LinkedIn recently implemented a mention functionality aimed at improving and increasing user interaction throughout the professional social network. This new update was available to select users during the first week of April and updates continue to roll out to all English-speaking LinkedIn users. Global members will also be included in a future launch.
Mentions Hope to Increase Conversations
If your news feed is similar to mine, there probably aren’t a whole lot of conversations happening. I often see connections posting their own professional news or sharing relevant news and opinions, but rarely do I see comments on these posts. Mentions are meant to change that.
The new feature is similar to mentions and replies already used on the top 2 social networks, Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter users can mention and reply to other uses using the “@” symbol. These interactions appear in a different section of the network, depending on which version of Twitter you use. On the Twitter homepage, mentions appear in the “@Connect” tab while on apps this section might just be called “@Mentions.”
Facebook’s popular mention feature allows users to tag other users in their status updates and comments. Again, the “@” symbol is used to begin the tagging and mention process. These mentions make it easier for users engaged in the same conversation to indicate the user(s) they are responding to within the post.
According to the official blog post announcement by LinkedIn’s Angela Yang, the goal of LinkedIn’s mentions feature is to start conversations and share knowledge with other users. The feature will help users become more engaged with one another. These stronger connections will further develop a professional’s specialties and knowledge base by encouraging them to consistently discuss ideas, opinions and industry news.
How Do Mentions Work?
I’m pretty disappointed that a few weeks after the announcement, my account still hasn’t received the mentions update. But if your account has received the update, or will in the future, here’s a rundown on how exactly the mentions feature will work on the desktop version of LinkedIn.
To mention a LinkedIn user in a status update, simply begin typing your update. When you’re ready to mention an individual or company, start typing their name as it appears on the social network. Be aware that in order to mention a user in a status update post, they must be one of your first-degree connections. This will trigger a dropdown box where you’ll be able to click on the correct connection you wish to mention.
You can also mention users who are not a first-degree connection when they are engaged in a conversation that appears on your LinkedIn homepage. When responding to a comment, follow the same procedure and begin to type the user’s name. This user will then appear in a similar drop down box, but they will instead fall under a participant subcategory rather than under the connection subcategory.
Users who are mentioned in status updates and comments will be notified in the LinkedIn notification bar. According to the blog post and complimenting slideshow, these notifications will be delivered to users in real-time. This real-time notification will hopefully encourage users to converse with their connections, much like commenting is done on Facebook.
When to Use LinkedIn Mentions
Although the new mention feature seems to be a useful tool, you might be wondering how you can actually implement it during your everyday social media activities.
Like the example shown in the LinkedIn slideshow, mentions can be used to communicate a useful link or article to co-workers and other professional connections.
Mentions can also be used to acknowledge the success of your peers. For example, if your supervisor just won a prestigious industry award, you can mention their name and your company in a LinkedIn status update. This will send your supervisor a real-time notification and chances are, they’ll be flattered that you decided to publicly congratulate them while promoting your brand.
Mentions in comment threads can also be helpful when reading and logically ordering conversations between several different users. If you wish to reply directly to a user’s comment, you can mention their name and let them know if you agree or disagree. But always remember that even though you are mentioning another user, your comments are still public and viewable in the public conversation.
Mentions Sync with Twitter
If the users involved in your conversation have their Twitter accounts synced through LinkedIn, your mentions can also appear on your Twitter feed. Instead of displaying a user’s full name like it would on the LinkedIn feed, the user’s name will be translated to their Twitter username.
With the addition of mentions, LinkedIn has jumped on another part of the social media bandwagon. I, however, think it’s a great tool that I hope will increase meaningful conversations between professional connections.
Have mentions launched in your LinkedIn account yet? Do you plan to utilize them to target and converse with your connections?
About the Author:
Katie Elizabeth is a writer and social media consultant. She works with many different companies, including accredited online schools, real estate agencies, and small e-commerce sites. She enjoys traveling throughout the U.S. Follow her on Twitter.