06 July 2012
Are You and Your Company LinkedIn?
In a previous edition of Social Media for Defense we discussed Facebook and Twitter. Each of these platforms provides both benefits and challenges that are crucial to keep in mind when participating in social media. It is also important to mention one of the other networks and that is available, LinkedIn.
For a business owner, LinkedIn is a great tool for conducting background research on a company that you may wish to connect with to share your company’s products or services. You can request connections through your immediate network to others who you wish to approach. You can also use LinkedIn as a tool to brainstorm ideas, seek feedback on an idea, product, or cause, or simply use it to network with others who are similarly requesting feedback or needing answers to questions.
LinkedIn’s robust search allows you to find people who may be seeking a new job if you are looking to hire people. You can also use LinkedIn to find companies who offer products or services to create a mutually beneficial alliance. LinkedIn is by far one the best networking site for “professional networking” globally. LinkedIn has over 60 million registered users globally.
When examining any social network, it is important to know what the benefits of it are. Here are some benefits of using LinkedIn for business:
- Extremely rich in content- from company details to detailed individual backgrounds;
- Offers business owners the ability to research company information without spending a dime;
- Allows establishing credibility with prospects and customers by including testimonials and other data that makes the business look good;
- Provides global access to small and large company contacts;
- Provides interactivity with other users through the “Answers” section.
No social media tool is 100 percent perfect, let’s take a look at some of the challenges of using LinkedIn for business:
- Of late, a lot of the users are sales people of companies from offshore countries who bombard you with “Link with me” requests that are purely “sales” pitches (which can turn us all off because social networking is not for selling, but for networking);
- Requires users to be at the mercy of their connections if using the “free” version. If connected with “John” and a user sees that “John” is connected with “Sue” but she not connected to the user, they have to rely on “John” to introduce them to “Sue” and that may either take days or never happen because “John” may not wish to do the introduction (There are many ways to eliminate the dependency, one is by buying a paid subscription);
- LinkedIn paid subscription is quite expensive and may not be affordable to small business owners (especially when that information is more readily available on other social networks if you know how to search for it);
- LinkedIn provides less interactivity when compared to other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter;
- LinkedIn’s “request to be linked” process is cumbersome and not as real-time as a connection request on a Facebook Fan page or on Twitter.
All in all, LinkedIn is best suited to improve the business development and for the networking process. Along with using LinkedIn as one of your social network platforms, companies and organizations should also utilize Facebook and Twitter. After looking at these three platforms for social networking, it is important to remember that these networks are where a lot of “networking” is happening.
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