Help, I’ve Reached My LinkedIn Commercial Use Limit

No Commercial Search

If you are like me and run a lot of searches on LinkedIn, eventually you are going to run into LinkedIn’s new commercial use limit.  This is a new ‘feature’ that LinkedIn quietly rolled out in January 2015 as a way to reign in users who are overusing their free LinkedIn accounts.  I just bumped into my limit yesterday and want to share my thoughts and offer a few ways to get around the limit.

When you reach the limit, this message box appears in your search results:

I did not even know that this meant and had to click through to the Learn more link to see what I had done.  LinkedIn still offers up four results for your search, but that’s it.  One nice “tongue-in-cheek” feature that I enjoy is that LinkedIn does personalize their error message to take out some of the sting.  In any case, my search capabilites are serious limited until the limit resets at the beginning of next month.

When you click on the Learn more link, you are taken to a LinkedIn landing page whichexplains the new policy:

“As part of our ongoing efforts to make search on LinkedIn more relevant and powerful for you, we’re increasing the visibility of your extended network in search. You’ll now be able to view full names and profiles for anyone in your extended network – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree – a level of visibility previously available only to paid subscribers. Previously, you would have only seen the first names with last names obfuscated for some search results, but you’ll now be able to see full names and profiles of all results. This will help you find even more of the people you’re looking for, and get yourself found more in return.”

Essentially, LinkedIn is trying to migrate more power users onto a higher paid subscription account.  When they use the term “Commercial”, they are referring to users who are using LinkedIn for recruiting or sales prospecting purposes – or what they assume are recruiting or prospecting purposes.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH LINKEDIN’S THINKING

No Quantification of Limit – LinkedIn has not identified how many searches are too many, and the limit may actually vary from person to person.  This lack of transparency is very annoying and frankly wrong in my mind.  LinkedIn says are that they warn you when you are within 30% of hitting your limit, but I either ignored or did not see that warning.

Job Seeker Premium Accounts Are Not Premium Enough – To make matters worse, I actually have a LinkedIn premium account, but I guess that is not enough.  I am currently paying $29.95 per month for a Job Seeker premium account, and I still bumped into the limit.   I guess the issue is that LinkedIn is assuming that the queries I run are for commercial purposes and not for background research on the jobs and companies I am interested in pursuing.  LinkedIn obviously wants me to pay more for my ‘commercial’ searches.

GETTING AROUND THE SEARCH LIMITATION
Here is how you get around the search limit without buying a premium subscription:

LinkedIn iPhone or iPad App – For some unexplainable reason (to me), the search results for me are not impacted when I conduct a search using the iPhone or iPad LinkedIn app.  Maybe I shouldn’t say this out loud, but it appears (for now) that you can search on your mobile or tablet device without running into the search limitation.  If you are not using these apps yet, this is a good reason to give them a test drive.

X-Ray Search Technique – The other alternative is to use one of the X-Ray Search techniques.  I wrote a post last year with a detailed explanation of how to use the X-Ray Search Technique to take advantage of LinkedIn’s public profiles.  Public LinkedIn profiles include /pub/ in their URL, and around 90% of all LinkedIn profiles have a public profile which can be searched using Google or Internet Explorer search.  Users can opt out of having a public profile, but you have to make a conscious choice under Privacy and Settings.

A simpler approach is to just start your query with “LinkedIn /pub” and then include your search phrases.  For example, I was looking for LinkedIn users yesterday who work at PwC in the social media space and I used the following simple query for my search:

While this approach is not as convenient as using Advanced Search in LinkedIn, it does yield results and actually returns more results than you may receive via LinkedIn.

 CONCLUSION

This new search limitation will definitely impact many in the recruiting, sales and marketing fields, and I am surprised that I have not seen more outrage at this policy.  The bottom line is that you will likely have to start paying to access LinkedIn features that were previously free to use.

Let me know your thoughts on Commercial Search limitations and how you are addressing it.

6 Tips For A Better LinkedIn Company Page — #SMSecrets

The Upload Campaign on the Slideshare blog for February is Social Media Secrets (#SMSecrets).

The purpose of the campaign addresses the issues of how do you use social media to stand out from the rest of the crowd?  What’s the best way to gain followers, start a conversation, and streamline it all, whether you’re representing a company or your own personal brand?

I just uploaded my submission for the month which is titled, “6 Tips for a Better LinkedIn Company Page” and also embedded it below. You can view the rest of the #SMSecrets uploads on Slideshare.

Using Psychology To Increase Customer Conversion

10 Ways to Convert More Customers Using Psychology

Every marketer needs an edge when it comes to converting leads into customers.  Gregory Ciotti of Helpscout recently published an infographic with his list of ten ways to use psychology to convert more customers.  The ideas range from making it easy for customers to get started by setting minimums to pairing urgency with follow-up.  The infographic with all ten ideas is presented below.

As one extra step in helping marketers and salesman improve their ethical persuasive efforts, Gregory also compiled a list of 10 must-know psychology studies in his 10 Ways to Convert More Customers (Using Psychology) resource.

What Companies Had the Best LinkedIn Company Pages in 2014?

Best LinkedIn Company Pages for 2014 Banner

LinkedIn announced the top 10 Company Pages for 2014 last week and only Dell repeated as a multiple year winner which points out how hard it is to be recognized in back-to-back years.  I am always interested in this award as the AppleOne Company Page I managed until the middle of this year was recognized for this distinction in 2013.

In the Slideshare presentation from LinkedIn which highlights the winners, a best practice or tip was identified for each company.  My favorite Company Page tips included:

  • Sponsor your best contest (i.e. spend money) to get wider distribution for your best posts
  • Pin an update to the top of your page to highlight your most valuable content
  • Make your posts stand out by posting images or rich media that is eye-catching

If you are looking for more ideas, you can also check out my blog post from July which identifies how your company can have a top 10 LinkedIn Company Page too.

You can view the entire list of 2014 winning companies in the attached Slideshare presentation or click on the links below to go directly to their Company Page.  If you manage a LinkedIn Company Page, you definitely need to check out what makes for a winning page.

Links to the Best LinkedIn Company Pages of 2014

  1. Dell
  2. Evernote
  3. Hootsuite Media Inc.
  4. Loreal
  5. Luxottica Group
  6. Marketo
  7. The Nature Conservancy
  8. Procter & Gamble
  9. Tesla Motors
  10. Wells Fargo

Hug Your Accountant Today

Today, November 10th, is International Accounting Day.  Since I started out my career as a Certified Public Accountant (or CPA) with KPMG, I have a fondness for the accounting profession and accountants in general.  Starting out in the accounting profession is a great way to begin any career and I continue to carry the lessons learned from those five years as a CPA to my current endeavors.  And my wife is still impressed every time I use the 10-key skills I learned when I am adding numbers into a spreadsheet.

According to the International Accounting Day website (yes, there really is one), this day in history goes back to the year 1494, when book titled Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita (Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion) by Luca Paciolli was published in Venice. This was the first book that contained an essay on double-entry bookkeeping and provided a base for other works on mercantile accounting. Without Luca Paciolli, accountants wouldn’t know that debits (assets) are on the left and credits (liabilities) are on the right.

The infographic below was compiled by Accountemps, a Robert Half subsidiary, and provides five surprising facts about the Accounting Profession.

Surprising Facts about the Accounting Profession

Salute and Support American Veterans

I ran across this great Infographic on the Raytheon website that discusses honoring military veterans in 2014 with a Week of Service.  As Veteran’s Day approaches next week, I wanted to share these facts about our American Veterans.

Raytheon Supports American Veterans

I Love My Fitbit

My Fitbit

My Fitbit Force

…and I want to be a beta product tester for the new Fitbit Surge!

Here’s why I would be a great choice as a beta tester:

  • I’m an early adopter and loyal customer – I’ve had a Fitbit since Christmas 2012 starting with the Fitbit One and then upgrading to the Fitbit Force in November 2013.
  • I’m a power user – Since I’ve been using Fitbit I have logged a lot of steps and miles with your product.  In 2013, I had just over 4 million steps which doesn’t count the couple of weeks where my Fitbit was drying out after getting washed.  So far in 2014, I have logged over 4.6 million steps and am on target to break 5.5 million steps.  I’m the kind of guy who will put the new Fitbit through it’s paces and will push the limits of your product.
  • I’ll share my experiences – I’m a social media guy and know how to get the word out.  I’m also a natural evangelist and you can be assured that I will tout the benefits of your product as often as possible – from every rooftop, tree, mountain and street corner.

I will be a great tester, ambassador and champion for your brand.  Wouldn’t a new Fitbit Surge look better on my wrist than my grungy old Fitbit Force?  So what do you think?  I’m your guy and I’m ready to start anytime.

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For those who may not know about Fitbit or its products, here is a short primer:

Fitbit’s family of fitness products that help people stay motivated and improve their health by tracking activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep.  The idea behind Fitbit is that it can track your activity with very little effort on your part (other than the activity part) and they have a great smartphone app and dashboard that syncs up your activity with their products.  Fitbit helps people maintain their fitness by turning fitness into a game and makes the tracking simple by providing the “wearable” technology that makes it all possible.

The Fitbit Dashboard is the best part and provides a lot of great information on your fitness and activity.  Here is what the dashboard looks like from a desktop computer.  The smartphone version is also very robust.

Fitbit Dashboard

Fitbit’s products are organized into these categories:

  • Everyday fitness – Zip, Flex, One and Charge
  • Active fitness – ChargeHR
  • Performance – Surge

Fitbit just announced the Charge, ChargeHR and Surge on October 27, 2014.  They will be available by year end or early 2015.  The ChargeHR and Surge will add 24/7 heart rate monitoring (without having to wear a strap) and smartwatch features like caller and text ID.  These new products will set the bar for wearable fitness devices.