Thursday, May 9, 2013

LinkedIn - what are the benefits for business?

The topic for the May Microfocus meeting was LinkedIn. Was LinkedIn worth linking into? Would it have benefits for your business? Was it a good way to socialise on the Internet? Or was it a waste of time and encouraged spam? I myself was not able to attend the meeting at the time, but I did pass on some of my own thoughts. My first encounter with LinkedIn was one of regret – I responded to an invite and ended up with a lot of spam messages from LinkedIn, as did many people on my mailing list. Since then it has been a bit more positive – I have found some of my old clients on LinkedIn and even reunited with an old friend. And by a strange coincidence, LinkedIn sent me a message saying they were celebrating their tenth anniversary. I passed that detail on to Microfocus as I thought it might add something to the discussion that I would not be able to attend. Well, if LinkedIn is ten years old, it must have something going for it.

The feedback I received back from the discussion revealed that Microfocus had come to the conclusion that LinkedIn can work for you. However, LinkedIn is like a Facebook page – you need to devote time and energy to keep your LinkedIn active. And if you have a busy schedule this can be difficult. But if you can devote time and energy to LinkedIn, what would the benefits be? Our group coordinator is going to try it over the next few weeks to see what benefits she gets. I shall be looking forward to her feedback. 

In the meantime, the benefits of LinkedIn that came up in the meeting were similar to those of Facebook. They include Internet socialising, sharing information on blogs and forums, joining interest groups, and reuniting with people you have lost contact with, as I did. In terms of business benefits, LinkedIn is just like Facebook. It is an avenue for making yourself and your business visible on the Internet. You can connect with people who work in the same industry as you, and you can also make contact with potential customers. People can find you directly or through your connections. LinkedIn can help you make yourself visible by replying to other people’s comments/forums, and learn from others by joining groups in your field and typing in your own updates of what you have been up to recently.

But, as with Facebook, your LinkedIn page is not private. It is open to everyone, so you do not want personal content there.

So LinkedIn is just like Facebook and has the same type of benefits as Facebook. So how does it differ from Facebook? Does LinkedIn have any advantages over Facebook or will Facebook work just fine? If you have a Facebook, is there any point in having a LinkedIn and vice versa? These are questions I am left asking after reading this feedback, but I have no answers. Except one – having a separate LinkedIn and Facebook can be an excellent way to separate business and personal visibility on the Internet. So you can have a business LinkedIn and a personal Facebook.

What are your thoughts on LinkedIn?

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