The Importance of Using LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is quite possibly one of the strongest online business tools available today. And so, I am constantly surprised when I find out people aren’t using it or barely using it. Here’s the truth: We live in an online world and if you’re in business you need to be on LinkedIn. That’s all there is to it.

Ok, point made. Blog done!

I wish it was that easy! If you’re not using LinkedIn regularly, then please continue reading to find out why you should be and how you can take advantage of it. And if you are using LinkedIn, then go ahead and forward this to everyone you know who isn’t!

LinkedIn is about networking

When LinkedIn started out, is was essentially an online resume. It was a place for you to advertise your skills and experience to potential hiring managers. Unfortunately, many people still think this is all it is. But I promise you it so much more!

LinkedIn is for networking. It’s to grow your online connections and your network. Even if you’re not looking for a job. If you are in any sort of business (or may ever be), you NEED to be on LinkedIn. This includes the unemployed, the college students, the stay-at-home moms, the self-employed, the business professionals, and even the business owners.

You never know when your situation may change or when you’ll need to call on an old acquaintance. I promise you, it will be a lot easier if you have stayed in contact with them through LinkedIn. And you never know when someone you know may know the key person you’re trying to connect with. LinkedIn puts those people in easy-to-understand relationships for you so that you can easily connect with key people.

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38 thoughts on “The Importance of Using LinkedIn

  1. Really great post Jenn!

    I’ve always been taught to be on as many platforms as possible. With that being said, I think the ultimate question most people have when engaging in social media marketing is….”where do I start?!!!!”

    For me personally I’ve gotten very comfortable filming quick videos and uploading them to YouTube. I’ll also stay in tact with Twitter and Facebook as much as possible too.

    LinkedIn however has been one of those platforms that I’ve just never really understood, nor have I ever made an effort to understand.

    I’ve always had this perception of the platform as something to be used by “super professionally” people you know?

    After this reading this post though, I’m sure I’ll take a look at it again.

    Thanks for the post! 😀

    – Chris

    • Thanks Chris! I’m so glad that this made you rethink LinkedIn.
      It is hard with so many platforms out there and the “need” to be on all of them. The reality is that there is only so much time in a day and we all have commitments and responsibilities. And, we all have our favorite platforms, which usually get the most of our attention.
      The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can really see drastic improvements by committing just a few more minutes a week to it. I set a goal to respond to at least one group post a week. That’s my only goal. If I achieve that, then I’m good! But when you do that, you get responses or other comments and then you start engaging more. Before you know it, you’ve got new people reaching out to you.
      Also, if you add a new connection on Twitter, look them up on LinkedIn. This is such an easy way to grow your connections. And it takes just a couple minutes.
      Good luck and I hope you find more value in LinkedIn going forward!

      • Add me on Facebook and let’s connect a bit more. I just found out that Linkedin actually just released an advertising platform. Can’t wait to check that out!

        Haha all of this linkedin talk is making me confused! I’ve got no idea what a group post is :/ lol

      • Yes, they are releasing the advertising platform too. It should prove interesting!
        LinkedIn has a ton of groups (under the Interests tab) for a variety of topics and niches. You can join up to 50 groups. I recommend joining as many as you like. People post articles, questions, polls, and other content to the groups to engage in discussion. You can “like” a post and/or you can add comments. It’s a great way to really get value out of LinkedIn.
        I would be happy to connect beyond here. Just so you know, I like to keep my personal Facebook for personal use only. However, I am happy to extend this connection to any other site. You can find my Facebook business page and other social media sites in the contact section of my blog. Please feel free to connect on any of those!

  2. Jen i agree with you that Linkedin is a powerful business and even with your best practices.
    But the sad reality is that linkedin is not really an interactive network, groups in many cases have become discussion farms, more discussions than comments.
    The inclusion of the influencers while it may provide some insights and some latest new or trends to follow has hurt the little connectivity that there was.
    unlike FaceBook or Twitter Linkedin is a very poor conversational tool. why no idea would love some of your comments.

    • Thank you for your perspective and I’m glad that you agree LinkedIn is a powerful business tool.
      I think that LinkedIn is as interactive as you make it. There are plenty of people who don’t use the platform regularly and who aren’t interactive. But the same can be said about any other platform as well, including Facebook and Twitter.
      I agree that the groups tend to be more discussions than comments, and I think that’s a good thing. I have made great connections through the conversations and discussions that have gone back and forth on various group posts. Just posting comments is fine, but it doesn’t generate thought processes and real interaction.
      And, while I agree that the influencers may not improve the connectivity, I definitely don’t think that they have hurt it. I think it gives people a chance to see what other influential people are saying in their respective industries. And education is the greatest tool we all can share.
      Personally, I find I get just as much, if not more, conversation on LinkedIn as I do on any other site.

  3. Great Post. I have had a hard time convincing some business associates in the past that LinkedIn is not like Facebook. I joined a few years ago, it is what you make of it, I have cultivated my business there and found LinkedIn to be an invaluable tool to do that and reconnect with past business associates. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

    • You are absolutely correct, Dan. LinkedIn is what you make of it. If you put time and energy into cultivating it, you will see rewards. I’m happy to hear it’s worked so well for you!

  4. Jenn, I have to make myself get on LinkedIn. I know it’s important, and I DO have an account there for over a year with a lot of followers, but I can’t seem to make myself use it! lol!

    I see LinkedIn as corporate America and I stay away from it…hippie style.

    • Haha! I can see how it might look more “corporate” than most sites. But, strangely, I’ve connected with more people through LinkedIn who are NOT corporate people. There are a lot of bloggers, stay-at-home-moms, entrepreneurs, etc. that are on there.

  5. I think you’ve said it all. I too, have run across people in the advertising/marketing field that have, well lack for a better word, lousy Linkedin profiles. Now, that just doesn’t make sense.

  6. Well done, I agree I’m always surprised when I encounter a professional adult who is not taking advantage of LinkedIn. Most of us make more job changes during our careers than our parents did, for example, so it’s a great tool for maintaining our network as everyone moves around, especially geographically.

    You hit on a big pet peeve of mine: People who send requests without a customized message. Doesn’t really bother me if I know the person fairly well, see them regularly, work with them today etc. It’s not as if I’ll wonder “why is this person contacting me?” Otherwise, when I’m sent a generic LinkedIn request from someone I don’t know I can’t help but suspect it’s a one-sided request. What is this person’s motivations, and what’s in it for me if I accept? I’m then forced to research the requester, and infer their intentions. I work for a very large company, and a good percentage of the time I conclude that the person is a vendor who wants me to introduce him/her to someone else at the firm — someone I probably don’t know anyway. I normally ignore those requests.

    • Thank you for your comments! You are correct that many of us do change jobs much more than previous generations. The advantage to that is all the great people and connections we make on that journey! And LinkedIn is a great way to maintain that network as we all move down different paths. Thanks for adding that thought!
      And, yes, I wish I could teach everyone to use personalized messages. I have to admit that I never used to use them but as soon as I did start using them, the connections grew quickly! Like you said, people don’t want to have to figure out how or why this person knows them or wants to connect. It’s so much easier if they just spell it out up front!
      Thanks for your comments!

  7. Got to this post through LinkedIn! Sean Gallahar posted it to the Social Media Marketing group. To be honest, I use LinkedIn mostly as a contact list/address book. I’m sure I can be more effective in using it as a productivity tool.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment! I’m so happy to have you here and that you found me through LinkedIn.
      LI is obviously a very good tool for a contact list/address book. If this is your primary use, make sure that you’re making good use of the notes in the relationship tab. When you go to someone’s profile that you’re connected to, you’ll see a tab labeled “Relationship” under their profile photo. If you click on this you can see how you are connected and how you have interacted in the past. You can also add notes to remind yourself of key interactions, conversations, etc. It’s a great way to really take advantage of the connection aspect.

      • That’s too bad. I don’t have the premium account so it’s not tied to that but I do know that LinkedIn is in the process of rolling out new features. It’s possible that you haven’t received this new feature yet. But stay on the look out for it. Hopefully you get it soon.

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  9. Thank you for the article as it removed my last ‘fears’ of being a job seeker in a new industry and new location. LinkedIn does seem to be ‘the’ network for professionals. Having moved from Hawaii to Florida, I am building a new network and for the first time establishing an on-line presence; and for the first time actually having to ‘look for a career’. Are their consultants who can help me regarding my profile (critiquing it) and what would you advise, if for example, an alumni association member with many connections does become my connection; how appropriate is it to ask them for help without actually having them know me personally? I feel I should somehow talk with them or somehow meet them prior to asking for an introduction. I have been a job seeker and have not had a single recruiter connect with me, so I must be doing something incorrectly.

    • First, I would like to congratulate you on taking the initiative to get your online presence established as you work towards a new career. This is a great thing to do.
      If you would like to connect with me on LinkedIn (and send me a message when you connect letting me know you’re coming from here), I would happy to do a quick review and critique of your profile for you.
      The rules for reaching out to people differ depending on who you talk to, how you’re connected, and how they feel about it. However, if you were to connect with other alumni members, I would at least reach out via LinkedIn and introduce yourself. Explain your situation, story, etc. and see if they are willing to volunteer to help you. If they are, great. If they don’t, then I wouldn’t push the issue. People don’t like to feel pressured into supporting others they don’t really know.
      I hope this helps get you started and I look forward to seeing you on LinkedIn.

    • Hi Morris! I’m glad you liked the article and I’m glad that we have connected on LinkedIn.
      To address your question here, I think that the value of a company page is dependent on your business, your goals, your customers, and your time.
      As with a business presence on any other site, I feel that the need for a company page is subjective and unique to every brand. If your primary clients/customers are active on LinkedIn, then having a company page could be beneficial. But you also have to have the time to commit to manage another profile. And, if your company is essentially a small business and you are the owner, your personal profile is likely one of the best ways to connect with people.
      Here’s my perspective – it’s imperative for ALL business people to have a LinkedIn profile but it is not imperative for all businesses to have company pages on LinkedIn.
      It’s up to your marketing team/social media strategist to determine the value for you and your company to have a company page on LinkedIn.

  10. Great post. I, too, found it via LinkedIn. I use the ipad app and love it, but I wish there was consistency across mobile and web.

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  13. Thank you Jenn and all who have commented on the article; WHAT POSTIVE ENERGY! I personally cannot anymore look nor read the posts on Job Seeker Premium regarding what a “waste of time and money LinkedIn is” … it’s so depressing. The comments on this blog have shown me, a new comer to LinkedIn, that IT IS a tool to be used in accordance with other tools to network and transition careers in this tough global economy.

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