Amid its most recent flurry of changes, updates and upgrades to the platform, LinkedIn made two new updates that signal an important shift for the platform.
“Now you can customize the types of notifications you receive based on what you find the most valuable – for example birthdays, work anniversaries, job changes and more,” LinkedIn noted in an announcement. “We’ve (also) added the ability for you to directly manage the comments you have on your long form articles, with the option to disable or enable comments.”
The big news here is that LinkedIn is listening to its users, and that these two updates, while seeming minor at first glance, reflect and important shift toward making the platform far more useful (and valuable!) for members.
Notify Me No Longer!
First, LinkedIn wants to help you clean up your newsfeed and notifications, ensuring both don’t become clogged with birthdays and work anniversaries of people you don’t know well but are somehow connected to.
And, by enabling you to turn off en masse all those birthday and work anniversary notifications of hundreds (or thousands) of 1st degree connections you’re not real-life friends or colleagues with, it signals that LinkedIn realizes more of its users are going to connect with people they don’t know well – or even at all – in real life.
Here’s a video from LinkedIn on now the new notifications works:
Controlling the Conversation
In the same vein, giving you control over who can (or cannot) comment on your LinkedIn articles acknowledges the growing issue of trolls and/or spammers in the comments section on LinkedIn articles.
Now, my personal advice on this feature is to leave your article comments turned “on,” because the more comments you receive, the more engagement your article gets.
And the more engagement your article gets, the more it gets displayed and featured all across LinkedIn, both in the individual news feeds of the users (and their connections) who are engaging, but also inside LinkedIn’s enormous internal search engine, which indexes and archives every post and article you create on the platform.
The Major Change Happening with LinkedIn
These two most recent features and updates are indicative of LinkedIn taking its “spam” problems seriously.
More importantly, it’s a clear signal that LinkedIn understands what its power users have known all along – that, in order to be successful selling your products and services on the platform, you need to be connected to as many people as possible.
(Related: How to Sell on LinkedIn.)
Even more fascinating, this trend goes directly against LinkedIn’s longtime advice of only connecting to people you know well in real life.
It’s always been a case of confusion, with LinkedIn advising us to only connect with people we know well in real life, but at the same time trying to get us to connect to as many people as possible by uploading our entire email address book, and so on.
LinkedIn’s Dirty Little Secret
The dirty little secret from the beginning is this: The more people you’re connected to on LinkedIn, the bigger your reach and influence on the platform.
And, the bigger your reach and influence on the platform, the easier it is to find, engage and sell to your ideal audience on LinkedIn.
(Related: How to win new clients on LinkedIn.)
Long story short: The more comments and engagement your LinkedIn status updates and articles receive, the more visibility and shelf-life they enjoy, including internal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) juice on LinkedIn, which will surface your previous articles and posts based on search terms other users enter into the site.
Bigger Platform + Increased Engagement = More Sales
LinkedIn’s latest round of updates have confirmed what those of us who use LinkedIn for sales and marketing have known for a long time – that Content and Engagement rule the platform.
So, if you haven’t already, make sure you’re creating and sharing quality content on LinkedIn – content that helps a target audience solve one of their biggest challenges while demonstrating your authority and expertise.
If you follow that plan, grow your network and keep an eye on who engages with your content, the recipe for more sales and clients becomes an easy one to follow.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.