Do you have a LinkedIn account but have no idea what it is good for? You are not alone. Many people who have created profiles on LinkedIn are not sure how to use the platform, or how much LinkedIn can impact their professional lives. In August of 2015 the Pew Research Center posted statistics on LinkedIn usage. The research shows:
- LinkedIn usage is greater among those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher
- LinkedIn usage is greater among those making $75,000 or more a year
- LinkedIn usage is greater among 50-64 year old professionals
According to Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and founder of LinkedIntoBusiness.com, 98% of recruiters and 85% of hiring managers use LinkedIn to find employee candidates. But social media platforms, like LinkedIn, can also hurt your chances of finding employment. A June 2014 Forbes Magazine article, by Laura Shin, reports that 1 in 3 employers have passed on hiring a candidate based on something they found on their social media pages. So be careful what you post, as you create your profile. Ten Simple Ways to make your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out, is a video, also from Forbes Magazine, that offers a quick tutorial on creating a professional profile.
Back to the question, LinkedIn…what is it good for? Employment is at the top of the list, but what if you are not looking for a job or trying to hire anyone? You might be surprised to learn what professionals are using LinkedIn to accomplish!
Networking – It is not what you know, it is who you know, right? Well, that may be not always be the case, but contacts are important, and your contacts on LinkedIn are stepping stones to other professionals. LinkedIn is much like an online business afterhours. The people you know introduce you to other professionals they know, you can then invite them to connect with you. You should be thoughtful and careful in making connections. In her May 2013 article, LinkedIn Networking 101: What Not To Do, Susan Ruhl states, “Networking is about establishing and maintaining a relationship with someone before you ask for help. The rules don’t change just because it is not face-to-face.” So beware of invitations from people you do not know, or ask for a favor right away. Invitations you should consider will include details, like how the person knows you, or reminds you of how you know them. “LinkedIn estimates that each connection you make is on average connected to 110 other professionals. These quality connections offer you more opportunities to drive your career and your business forward.
Trends & Tutelage – We never stop learning. Keeping up with trends will help you be successful. “I use LinkedIn to keep up with the changes in the accounting industry and further my career.” says CPA, Rob Bresnahan. LinkedIn offers many ways to learn about what is trending, and what industry leaders are saying. Members share insights and knowledge in over one million LinkedIn Groups, and LinkedIn Pulse is a way to find topics that interest you. LinkedIn also features LinkedIn Influencers, a designation given to approximately 500 professionals who’ve been invited to publish on LinkedIn. These Influencers include Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, and Guy Kawasaki. Like a magazine with contributing editors, LinkedIn works with Influencers to develop content that is relevant to members.
Marketing – Opportunities are never lost, someone will take the one you missed. Many use LinkedIn as an opportunity to market their products and services. According to a report by the Content Marketing Institute, LinkedIn states that 50% of members report they are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn. Buyers today are looking for trusted partners as much as the features and functions of the products they buy, and B2B buyers are using social media to make decisions, relying more on advice from peers and influencers than sales copy. Smart marketers know they need to see from the customer’s point of view, and educate buyers. Networking on LinkedIn can help you identify prospects and market to contacts who are truly interested in what you offer.
LinkedIn….what is it good for? Employment, Networking, Trends and Marketing are a few of the ways to use LinkedIn. As with anything, you get out of LinkedIn what you put in, so it is in your best interest to be authentic and genuine. LinkedIn and other social media platforms will enhance your career and your business if you are cautious, responsible and honest.