LinkedIn is one of the few social networks to have markedly divergent versions for desktop, phone, and tablet. The desktop version remains the most robust experience, but with nearly one third of its users interacting via mobile, LinkedIn will continue to evolve its mobile products.

Here is a rundown of the best features of each version, and best practices for using them. It is worth noting that all LinkedIn apps are free.

Customizing LinkedIn invitations

LinkedIn’s default invitation reads:

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

It’s best to add some context to invitations, particularly if you don’t already have an offline relationship with the potential contact.

Hi, John. I see we were both at Vassar in 1988. I’m living in the Westchester area now and would like to get in touch professionally via LinkedIn.

Adam, I was referred to you by Martha Stone, who also works for your company. I’d like to add you to my professional contacts on LinkedIn.


Desktop

LinkedIn’s desktop version enables nearly all the features that the network provides. It is the only platform where users can:

Best practice for desktop: Always use LinkedIn on your desktop when sending invitations to connect. Mobile versions use LinkedIn’s default text and do not allow you to customize the invitation.

Device (iPhone, Android phone, and Blackberry)

The upgraded LinkedIn app for iPhone and Android, released in April 2013, features a sleek design, intuitive interface, dynamic content feed, and nearly all the interactive features of the desktop version. Users can easily toggle between a menu of features and the dynamic, personalized stream. Features include:

  • Companies you’re following
  • Your groups
  • Groups you administer
  • LinkedIn News
  • Jobs
  • Profile updates

LI-Iphone
The most powerful feature of LinkedIn’s mobile apps is the calendar. Say, for example, you are attending a meeting or industry conference, and you would like a preview of who will be there. LinkedIn’s mobile apps can sync with your device calendar to incorporate rich LinkedIn profile data about each attendee. You can learn what you have in common — such as connections, work experiences, and schools — and you’ll have more to talk about than the weather when you meet them. Added bonus: Their LinkedIn photos can help you find them more easily!

For Blackberry users, a more limited app will have to suffice. The latest release allows users to share their LinkedIn updates on their BlackBerry Messenger profile and follow company updates.

Best practice for devices: The combination of a synced, data-rich calendar with a dynamic content feed makes LinkedIn for iPhone and Android as addictive as Twitter and Tumblr, particularly if you’re already a fan of LinkedIn updates and news. Use it to keep track of your connections and the companies you follow. The clean, graphic layout, horizontal and vertical swipe navigation, and expanded features make this a “must have” app for iPhone and Android users.

Tablet (iPad, Android)

LinkedIn has shown little love for its tablet apps as of this writing. Unlike the redesigned device apps for iPhone and Android, the tablet apps have remained essentially unchanged since the spring of 2012. The tablet apps do feature the same calendar sync as the device apps.

Best practice for tablets: Do your intel on upcoming meetings by viewing the profiles of attendees on LinkedIn. Bring your tablet to the meeting, and use it for something more productive, like taking notes.