LinkedIn: Worth it for Businesses?

LinkedIn: Worth it for Businesses?

According to ComScore, LinkedIn is the most popular social network in the US except for Facebook, with 43 million unique visitors. That’s 3 million more than Twitter. These numbers are encouraging, but does any of this necessarily mean that your business should be active on the site? The answer depends on what you plan to use it for. Let’s take a look at some of the uses and find out whether you should be investing your time in the site.


1. Finding Employees

Without a doubt, LinkedIn is a great place to seek out employees. Top career sites like,, and only see between 10 and 12 million visits each month. And, of course, these career sites don’t offer you insight into who your potential employees are connected with or how good their networking skills are.

As a traditional job-posting site, LinkedIn may not necessarily be the best fit. That space is already taken care of by the career sites mentioned above. Instead, LinkedIn is more useful as a “headhunting” tool. By searching the site, checking out discussion boards, and taking a look at prospect’s contacts, you can identify high quality prospects without sifting through a huge stack of applications.

LinkedIn is also a great place to build relationships with business contacts that you can use in order to get referrals from contacts you can trust.

2. As a Marketing Channel

Opinions here are mixed, and with good reason. While LinkedIn is a popular site, people aren’t using it to find products the way they would use Amazon or Google. Nor are they using LinkedIn as a source of entertainment or news the way they use Facebook and Twitter.

This doesn’t make LinkedIn useless as a marketing channel, but it’s not necessarily the first place you should visit for this kind of activity.

If you operate in the b2b sector, the question should be a no-brainer. There is no better way to build a positive reputation in the business community than by building solid and transparent relationships with reputable business contacts. By being as helpful and connected as possible on LinkedIn, you send a clear message to your potential clients, and expand your reach in the process.

If you’re selling to consumers however, the answer isn’t so clear-cut. While business contacts can help you expand your reach, you’ll probably do best to build relationships with bloggers and entertainers, who are more likely to have a presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even so, it’s always useful to have a few business contacts in your toolkit.

3. As Your Online “Home”

We strongly discourage using LinkedIn, or any social media site, as your central hub in the digital realm. Social networks are “places” that your business goes to build relationships and expand its reach. Your social media profile should not be an end destination.

There are several reasons for this. The most obvious is the fact that social networks can come and go. Nobody can predict how popular LinkedIn will be ten years from now, but it would certainly be a tremendous waste if all of your contacts only knew you through LinkedIn, a site that went defunct and everybody stopped using.

Furthermore, social media sites tend to control how information is presented. Posts and comments are presented by affinity, not recency. If you want to be sure your fans actually see your messages, an email newsletter is still your best bet.

And, of course, if you don’t have a website of your own, you appear cheap and unprofessional. Invest at least half of your online efforts on your own site, and the rest on everything else.

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