As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn is used by individuals and companies for “networking, job searching, hiring, company research, and connecting with affiliates.”
There are two types of accounts: personal (free to join) and business (charged either monthly or yearly). The main difference between these is the ability to send InMails, which are essentially emails. InMails are the reason that LinkedIn users rarely have spam. Since InMails cost money to send, they deter trolls.
Another common misconception is that anyone can see your personal information. This is false. The information shared is usually the type of information that’s already available on the Internet. Furthermore, LinkedIn gives you the option to make connections, or people you have some kind of a relationship with, private. Users can invite anyone regardless if they are a user or not to become a connection.
The final complaint people generally have is that LinkedIn replaces real relationships with virtual relationships. Also not true. Just as people use radios and mp3 players differently, the way they interact with people online and offline also differs. LinkedIn is just a medium for former coworkers or classmates to keep in touch.
LinkedIn offers three main services:
- Power your career
- Get answers
Basically, LinkedIn simplifies job searching. Every LinkedIn user creates a profile with information like education level, work experience, and other accomplishments. Since corporations have a greater chance of finding the right candidates if there is more information available on their page, LinkedIn facilitates this process by providing a checklist to help their users build a successful professional profile.
What’s great about this service is that it greatly reduces the amount of time spent on finding a job or finding an employee. It’s much easier to narrow your search digitally via the “online resume” than it is to comb though ads for job openings or hundreds of resumes.
In addition, LinkedIn also facilitates Business to Business marketing. Exposure, whether from advertising or just plain word-of-mouth, is directly related to a company’s success. Since connections are seen by everyone, it’s easy to discover people in other fields.
How has LinkedIn changed business?
For one, it’s ideal for smaller corporations that don’t have the resources to find and recruit talent. LinkedIn currently has 175 million registered users in over 200 countries, and getting access to the site is as easy as creating an account.
Furthermore, it’s a way to find the occasional “passive candidate,” someone who has a LinkedIn profile and isn’t actively looking for a job, but wouldn’t necessarily turn down a job offering.
But the most important feature of LinkedIn? Beyond recruiting and promotion, it has also spurred entrepreneurship. Take the Groups function for instance. There are thousands of these communities in every industry imaginable. Commenting in group discussions help visibility, which often leads to new business inquiries.
Like most social networks, LinkedIn can also be accessed on-the-go with mobile apps for Apple products, Android, Windows, and Blackberry.
No wonder LinkedIn is four times better than Twitter and seven times better than Facebook in terms of B2B leads.