As of February 2015, according to LinkedIn, there are more than 247 million users.
There must be some inherent value in using the site if all those people use it. The numbers continue to grow, with an average of two new users signing up every second.
But is LinkedIn valuable for your business or is it just for individuals seeking to network? Is it worth the time and effort to learn and use LinkedIn, or is this one social media site that businesses can easily live without?
Let’s find out….
LinkedIn’s Value for Businesses
The most successful business users of LinkedIn understand that there are a variety of ways to utilize the features to enhance business.
Here are a few:
Recruiting – LinkedIn is a great resource for finding new talent for your company. Just type in your industry in the search field and you’ll get a list of people who work in your area. Streamline your search results by typing in keywords specifically related to the job you’re seeking to fill. For example, marketing director, CEO or similar. Another way to go about recruiting is to use keywords related to the position just below the one you want to fill. This would be appropriate if you want to offer a promotion instead of a lateral move to an outside candidate.
Business Partnerships – LinkedIn is a great way to establish new business partnerships with other companies. For example, if your company manufactures shoes, you might be interested in building up a relationship with a new distributor in a different region of the country. Or you might want to start working with a marketing agency that can carry your brand awareness to a whole new demographic. By connecting with companies in complementary businesses, you can effectively grow your business without building out your infrastructure.
How Not to Use LinkedIn
Of course, for every benefit that LinkedIn offers, there are some ways that businesses and individuals shouldn’t use it. Unfortunately, not every user on LinkedIn understands the basics of the system.
As the following article asks should you accept every LinkedIn request?
The answer is no.
Not if you want to carefully control your image and network, which you should be doing. Your professional LinkedIn connections should consist of businesses or individuals that make you look good.
It’s not doing yourself any favors if your LinkedIn network is made up of parties that are completely irrelevant to your business, or whose own business practices clash with your own standards. You can easily ignore LinkedIn requests that are from companies not in line with your goals.
Though LinkedIn allows posts on premium users’ pages, resist the urge to post for the sake of posting.
One or two particularly insightful posts on your business page is appropriate. But spamming your network with frivolous information comes off as unprofessional and annoying.
LinkedIn can absolutely benefit your business, as long as you use it the way it was designed to be used.
Consider it as an extension of your company image, and you’ll be sure to use it correctly.
About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.