What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a major player amongst the social networking titans, but with a difference compared to Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn focuses on the professional community, both with networking and careers. It is the world’s largest professional online network.

This networking site is widely utilised by companies promoting their profiles, employers and job seekers. It can be used to make further connections in your professional network and develop new business contacts; B2B businesses can connect with new customers and join networking groups for discussion forums.

The launch of LinkedIn

A former employee of PayPal, Reid Hoffman, and other founding members launched LinkedIn in May 2003. By August 2004, LinkedIn had reached one million users, hitting the ten million mark in April 2007. Ten months later, February 2008, saw the introduction of the mobile app. By the first quarter of 2020, LinkedIn had an impressive 675 million users.

How do I sign up?

As with all of the social media sites, there is a minimum age requirement of 13 years and older, in the UK.

To sign up, simply go to the LinkedIn webpage and begin the process. You’ll need to enter

  • your first and last name;
  • email address;
  • password;
  • The name you enter MUST be your real name, pseudonyms aren’t permitted;
  • Once you have completed that, click Join Now;

You now have the option to add a photograph to your profile and provide information such as work experience, skills, education and training, essentially a curriculum vitae (C.V.). It is an ideal platform to show who you are, what you have achieved and to show your interests.

Build your profile from here- add friends, family, colleagues, previous co-workers and follow businesses and pages that are of interest to you.

The pro’s of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the biggest networking site that focuses on career opportunities, network building and professional relationships. Because of this, shared posts can quickly go viral and it’s a great tool to find new business partnerships. The more one of your posts is shared, it becomes seen as important and so LinkedIn will share it outside of your 1st level connections. If you have linked your business, website or blog, this can be very useful. It is a great way for small businesses to connect with customers.

As a LinkedIn user, you can pay to upgrade your subscription level and search for potential candidates to fill a vacancy you have. You can use keywords in searches to find a relevant contender for a role within your company. Most user’s profiles are up to date due to LinkedIn almost being a virtual resume.

There are many options to target your audiences, such as by industry, skill level, past education and qualifications, skills and geographical location.

LinkedIn organises content into appropriate areas of business so that you are constantly updated with the latest news and trends.

You can share posts, thoughts and ideas, add comments and there are also five ‘reactions’ you can use - like, celebrate, love, insightful and curious.

The cons of LinkedIn

The main disadvantage to LinkedIn is that it can take some time to build up your profile and network and for conversations to get started. Premium accounts may help to speed it up but not all individuals or small businesses have surplus finances to allow for the annual fee, as it does not come cheap for individuals to use.

For LinkedIn to work well for you, you need to be open on your profile because staying private with your information won’t help you get the most out of it. Some people have concerns about the privacy aspect of having some sensitive data visible which leads to further concerns of security. keep all information work-related and check the Dark Web regularly to ensure you are not ‘for sale’.

Some companies that are data-heavy have been hacked for user-data. As with individuals, companies have sensitive information on their profiles and if LinkedIn’s security was ever hacked, those companies are at risk of identity theft and their information sold on the Dark Web.

LinkedIn users don’t engage quite as much as on other social media platforms, eg. Facebook and Instagram- many are reticent observers. There are many reasons for this with the main one being that many people won’t get involved with a strong and/or divisive opinion in a professional setting. Because of the lack of engagement, some view LinkedIn as more of a ‘directory’ than a social media site like Facebook or Twitter.

It can be very expensive to advertise on LinkedIn, more so than advertising on a Google Ad campaign or Facebook. Yet, for B2B (business to business) companies, the quality of leads may be better through LinkedIn than the other social media sites.

LinkedIn’s future

Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has continued to grow and that shows no sign of slowing in the direct future. Trends change as the platform evolves and individuals and businesses alike need to adapt to such changes.

With 310 million active monthly users, the UK comes in at the 5th highest number of users at 28 million (Omnicore stats 2020) and continues to grow. Along with India, the UK has the fastest-growing market.

For B2B digital marketing, Linkedin ranks as number 1 at 92%, with Twitter following behind at 87%.

LinkedIn has never suffered the same controversies that other social media sites have, such as spreading misinformation, radicalizing people or hiding predators behind a faux profile, etc. LinkedIn behaves as professionally as the people that utilise it, almost like a true and real-life office environment. Users realise that any outbursts will likely be seen by peers and potential future employers.

There are rumours that LinkedIn may begin to concentrate on local options, allowing someone to search within a specific geographic area for whatever businesses or skills they require.

Another highly likely change during the next few years is that it may become fee-based. Free sites encourage spammers, although LinkedIn hasn’t suffered in the same way as other sites have. Fee-based services may also help when it comes to security around sensitive information, offering privacy settings during communications with others., such as job interviews and online meetings.

Many experts agree that users should build their connections now, while the majority of the platform is still free to use.

Identity checks

With your LinkedIn account, you are connected to your employer, associates and business partners who, by connecting, endorse you as a real person. This is why using your LinkedIn account is on your Notty Account and helps improve your Social Identity Score.