LinkedIn routinely gets mentioned in the same breath as other social media platforms, but is distinctly different from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others. Conceived as a professional network rather than a social network, LinkedIn has stayed true to its mission of helping the world’s professionals become more productive and successful.
Here are some of the many good reasons for using LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has become your de facto professional identity. It is one of the first places the people will search for information about you when considering any type of business relationship. Consequently your LinkedIn Profile often is the first impression that others will have of you as a professional.
It offers you the opportunity to showcase your brand and company through a variety of media including text, audio, video and slide presentations. In so doing LinkedIn enables you to present a complete picture of the value you provide to your audience within a platform where members routinely search for products and services. LinkedIn also gives you an easy way to show social proof, particularly for your personal brand, through Recommendations and Endorsements.
You can effectively leverage your existing network in ways that were not possible in the Rolodex days. A seemingly simple, yet powerful aspect of LinkedIn is the ability to search your 1st degree connections by keyword and other parameters. For example, rather than asking a client if they know anyone who might benefit from your services, you can search their connections and request introductions to specific individuals that fit your ideal prospect profile.
LinkedIn is an excellent source of business intelligence for information on your industry, competitors, prospects, potential employers and employees and others. There are Groups for every industry which offer an excellent way to keep up with developments and get questions answered. In addition, an abundance of information is available from Status Updates, Publisher posts and member comments.
You can use it as part of your strategy to demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as a thought leader. You can answer questions posed in Groups, post insights as Updates or as long form content through the newly expanded Publisher feature. You now have the ability to publish to the entire LinkedIn community and build a following even beyond those in your own LinkedIn network.
As a search engine, it gives you the opportunity to be found by those looking for what you offer. This is why optimizing your Profile with keywords is so important.
Conversely, LinkedIn also facilitates the process of finding the resources you need through the use of keyword searches by Contacts, Jobs, Articles, Companies, Industries, Location and other parameters.
As a news aggregator for the topics you select, LinkedIn Pulse helps you keep up with current events and thinking.
It enables you to market to an audience of business professionals (and aspiring business professionals) both softly through Status Updates and posts in Groups, as well as more aggressively through the use of paid advertising.
These are a few of the ways that LinkedIn helps you become more effective in your chosen profession. Please feel free to add others in your comments.