Most people who are part of the business world—and many people who aren’t—have a profile on LinkedIn. At some point, they likely heard that it was important to join and use LinkedIn for networking and, if necessary, finding a new job, so they spent a few minutes and signed up for a free account.
Why use LinkedIn?
It can help with networking. Especially if you’re not much for schmoozing with people in person, LinkedIn can help you build a virtual network of contacts. While it’s easy to lose a business card, a contact in LinkedIn will always be there. This could prove valuable if you are looking for a job at some point in your career.
Groups provide support. LinkedIn offers interest-based and professional groups, which can be “a great place to connect with like-minded people and share your thoughts, start a discussion or simply ask for help,” according to an article from Max Marketing. “You can join up to 50 groups, and this often helps to grow your network and again reach out beyond your normal circles. Oh yes, if you can’t find a group that suits you, then start one!”
Recruiters use it. According to an article from The Balance Careers, hiring managers really do use LinkedIn to search for potential job candidates. Even if you’re happy in your current position, a presence on LinkedIn can ensure that you don’t miss an even better opportunity. “Having a LinkedIn account also means that you can use the site to research companies, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers—this is helpful before submitting applications and showing up to interviews,” the article said.
It shows what others think of you. When you’ve got an active profile on LinkedIn, you’re not only promoting yourself. As noted in a Forbes article, “It helps to get others to help you tout your accomplishments. There are two ways LinkedIn lets you validate what you say about yourself —endorsements and recommendations. These features make you more credible to those who are checking you out. Just be sure to get endorsements for key skills and have recommendations from respected leaders in your industry.”
You can build your personal or business brand. LinkedIn provides an excellent platform for developing and strengthening your brand. It can increase your visibility as an individual, even as it allows you to raise your company’s profile. Again, this tool must be used wisely, but it is available to you.
It may allow you to generate leads relatively cheaply. Marketing can be expensive. Using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool could be a big help, according to a post on the Jeff Bullas blog. “With over 332 million members across 110 different industries and 200 countries it’s never been easier to search, find, and connect with thousands of potential clients without burning a hole in your marketing budget,” the post says.
News and business posts can be informative and inspirational. While other social media platforms tend to focus on people’s personal lives, LinkedIn’s emphasis is on the professional. It features business news, as well as motivational or educational articles on various topics. If you follow the right people and organizations, you can learn quite a bit with some brief daily scrolling.
Whether you’re an individual looking to build your network or a business owner hoping to do some inexpensive marketing, you may find help through LinkedIn. As with any social network, you’ll need to make sure you use it wisely and don’t waste too many hours scrolling through your feed. But if you can exercise that self-control, a small investment of time or money on the site could bring rich dividends for your career or business.