70% of job seekers believe it’s important that recruiters and hiring managers know their gender pronouns, and 72% of hiring managers agree and believe this shows respect.

In response, LinkedIn has provided you with the option to add the gender pronouns you identify with. Your gender pronouns will be displayed in parenthesis next to your name.

To add your gender pronouns, click the edit pencil in the top right corner of your intro card (at the top of your LinkedIn profile).

Below your name, you will see the new pronoun field. Select the appropriate pronoun, or add a custom pronoun.

LinkeIn Gender Pronouns

Your selected pronoun will be visible to ALL LinkedIn members.

9. LinkedIn Newsletters

Take advantage of LinkedIn’s fantastic new way to increase your authority, build your audience (both on and off LinkedIn), and create new opportunities for conversation by regularly publishing a high value newsletter.

This new feature allows anyone to discover, read or share it (it is indexed by search engines). LinkedIn members can also subscribe to your LinkedIn newsletter.

In fact, LinkedIn makes it easy for you to invite all your connections and followers to subscribe when you create your newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also get push, in-app, and email notifications after you publish each newsletter article. You can and should use the real-time analytics feedback you receive to measure your success and improve future newsletter articles.

One important note, you can only create and maintain one newsletter at a time. Understand that if you delete your newsletter, you will be limited in your ability to create a new one (LinkedIn is vague with the details).

10. Changes to LinkedIn Messages

Conversations are the key to success when building relationships, which makes them vital to the LinkedIn platform. LinkedIn has acknowledged this by adding and updating a number of important messaging features.

In LinkedIn’s words:

“Behind every opportunity is a private conversation. Professionals are using LinkedIn to connect about opportunities, set up virtual catch ups, and discuss the latest trends and insights in group chats. Over the past five years, we’ve seen messaging between LinkedIn members more than quadruple.”

10.1 Start a Video Meeting on LinkedIn

In the past, you had to leave the platform to have an online meeting with your LinkedIn connection, but not anymore. LinkedIn has added the “Start a Meeting” feature. Using this feature, you can start a face-to-face online chat using Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans by Verizon, or Zoom directly in your LinkedIn messages.

The feature is easy to use. Start a new conversation or enter an existing one with a fellow LinkedIn member as you normally would, and click on the video icon located below “Write a message…” box.

Start a Video Meeting on LinkedIn

If you are on a mobile device, it is located beside the “Write a message…” box. 

Start a Video Meeting on LinkedIn mobile

Next, you will see a pop-up box where you can choose from the Teams, Zoom or BlueJeans platforms. Sign in when prompted.

Pick a meeting platform.

You can then share the unique link with the participants of the meeting to start it right away, or you can schedule the meeting for later.

10.2 Edit and Delete LinkedIn Messages

There is nothing worse than hitting the Send button and realizing you have a typo. Especially when dealing with professional or job-related connections.

Thankfully, now you can quickly edit that mistake!

You can also delete irrelevant messages or messages that include the wrong attachments.

Remember, you can edit or delete a message only within 60 minutes of sending it. An Edited or Deleted badge will be displayed to all participants in the conversation.

Also note, a deleted message is removed for all participants in the conversation and cannot be retrieved.

To edit or delete a message on your desktop, hover over the message until you see a pop-up with …”. Then select Edit or Delete.

Edit or delete LinkedIn message desktop

On your mobile device, press-and-hold or double tap on the message you want to edit or delete to open the menu, and then select the appropriate option.

10.3 Other LinkedIn Message Changes

10.3.1 Invite others to join a group chat on LinkedIn

Sometimes, you want to include or introduce one or more people into a conversation already in progress.

LinkedIn has made it easy to do this.

You can now invite one or more people to join an existing conversation while keeping your original conversation history private.

On your desktop, from the existing conversation, go to the top right-hand corner and click “…”. Select “Create group chat.”

Start by typing the names of your first-degree connections you wish to add. Select the correct person when they pop up, and click Add. Once you have added everyone to the group, give your group a name, and click Next.

Invite others to join a group chat on LinkedIn

This will create a new conversation, and your original conversation history will remain private.

Click on the “…” in the conversation to add or remove new people. You can also archive, delete or leave a conversation.

Invite others to join a group chat on LinkedIn

As well as adding new group members manually, you can also turn on the group conversation share link, located at the top of the Add / Remove people box. After you turn on the link, you can share it with those you want to join the conversation.

Keep in mind that:

  • you can have up to 50 members in a group chat
  • everyone in the chat is an admin, and anyone in the chat can add/remove or edit the conversation name
  • anyone who joins the chat will be able to see previous messages.

Similarly, you can create a group chat on the mobile app by tapping the “…” in the top right corner of the app and selecting “Create group chat.”

Invite others to join a group chat on LinkedIn mobile.
10.3.2 Manage bulk messages on LinkedIn

Sometimes, you need to clean up your inbox. LinkedIn has made this easier by giving you the ability to manage bulk messages. It allows you to select multiple messages at a time to archive, delete or mark them read/unread all at once.

Click the “…” in the top left corner of the message area, beside the new message icon. Select Manage conversations.


Now, you can select the messages you want to bulk-manage and then choose to Mark read/unreadDelete or Archive.

Manage bulk messages on LinkedIn Desktop

On a mobile device, at the top right-hand corner of the app, tap “…” to open the menu.

Manage bulk messages on LinkedIn mobile

Select “Manage conversations”; check the box next to each message you want to manage; and choose your action.

Manage bulk messages on LinkedIn mobile
10.3.3 React with Emojis

While I would recommend using emojis with caution on this business platform, LinkedIn has expanded your ability to react to messages with all the standard emojis.

The reason for my caution is you are having conversations with potential or existing clients, business partners or employers. When conversing with these groups, it is advisable to keep your communications professional unless you have a more casual relationship with someone.

But at times, reacting with an emoji might make sense or add to the conversation.

To react to a message with an emoji on your desktop, hover over the message, and choose from one of the commonly used emojis shown. Or click the white and grey smiley face to open the full menu of emojis available.

React with Emojis

On your mobile device, press and hold or double tap on any message to open the menu of options.

You can now also change the skin color of your emojis on your desktop. Click the emoji icon under your text box. Then click the selected default emoji located to the right of the emoji Search bar. Now you can pick your skin tone.

Note that while your emoji skin tone preference is automatically saved, it isn’t saved across different browsers and devices and will be reset if you clear your cache.

11. Changes to posting on LinkedIn

11.1 Posting on LinkedIn

The way you post on LinkedIn has been updated too, affecting both the design and the visibility of your posts.

LinkedIn has increased the character limit of your posts from 1,300 to 3,000.

In the posting box, the Documents feature was replaced with a Job feature.

This was a bit alarming. You’ll understand why if you read my post on how to exponentially increase your visibility using LinkedIn Documents.

Changes to posting on LinkedIn

Thankfully, this feature was just moved, not removed. You can now find it after clicking into the posting box beside the add a video icon.

Posting a document on LinkedIn

You can easily find it when you start a post on your mobile device in the posting options provided.

Posting a document on LinkedIn mobile.

LinkedIn posts have also seen a number of new trends.

11.2 Tagging people in your posts

First, those who like to tag others in their posts may have been finding their posts deemphasized in the newsfeed if the person/people tagged did not engage with the post. This means that fewer people will see your post in the newsfeed.

Essentially, LinkedIn is trying to decrease the number of people who post while tagging well-known or popular people in an effort to get more views. Simply put, don’t tag someone unless it is relevant to them and they will appreciate being tagged in the post and respond to it.

11.3 The importance of the first two hours

Speaking of engagement, it seems to be most important in first two hours of posting. Try to check in and reply to comments as often as possible in the first two hours of posting something on LinkedIn.

And if you manage to get some good engagement on your post, wait before posting again, or you could lose the traction that post gained. It could be that LinkedIn is trying to clean up the newsfeed and remove abundant low-quality posts by rewarding the quality of posts rather than the quantity.

11.4 Sharing other people’s posts is seeing all-time low visibility

It appears that currently LinkedIn is NOT favoring shared posts.

Notice the views (17,311) and engagement on one of my typical non-reshared posts on LinkedIn.

Sharing other people’s posts is seeing all-time low visibility

Now compare those numbers to what I saw the last time I shared someone else’s post on LinkedIn (379 views).

LinkedIn Changes Again… What You Need to Know

This doesn’t mean you should stop sharing posts of your connections when appropriate. Just be aware they will not do as well as non-reshared posts at the moment.

Additional Reading:

Is Your LinkedIn Content Strategy Making You Look Desperate?

5 Things You Should Avoid Posting On LinkedIn

How to Use LinkedIn Documents to Exponentially Increase Your Visibility

12. Employee advocacy tools on LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn has added a number of helpful employee advocacy tools to their Company Pages.

One of these tools is the Notify employees link found at the top of your company page posts. After you have shared a post on your LinkedIn company page, you can then click that link to notify your employees of the post.

This is a great way to let employees know of new content they can use, reference or share. It can be extremely helpful for sales team members looking for relevant company materials they can share during the different stages of their sales cycle.

Continue sharing other relevant content with your employees under the Content tab on the company page. You can also then track your success in engaging and inspiring your employees to share your content under the Activity and Analytics tabs on your LinkedIn company page.

13. LinkedIn Stories Discontinued

LinkedIn is shutting down its Stories product, the company recently announced. The Snapchat-style video Stories were first launched in February 2020 in internal testing.

Part of the reason for the shutdown is that LinkedIn learned users just didn’t want disappearing video. Hmm, I could have told them that and saved them a lot of time and money!

LinkedIn explains the reasons behind the discontinuing this feature:

“In developing Stories, we assumed people wouldn’t want informal videos attached to their profile. Turns out, you want to create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way and that showcase both your personality and expertise.”

14. Changes to Sales Navigator

14.1 New Sales Navigator Filters

Sales Navigator saw a couple of interesting filters added to the advanced search.

You can now use the spotlight filters, which used to be secondary filters on the results’ page, as part of your primary search criteria.

When doing a lead search, you can now filter by:

  • changed jobs in the past 90 days
  • connected to people in your network
  • mentioned in the news in the past 30 days
  • posted on LinkedIn in the past 90 days
  • share experiences with you
  • leads that follow your company on LinkedIn.
Additional LinkedIn Sales Navigator lead search filters.

When doing an account search, you can search by these spotlight filters:

  • with senior leadership changes in the last 3 months
  • accounts with finding events in the past 12 months.
Additional LinkedIn Sales Navigator account search filters.

14.2 Sales Navigator Bookmarking Alerts

LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you keep your most important alerts front-and-center with their new bookmarking alerts feature.

Visit your Sales Navigator homepage and at the top of the page under Alerts you will see the bookmark alert icon to the right.

Sales Navigator Bookmarking Alerts

To add a bookmark alert, just click the bookmark icon located on the right side of each post box.

Every bookmarked post will now show up under the bookmark icon in Alerts.

To add a bookmark alert, just click the bookmark icon located on the right side of each post box.

14.3 Sales Navigator Account Map Additions

Sales Navigator has added a number of new improvements to their account map feature.

The most notable by far is the Left Account addition. This automatically notifies you when someone you have saved to any Lead List or Account Map leaves their company. This allows you edit the account accordingly ensuring that you:

  • Keep an accurate and up-to-date view of your key target accounts

  • Stay informed on job changes and take any pertinent actions

  • Spot potential new gaps in the buying committee

Sales Navigator Left Account addition.

You will also notice that Lead profile cards are placed within tiers that you can drag-and-drop within the account map, with the ability to move leads into different tiers or positions.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with what each tier represents:

  • Tier I: C-Suite or other decision makers
  • Tier II: Managers or other champions

Tier III: Individual contributors or users

Lead profile cards are placed within tiers that you can drag-and-drop within the account map, with the ability to move leads into different tiers or positions.

Use the Confirm all button to save all the Leads on the account map and ensure that it will look the same if you leave and come back.

Two other additions to this feature include the number of shared connections with a lead listed on their profile card and the ability to go directly to the account map by clicking on the account from the Account List.

14.5 Sales Navigator Champions List

For those Sales Navigator users with an Enterprise Edition and CRM Sync enabled, LinkedIn has added a new feature called the Champions List.

The feature automatically creates a list of contacts who were previously involved in closed-won deals (aka the account became a customer) but has now moved on to another one of your target accounts. To use the feature, go to Leads in Sales Navigator, and access the list labeled as Past Customers at New Companies.

With your Champions List, you can easily identify other LinkedIn members who have the potential to:

  • Advocate for you and your products or services at their new company
  • Help you understand and gain influence within the buying committee
  • Identify potential roadblocks so you can proactively manage them

14.6 Sales Navigator CRM Integration Updates

LinkedIn has been hard at work to offer new improvements with their CRM Integration. These Sales Navigator improvements are for users with a Team or Enterprise Edition and a connected CRM.

The first improvement involves your CRM’s activity writeback. This means that they have reduced the number of permissions needed for “read-only” users so that this level of access will enable all CRM Sync features.

The second improvement strengthens your CRM integration by giving you the ability to edit or verify matches to your existing CRM entities. This allows you to:

  • Confirm the current CRM record match to verify accuracy.
  • Correct the CRM matching when a record of a lead, contact, or account has been matched to a CRM entity but the matching isn’t accurate.
  • Create a CRM record of a lead, contact, or an account when a Sales Navigator lead or account doesn’t already exist in my CRM

Make the most of LinkedIn’s recent changes

While not all or even most of the changes are game changers, some are very useful for growing your business. I have already begun integrating several of them into my LinkedIn marketing strategy. The changes to messages in particular, I have found most beneficial.

Familiarize yourself with all the new LinkedIn changes, and play around with them to determine which will be most helpful for you and your LinkedIn routine.

Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and strategies? Read my international #1 best-seller LinkedIn Unlocked and discover how to turn LinkedIn into the lead generation engine room for your business. >>> Grab your copy HERE.


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