What is LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a Social Networking platform aimed at the business community. Since starting in 2003, it’s membership has grown to around 500 million across 200 countries. Microsoft bought it in 2016.
What does LinkedIn offer?
- Demonstrate your skills, experience and expertise, build your credibility
- Raise your personal profile
- Promote your business and it’s expertise
- Network, build relationships with potential customers, suppliers, associates and partners
- Recruit staff
- Look for a new jobs
- Build relationships and connections
The starting point is your personal profile. This is an enhanced version of your CV, include details of successes and achievements. You can attach videos, features and articles. It’s highly likely potential new clients will check your profile, before meeting or doing business with you.
Seek endorsements and recommendations from colleagues, these provide third party support for your profile.
Building your Network
LinkedIn uses the term connection for your contacts, classified into three categories as follows.
- 1st degree – People directly associated with you such as people who you have worked with. You can connect to these directly.
- 2nd degree – These are 1st degree contacts of your 1st degree contacts
- 3rd degree – People connected to your 2nd degree contacts
When you search for someone, the connection degree is shown next to their name. Depending on the degree of the new contact and their settings, you can either invite them simply using the “Connect” button or by using InMail.
Groups exist for just about every industry imaginable. By joining a group you can share knowledge with other experts. A group is another way you can recruit others into your network.
You can share articles you upload to your LinkdIn with your network and groups you belong to.
Free and Enhanced Subscriptions
The free subscription will covers the needs for many small businesses. It does though have restrictions, you cannot send InMail to build connections and the number of searches per month for examples is limited. Premium plans give you more access to information. There are four types on offer:
- Career – if you are looking for a job
- Business – primarily to grow your network
- Sales – for lead generation
- Hiring – if you are looking for staff
Business for example, lets you send 15 InMail messages to people beyond you normal reach. You get unrestricted views on who is looking at your profile and unlimited people searches. After signing up for a free subscription, a free Premium trial is often offered allowing you to judge it’s value.