When it comes to social media, LinkedIn hasn’t always been perceived as the most exciting place to visit.

It’s not their fault. After all, it’s not easy to make an online resume, which is primarily how a lot of LinkedIn users use the site, any more exciting, interesting, or engaging than it already is.

But this week, LinkedIn introduced a new feature that could completely change the way we think about the professional social network. With the introduction of photos, videos, presentations, and other rich media, LinkedIn users now have a whole new way to showcase their talents to their network of social connections.

Also, did you know that YouTube users watch more than 6 billion hours of video every single month? It’s true!

Take a break from all those viral videos and get caught up with this week’s hottest marketing news stories in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. LinkedIn now lets you showcase your ability with pictures and video

LinkedIn is rolling out a new feature that will allow you to upload photos, videos, and presentations in each section of your LinkedIn profile.

The new feature, which was announced this week and will be rolling out LinkedIn users in the coming weeks, is designed to give professionals on the platform a new tool for showcasing their work and ability.

Visual content can be added to your summary, work experience, and education section on the site, and can come from your computer or from the web.

Bottom Line: No matter what industry you work in, the addition of visual content is good news for any professional on LinkedIn. Rather than just being an interactive social resume, LinkedIn is quickly becoming a social portfolio where professionals can showcase their work and their experience in a whole new way.

As for the future of LinkedIn, here’s what Udi Milo, a Product Manager at LinkedIn had to say about the addition of visual content:

“This is just a glimpse of what’s possible. We look forward to finding new ways to bring this type of rich media across your LinkedIn experience. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.”

2. More than 6 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month

YouTube hit another impressive milestone this week, announcing that users are now watching more than 6 billion hours of videos per month.

According to YouTube, this number represents a 50% increase from the number of hours video users watched per month back in May 2012. It is up substantially from January, when YouTube announced users were watching 4 billion hours of video each month.

Bottom Line: People aren’t just watching the latest viral videos; they’re also watching clips from their favorite businesses and organizations.

If you haven’t started experimenting with online video, now might be the time. The good news is you don’t need a fancy production crew or a big budget to do it. You just need a good story and a smartphone or digital camera.

Ready to get started? Download our free guide Show It, Don’t Tell It: How to Use Video to Engage with Your Customers, Members, and Prospects.

3. Almost half of mobile users rely on their devices for local purchase decisions

According to the second annual U.S. Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study, 46% of smartphone and tablet users say that their mobile device is their primary or default tool for making local purchase decisions.

What exactly does “local” mean to these participants? According to the report, 60% of those surveyed said that they expect businesses to be within walking or driving distance from their location.

Here are a few more interesting takeaways from the report:

  • 50% of mobile owners use their device at the beginning of the research process
  • 60% of smartphone users and 53% of tablet users completed purchases related to their mobile activity
  • 74% of smartphone users make their purchases offline or in-store

Bottom Line: With 133.7 million people in the U.S. currently using smartphones, local searches and the ways people find businesses in their community has undergone a dramatic change.

In a recent survey of small business owners, 62% said that they think it is important to be seen on major mobile apps. Of those surveyed, 85% said they believe more people will find their business on mobile sites in the future.

As the number of people relying on their mobile devices to find local businesses continues to rise, businesses that have a strategy for getting discovered will have a real advantage. Find out how one local restaurant took control of the information consumers were finding online.

4. Small business owners say mobile devices are vital to their business

According to new data from AT&T, smartphone usage for small businesses in the U.S. has doubled in the last five years. In a new survey of 1,000 business owners, 85% said they use smartphones to help run their business.

Tablet usage is also on the rise, with 69% of business owners with less than 50 employees now using them to help run their business. Of these mobile business owners, 63% said that operating without these devices would be a major challenge.

Bottom Line: The fact is, devices like smartphones and tablets have changed the way we view the world and manage our day-to-day responsibilities. And while all this technology can sometimes overwhelm us, with the right tools, they can simplify our lives.

That is certainly the case when it comes to your online marketing efforts. Whether it’s helping you grow your email list or making it easier for you to collect, create, and share great content, smartphones and tablets can be a huge help when marketing your small business.

5. Instagram adds phototagging for brands and personal pages

Instagram introduced a new feature this week that will allow you to tag other Instagram users when publishing a new photo with the photo-sharing app.

Just like on Facebook, the new Instagram feature called Photos of You will let you tag other users with a quick touch of the screen.

Tagged photos will now appear in a new section of your Instagram profile and won’t be displayed in your main photo feed. You will not be able to tag other people’s images, only your own.

Bottom Line: Instagram is a great tool for showcasing your store, products, and services, but also the people who make your business what it is.

Instagram is a fantastic place for you to show your audience who you are and what you do. Take pictures of your staff doing what they do every day. Take pictures of your volunteers working hard for the cause. Go behind the scenes to show your personality and what you stand for.

Tagging lets you show who these people are and gives you another tool for building a community around your business or organization.

What news stories caught your eye this week? Let us know in the comments below.