LinkedIn has seen rapid growth throughout its existence but has been largely in the shadows of other popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
This is mainly because Facebook and Twitter are aiming to get everyone on the planet to use their services, while LinkedIn has been more targeted at highly educated professionals. It has successfully made itself into the world’s largest professional network with over 150 million users worldwide, of which over 370,000 come from Finland.
You most likely have a Facebook profile in order to keep yourself up to date on what’s happening to your friends and family. You might also have a Twitter profile to keep up on topics you are interested in. So why do you need a LinkedIn profile in addition to these? Well, LinkedIn is meant for a totally different purpose. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your professional career, knowledge, and achievements. About a week ago I heard an interesting view from a LinkedIn employee; LinkedIn does not directly compete with anyone, as it is in a category of its own. This is because having a Facebook (or Twitter) profile does not add nor subtract from the value of also having a LinkedIn profile, since they do not serve the same purpose. There are 3rd party apps for Facebook such as BranchOut that have been trying to make your Facebook profile serve the same purpose, but I don’t see this as a major threat as many do not want to mix their personal Facebook profiles with work.
The benefits of a LinkedIn profile
There are two major advantages to having a complete and comprehensive LinkedIn profile. The first is that LinkedIn gives its users 100% control over what is visible on their profile. There is no "wall" where others can post under your name or “tagging” as on Facebook. The second is that a comprehensive LinkedIn profile is often the top search result for a name in Google. This means that by having a complete profile you can control what people see when they Google you, which has become a habit for many when meeting new people or doing research before a meeting.
Other advantages include having a place to publicly showcase your expertise and achievements, which proves your competence and indirectly also your employer´s competence. It also allows you to keep in touch with your business network and keep yourself on top of their minds. For example, let’s say you have 500 professional connections you would like to remember you. Before LinkedIn, to keep yourself in the minds of these connections, you would have had to send them an email, call them or reach them by other means at least once every 6 months. Now all you need to do is to post an update about yourself, your employer or an industry article with your own comment every other week or so and your entire network will see it in their news feeds and, if they have not changed their default settings, in a weekly email of what is happening in their network.
All professionals should be on LinkedIn
I have even heard some people say that they think there is something wrong if a professional does not have a LinkedIn profile. Or that they become concerned if experienced professionals have just a few LinkedIn connections or recommendations. Is there a reason why they don’t want to network with others? Do they downplay the power of relationships? I know this can be seen as an exaggeration now, but in a few years, it may very well be the norm.
The question for me is “why would you not want to have a LinkedIn profile”? You can control what is in it, so you don’t need to share any information you don’t want to. Would you rather have your Facebook profile as the top search result that potential clients, business partners, and employers see when they search your name?
Smarp is currently in the closed beta phase of developing its upcoming e-learning solution which will include a "LinkedIn Academy" that will guide its users step by step on how to create a complete and well optimized LinkedIn profile. If you simply cannot wait for the launch and want to participate in the beta test, send me an email at roope.heinila(at)smarpsocial.com and I will try to get you in one of our test groups!