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Is LinkedIn Actually Becoming the Facebook for Professionals? And Other Hot Topics

savelocal-best-customersLinkedIn? It’s like Facebook, but for professionals.

It’s a comparison that people love to make when asked the question: what is LinkedIn?

And it’s a comparison that LinkedIn liked to avoid … until this week.

Find out which two features you may recognize from Facebook that are on their way to LinkedIn.

Plus, Instagram and its 80 million users are finally part of the Facebook family.

Read about these top stories and more in this week’s news roundup.

1. LinkedIn introduces new notifications stream

Less than two months after giving its homepage a much needed facelift, LinkedIn made another big announcement by introducing a brand new notifications stream for users. LinkedIn users may recognize the notification stream from Facebook, which has been providing user notifications for some time.

The notifications feature—rolling out to all LinkedIn users in the coming weeks—will let you know in real-time when someone likes what you’ve shared on LinkedIn, views your profile, or accepts your invitation.

Notifications will also be available on the LinkedIn mobile app.

Bottom Line: Notifications should prove to be valuable for both LinkedIn users and LinkedIn itself. The benefits for users are obvious: bringing all your activity into one central location and making sure you never miss a thing. For LinkedIn, it will boost traffic and drive engagement on the site and its mobile app.

2. LinkedIn Company Pages get a redesign and go mobile

If introducing notifications wasn’t enough, LinkedIn also announced this week that they are redesigning Company Pages and giving them a banner photo (or as Facebook calls it, a cover photo). The goal of the redesign is to give businesses the opportunity to use pictures to represent their brand, rather than the text-heavy layout that LinkedIn users have gotten used to.

Users will also now be able to see Company Pages and receive Page notifications on LinkedIn’s mobile app.

Bottom Line: It’s no secret that social media has become a much more visual medium for small businesses. Whether it’s Facebook’s switch to Timeline or the surge in popularity of sites like Instagram and Pinterest—the influence of pictures is showing up everywhere.

The newly redesigned Company Pages will be rolling out to all businesses in the coming weeks.

Here is some inspiration from other small businesses with awesome Facebook cover photos.

3. Instagram is officially part of Facebook

It’s official! Facebook’s highly publicized acquisition of Instagram was finalized this week at a final price of $751 million. The Instagram team will be making the move to Facebook’s headquarters but its 80 million users can rest assured that Instagram won’t be going anywhere.

Today, Instagram is the 56th most popular site in the U.S., with 22.7 million monthly unique visitors. That’s up from 16.5 million in just one month. It has added 50 million users since last April, and in less than two years its users have shared more than 5 billion photos.

Bottom Line: For Instagram, this is an opportunity to continue the incredible growth they have already seen with the support of the world’s largest social network. For Facebook, it’s an opportunity to work with the Instagram team to bring improvements to its own mobile experience.

4. Twitter will now let you embed your entire timeline

A new feature from Twitter will now let users embed their entire timeline onto any website, blog, or individual post. While Twitter users had previously only been able to embed individual tweets, they can now add an interactive timeline to any page, which will update in real time.

Bottom Line: Embedding your timeline onto a website or in a blog post is a great way to drive engagement for your brand on Twitter and add a new dimension to any webpage. What’s even cooler is the new embedded timelines will be interactive—letting people who visit your website retweet, reply, or choose your favorite tweets without having to leave your page.

(Still have questions about embedded timelines? Check out this blog post from Twitter.)

5. 73% of Fortune 500s have an active Twitter account 

Fortune 500 companies are finally catching on to the power of social media—and Twitter is leading the way. According to a recent study from the University of Massachusetts, 73% of Fortune 500 companies now have a presence on Twitter, compared to Facebook at 66%. Both networks saw growth with F500 companies from last year with 11% more companies tweeting and 8% more posting on Facebook.

The use of video and blogging also seem to be gaining interest: with 62% of the top 500 companies having a presence on YouTube and 28% managing a public facing blog.

Check out the complete results.

Bottom Line: Whether you’re a small, medium, or large-size business—social media is a powerful tool for growing your brand and engaging your customers. While Twitter is leading the way for Fortunate 500 companies, 75% of small businesses actually find Facebook to the most effective network for growing their brands.

Still trying to figure out how to pick the right network for your business? Here’s how to do it.

What do you think of all the changes for LinkedIn? Tell us in the comments.

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