Do you like and use the LinkedIn App?

Because I'm frequently asked this question during the Q&A portion of iStock_000051911996Smallmy LinkedIn events, I figured it might be on your mind as well. Thus, here are my thoughts on the opportunities and shortcomings of LinkedIn mobile.

LinkedIn mobile is not just the LinkedIn App

There are currently seven apps in the suite of apps (not all are available for all types of mobile devices):

  • LinkedIn. This is the light version of the LinkedIn site.
  • Connected. This is a daily listing of your connections who have anniversaries, birthdays, job changes, or are quoted in the news.
  • Job Search. This enables you to search and apply for jobs posted on LinkedIn, plus it has a few other job search goodies.
  • Pulse. This is your custom newsfeed from thousands of sources.
  • SlideShare. With this you can view millions of slide presentations in the palm of your hand.
  • Recruiter. This is only available to people who have upgraded to the Recruiter premium membership.
  • Sales Navigator. This is only available to people who have upgraded to the Sales Navigator premium membership.

LinkedIn mobile has real value

The LinkedIn app is very useful when I see people in a room or at the airport and can't remember either their name or other important information about them. If I remember something about them (name, where they work, etc.), I can search and find their profile. Then when I approach them, I can say something like, Hi Joe. How are things at Harley-Davidson? It's the perfect way to jog my 57-year-old memory.

In addition, I scroll through my update feed when burning time in waiting rooms or airports. Then I share, "like," or comment on information I see--which is always a good thing to do.

I also consistently use it to check out company page information. While sitting in the company's parking lot before a meeting, I can use the company page to see everyone at the company who is in my network. This has helped me launch into some great conversations and given me immediate credibility with the folks I was meeting with.

The Connected app is a very efficient Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 9.07.32 AMway to make sure you don't miss the most important happenings of the people in your network. Once you've tried it, it's easy to become addicted to this app!

LinkedIn mobile has its limitations

Okay. Let's be real. Can we really expect to be able to do everything on our little phone that we can do on our laptop or desktop computer, especially the very complex things? I'm pretty sure some day we will, but in the meantime the biggest miss for me is the inability to do any advanced searching with the LinkedIn app.

Also, be careful when using the LinkedIn app in the following ways:

1.  Try not to use the app to send outgoing invitations to join your network. You can now customize the invitation, but it's hard to figure out how to do it. Therefore, most people will simply click the green check box and send the standard invitation--and you know how much I despise the standard invitation! 

2.  There are lots of truncated sections on the mobile app; in other words, it says Click to see more. Thus, it's important to be sure you put the most important information in the first sentence or two of each section. This is especially important for the Summary section on your personal profile and the Company Description section on your company page. Clearly describe what you and your company do. The fact that Grandpa started the joint in 1919 and then your dad took over in 1957 is great information and should be shared but not right up front in either of these sections.

3.  Even though you are now able to make profile changes using the app, I highly recommend you avoid doing this. It's hard to tell what it will actually look like on the site, and grammar and spelling errors are more likely to occur. Stick to making profile changes on your desktop or laptop, and then be sure to check out how those changes look on the app.

4.  If you are using a tablet, I suggest you access the regular site and not the app, because the larger screen will enable you to see most of the information. However, sometimes buttons won't work on your tablet (for example, when you try to "like" something). There are some inconsistencies that you just have to live with.

LinkedIn mobile is going to be an increasingly important part of the LinkedIn experience

With LinkedIn usage on mobile approaching 50%, you can be sure these apps will continue to be revised and improved, maybe even more often than the site itself. Keep up to date with these changes, and diligently spend time on the app and the site to be sure your brand is represented well no matter which tool people are using to check you out.