Article by Charlotte Kemp, Social Media Guru
Let me make sure you understand how highly I value LinkedIn.
If you were to take all social media away from me, I would hold onto LinkedIn and my blog and forfeit the rest. I have got more business from these two places than anything else besides email marketing.
There are over 200 million LinkedIn profiles with South Africa ranking 11th in the world in terms of accessing the site.
Catering for over 11 languages, and satisfying members who are predominately graduates, between the ages of 25 and 54 and high income earners, LinkedIn is not a flighty social media site at all.
LinkedIn representatives came to South Africa just over a year ago to meet with social media trainers and strategists to establish how we use their site and look at further investment. They are planning to open an office in SA in the next few years.
YOU DON’T NEED TO PAY EXTRA
Having said all that, I don’t think there is much need for the average person to pay for an upgraded version of LinkedIn or to necessarily use the Sales Navigator or other paid versions they may offer you from time to time.
The recently upgraded personal profile, the hugely expanded Companies Pages, Recommendations and the ability to demonstrate your portfolio of work by uploading files and links makes the basic / free version of LinkedIn superbly useful.
PAY TO UPGRADE ONLY IF YOU REALLY NEED TO SEND INMAILS
The biggest benefit of the upgraded version is the ability to send InMails and to contact people outside of your network.
Your network is made up of:
1st level – people you are connected to
2nd level – 1st level connections
3rd level – 2nd level connections
By adding just one well connected individual to your network, you can increase its size by hundreds if not thousands of individuals.
Sending InMails to relative strangers might seem important, but I find there isn’t really the ongoing, daily necessity to do it that warrants an investment of money over the time.
All LinkedIn connection requests, whether going out from you or coming to you, would do with a small investment of time. You can easily find the person’s email address somewhere on the internet nullifying the need for the InMail. Or you can ask for an introduction via your existing contacts which warms up an otherwise cold call. You can join a group where that person participates and approach them via that avenue. Or better yet, you personalize your approach using whichever reason you like on the contact form on LinkedIn, but explain why you would like to connect with them.
I want to support LinkedIn because I believe in their product. And I have recommended their Premium solutions where appropriate. Large HR recruitment and headhunting firms benefit from the LinkedIn packages which can be quite pricey. But in that industry recruitment firms budget for job board subscriptions against which LinkedIn will perform fantastically. Companies that have very large sales forces and are always looking for new leads will also benefit from a package that LinkedIn has prepared especially for them.
In the meantime, nurture your space on LinkedIn, connect with strategic individuals (not just your speaking colleagues) and demonstrate your work on your profile and in Groups. And reap the rewards.
Charlotte Kemp is a social media guru.
Check out the PSASA LinkedIn page.