I recently had a discussion with a colleague about the benefits of LinkedIn. I believe that LinkedIn is an effective marketing tool, while my colleague said that it was best used for job searches. Who is more correct? Let me start be stating that I acknowledge that LinkedIn is a good tool to use in a job search. You can connect with professionals you may not have met and companies you are interested in; you can post and request recommendations; if you fill out your profile, companies may find you; and you can get e-mail alerts of job openings. Some say it is the most important tool today for job searches.
But I also think itâs a marketing tool. A study done by HubSpot a few years ago concluded that LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than other social networks. First, I like the fact that LinkedIn provides information about people that you might not otherwise be able to find. Most of us know that search engines such as Google are good ways of finding information about people. The problem, however, is if that person has not posted online nor has any stories written about them, you might not find any information. In some cases, LinkedIn is the only way you might find and communicate with someone.
Second, like other social media tools, LinkedIn keeps track of your connections and recommends people who have similar contacts. Not only do they keep track of your circle but they also recommend those people who are in similar circles of interest and make it easy to invite them into your contact list.
Third, if you’re a salesperson they can also help you understand a company and staff.Â One of my favorite features is the ability to post status updates, blog postings, and recommendations from customers.Â I have to admit that I am a little on the fence about monitoring and participating in the LinkedIn Groups. I belong to many of them, and Iâve contributed to a great deal of conversations. But in all honesty, Iâm not sure if that was a good or bad use of my time.
But the one feature that I like best in LinkedIn is the âwho has viewed your profileâ list. In fact, I like that feature so much, I have joined as a Premium Member to better learn who has viewed my profile. Most people associate premium membership with job searches because you can sort job listings by salary, search for businesses that hire from particular schools, and see salary estimates for particular jobs.
For me however, the benefits of premium membership are different. When I look at âwho has viewed your profile,â I typically find itâs people I donât know who have read something online or people who are searching for someone they hope has an answer to a problem they are having. Either way, it is an opportunity to open a dialogue with a new client.Â With one click, you can send a message to that person which may result in new business.Â For anyone interested, there are good articles on how to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool.
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