Is LinkedIn Premium Worth the Investment for Your Business?
More than two hundred million professionals from around the world enjoy the services of social networking website LinkedIn. Of these, 39 percent pay for the site's premium services. But should you be one of them?
Target Your Searches
Free members can search LinkedIn for basic criteria, but things get really interesting for premium members. Business and Business Plus members can search by company size, seniority level, interests, and Fortune 1000 status. The latter probably won't concern small and medium business owners, but the first three will ensure you're speaking to executives rather than interns at companies in your professional sphere.
Executive members can additionally search by groups, time on LinkedIn, years of experience, and function. These are nice features to have, but small firms probably won't miss them.
Premium account holders can also save more searches and see more profiles than LinkedIn's free members. If you regularly search through LinkedIn, these enhancements will help you work more efficiently.
Make Easier Connections
LinkedIn's "Who's Viewed Your Profile" page is a great resource for new connections. Free members can see the last five people who've seen their profile, but premium members see a more comprehensive list of all members who've checked in during the last 90 days.
This enhancement is useful if your business profile receives a lot of traffic or if you only check your account periodically. However, that doesn't mean you should dismiss the service if your traffic is modest. Quality internet is a huge factor in this, as you must have reliable internet so that you aren't missing any important connections.
LinkedIn conceals the profiles of anyone outside your circle unless you have a premium account. A premium account may be the only way you'll learn anything useful about the people who are checking you out, and anyone else outside your existing network.
Reach Out with InMail
LinkedIn protects its members' privacy and hides the email addresses of anyone outside your network. However, its internalized email system known as InMail helps you reach out to the wider LinkedIn community. Recipients are four times more likely to open an InMail than a regular email. The messages also have twice the click-through rate. LinkedIn has such confidence in its service, it'll credit your account with another InMail message if you don't receive a response within seven days.
Free members are charged for every InMail message they send, but premium members receive between three and 25 free messages each month, depending on their account level. If you buy InMail messages regularly, a premium account may be more cost-effective.
Systemize With Profile Organizer
This tool is beneficial if you do a lot of research. Profile organizer allows you to create folders and add profiles to them, as well as make notes and add contact details about each profile. When you go through the profile organizer, you can see what messages you have sent, along with the notes you have made, and what folder they are in. You no longer have to rerun a search and wonder where you are with search results. This is great for recruitment.
Track LinkedIn Stats
Analyzing premium LinkedIn statistics is a great way to assess your marketing efforts. You should see spikes in traffic when you do things like appear at a trade show or release an email newsletter. When you see the highest spikes, you'll know your efforts are on the right track.
Also consider the keywords that have brought users to your profile. Using these terms in your marketing materials and website copy will make it easier for new customers to find you. Analyzing the views by industry and geography statistics will also provide a better idea of your influence.
Get Ahead With Advance Searches
With the upgrade, you can now find exactly who you are looking for, quickly. With the free version, searches are limited, but to the different level of paying members, there are four new fields that are available.
- Company size – Pick from small businesses (1-10) to large corporations (10,000+).
- Seniority level – Choose interns to partners to managers.
- Interested in – Look for specific group of people such as entrepreneurs or hiring managers.
- Fortunate 1000 – Search strictly for fortune companies.
Small and medium business owners probably can't justify the expense of the Executive or even the Business Plus levels, but LinkedIn's Business membership offers just enough incentive to upgrade.
If you do decide to upgrade, make sure that your profile is as professional as it can be. Run through our Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.
If you're looking for additional help with LinkedIn, such as consulting or profile building, please contact us.
Image courtesy of nan palmero, Flickr.
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By LL Wrighter
LL Wrighter, a graduate of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida, is a tech and social media writer who also enjoys to dabble in DIY and budget stories.
On her free time, Wrighter enjoys geocaching, playing video games, and spending time with her fury children, her two dachshunds.
Connect With Wrighter on Twitter @LoneWrighter.