Over the past several months, LinkedIn has implemented numerous updates. If you tweak your profile around these changes, you can increase your visibility, impact and influence on the social network. Today’s Friday Five covers five of LinkedIn’s most important changes and how to use them to your advantage.

1) Updated Privacy Policy and User Agreement. Just this week LinkedIn updated its Privacy Policy and User Agreement. The changes are significant and should be noted by anyone using LinkedIn. It’s important to play by the rules to ensure you’re not removed from the platform. Remember, by simply using LinkedIn you agree to the site’s policies. Here are a few key changes to take note of:

  • Use only your real name! Any member using false names, business names, email addresses, advertising tactics, etc. as their LinkedIn name will be in breach of the new terms.
  • Restated “Contacts Information” section … that clarifies how LinkedIn collects information that you sync (including your address book) and how the site uses this information.
  • Added an explanation of sponsored content that will show in your network update stream, which will permit social gestures (such as “like”) that will be visible to other LinkedIn members.

2) Profile Visual Updates. LinkedIn is working hard to emphasize visual content by allowing members to use both videos and images on their profile page. Visuals can be added to the summary, work experience, and education sections. Here are a few ways to enhance your profile with this update:

  • Use images that showcase what you do in your summary and work experience. This will catch the viewer’s eye.
  • Upload short videos of your work. Be creative and think of different ways video can showcase your talent.
  • Include colorful infographics to show your career path in a creative way.

3) Tagging. Another significant LinkedIn change mirrors other popular social networks. Members can now tag both businesses and people in their status updates on LinkedIn. This is a perfect way to expand your network, highlight people and companies you’re referencing and grab the attention of those you hope to engage with. Whenever you tag a person or company, they will be notified by email – creating a fantastic opportunity to build new relationships.

4) LinkedIn’s More Accessible. Some of the changes you’re seeing are an effort by LinkedIn to increase accessibility. A new layout, enhanced colors and more visuals have been implemented to help members more easily navigate and engage on the platform. These changes include real-time notifications, increased email alerts and dialog boxes.

Updated LinkedIn tool bar.

Updated LinkedIn tool bar.

While some of these changes may seem strange at first, don’t shy away from using them. Take the time to explore how these changes can improve your visibility.

5) Sponsored Content. Many of the changes to LinkedIn’s Privacy Policy are connected to the site’s new sponsored-content efforts. Sponsored content will appear in members’ LinkedIn feeds, similar to promoted tweets on Twitter. People will be able to engage with sponsored content through likes, comments and sharing. Sponsored content opens many doors for companies to leverage LinkedIn’s network of 200 million+ users – so if you’re using LinkedIn for business, like RingCentral does with its Company Page, you may want to investigate your sponsorship options.

Have you started to notice that LinkedIn looks different? Tell us how you’re leveraging the changes!