LinkedIn is the prime social networking site for professionals. First appearing in May 2003, it has since grown to boast over 160 million users. LinkedIn is practically the on-line equivalent of a business networking event - but how should it be used and who should be using it?
LinkedIn could well be described as the ultimate on-line professional networking tool. It doesn't work exactly like most of the other social networks, but it's kind of similar. Users have profiles which act almost like a comprehensive digital CV. Your profile should document your professional experiences, your education, your past work life and any recommendations. Once you've established your profile you can begin to build connections with people you know, and eventually with people you might not know.
LinkedIn is primarily used by businesses and professionals - that is the main difference when compared with other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. You won't see any personal updates, family photos or holiday check-ins - all this should be kept for Facebook. According to LinkHumans, during 2011 most users were between 25-45 and working for companies that employed more than 1,000 employees. They put the amount of UK users between 5 and 6 million.
Let's take a look at some of the benefits of being a user of LinkedIn.
- Being on LinkedIn is like attending those networking seminars, where you meet lots of like-minded people. But with LinkedIn you can make similarly great connections, but whilst sat in your boxers in front of a screen eating the third Rolo yogurt of the day.
- LinkedIn is great for locating new suppliers and distributors. The site makes it easy to connect with other businesses, and then build great relationships with them.
- The site is also a fantastic way to search for new employees, you can search for people and see their CV without having to even contact them.
- Build the credibility of your business by receiving recommendations from customers and other businesses.
- Gain more traffic for your website by linking your LinkedIn to your website.
- Be able to research other businesses and make more informed decisions on mergers, partnerships, etc.