We have Facebook and Twitter, perhaps hundreds of thousands of forums and websites pertaining to our business niche, email, text messaging, phones – why should we use LinkedIn? Is it not just another website that will take our or our marketing team’s time up?
The value of LinkedIn, for many, is not the quality of the site or the tools, but the user-base. LinkedIn is only of interest to people who are looking to meet other business contacts, make sales, and keep up with technology and news in their specific niche. Due to the perceived higher level of professionalism on LinkedIn when compared to larger or less specialized websites, it has allowed more higher level business contacts to join. Many business types are happy with the idea of a professional online business card exchange, but would not post on a site like Twitter which contains all and sundry.
People are much more likely to work with someone or their company if they know and trust them. This can be possible by making more connections through LinkedIn. If you become a more prominent member of the LinkedIn elite, then your company will appear more trustworthy, and will gain a lot more visibility.
The LinkedIn website is currently given quite a high ranking by Google, and it is entirely possible that shortly after creating your LinkedIn profile for your company that it will appear high up in the rankings if someone searches for your business name. You also have a lot of control over this page, so you can use it as a quick way to cheekily appear high up in the rankings and get your message across. You can then link the customer to your website. This is most powerful for people who work as individuals under their own name but their name is relatively common and is not reflected in their website domain name.
LinkedIn is a goldmine of information for the job seeker. You can perform searches on the company you are interviewing for, as well as look up information on those who are interviewing you. You could drill down to see which companies they used to work for, who their colleagues were, etc. Be aware that as your profile becomes more full and you have a larger number of connections that this process could also be performed on you.
LinkedIn’s future is still unknown; so many other high profile social networking sites have gone under as people move to Facebook or Twitter. Both of these sites could be seen as imposing on LinkedIn’s niche, but due to their most intrinsic features they both cannot quite offer the same options for professionals as LinkedIn itself. The professional social networking site may just be here to stay.