With over 675 million users, LinkedIn is easily the most popular professional social media platform in the world. I might go as far as saying that it is the most important social media right now. It is a platform that is expected to thrive in the coming years and as for you, it’s better to start early than risk being too late.
Why do I say its important? Because it is useful to everyone USING it- not just people who are popular, who loves memes or have big SM pages. All you need is an open mind to learn and interact.
The Microsoft-owned company has 62 million users in India. According to a report by Quartz, the number of smartphones that had the app installed nearly doubled from 6% in January 2018 to 15% in August 2019. I am guessing that this number has significantly gone up since then.
Why should you use LinkedIn?
There are multiple reasons why you should be in LinkedIn right now but let us broadly classify them into three:
By incorporating these three features, LinkedIn covers almost all the aspects of a person’s career. You can take up interesting courses on LinkedIn Learning, use it as a job portal where even the biggest of MNCs have a presence, or even use it to promote your own business. The platform also has a prominent publishing tool and could even expand to business communication (like Slack), Analytics, or E-Commerce in the future.
LinkedIn bought ‘Pulse’ in 2013 to make themselves a ‘definitive publishing platform’ where all professionals can share and consume business articles. Pulse was later integrated into the company.
Apart from these, Microsoft also wants to integrate its popular enterprise software, such as Office 365, with the network.
Let’s stick to the basic three right now:
LinkedIn for Learning
LinkedIn acquired edutech platform Lynda.com in 2015 for $1.5 billion. It was then renamed ‘LinkedIn Learning‘ and is currently home to over 16,000 free and paid courses, primarily dealing with software, creative, and business skills.
Although I prefer Coursera for my online studies, the amount of ‘soft-skill development’ courses in LinkedIn is impressive. I might check out a few of them as well. A USP of the platform is that you can easily connect with your educators through their LinkedIn profile- increasing credibility and providing a personal touch.
Even if you are not looking to do any courses, LinkedIn offers enough opportunity to learn. Start following accomplished people in your industry like entrepreneurs, founders, managers, and C-suite level employees. You can learn from their achievements, insights, and most of all, failures.
LinkedIn for Jobs and Career building
‘Getting a job’ is the number one reason that people start using LinkedIn. Thousands of jobs are posted each day and even large MNCs use it as a job board. Almost every HR Recruiter goes through the LinkedIn page before hiring and it’s very important that you have a profile on the platform if you are a job-seeker.
For better result, try optimizing your profile using the steps mentioned in the next section.
LinkedIn for Business
LinkedIn is a great place to showcase the ‘professional’ aspects of your Business. You can create a company page and add all sorts of things related to your work. Disregard your aproaches to other Social Media and see LinkedIn as a place to promote your product and brand for what it is, without the usual vanity surrounding marketing. This might be technical aspects of the product, it’s making, company culture, personal notes from the Founders or CEO, etc
LinkedIn is also a great place, if not the best place, for B2B marketing. By the company’s own calculation, there are over 63 million decision-makers in the platform. Effectively promoting your company can bring you to the attention of the right people who you had no access to earlier.
Having a strong business profile in LinkedIn helps to improve brand awareness, generate more leads, attract partnerships, and even bring investors.
How to be Successful in the platform
Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion dollars in 2016. It is the only ‘real’ social media that the tech-giant owns, and in a way, is the perfect acquisition for a brand that is now heavily focused on B2B.
Recently I’ve noticed that LinkedIn is heavily promoting engagement. Comments and even likes on my posts are being circulated to a wide audience- some of them not even my connections. Posts are being tagged ‘Trending’ for virtually nothing, and I am getting a lot of visitors and new followers. Some of these have to do with the inherent nature of the platform (that aims to promote more connections) but there is something deeper going on.
Unlike Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn lack in user retention. People download or make a profile, but very few (10% in India) actually return regularly. Giving people more visibility for their posts will naturally motivate them to come back and publish more. All major Social Media have done this at some point but as the users increase, they tone-back a bit for better monitoring and control.
What does this mean for you? Well, LinkedIn is very free and open right about now but eventually, Microsoft has to take back some control. Posts won’t be as easily promoted and it will become harder to get to the top. So I recommend you start now, build a reputable brand around yourself, and take advantage of this visibility.
How can you do this?
In order to be successful on LinkedIn, you need to do three basic things:
- Have a strong profile
- Write about things you know
- Interact with people
By having a strong profile, I don’t mean you should have a strong academic or work profile. Granted, they are important too but you should also take time to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Give it a catchy headline (It comes after your name wherever your comment), provide a strong profile summary, and don’t feel ashamed to mention even your smallest achievement. Upload an awesome profile picture (of yourself) as well.
The next thing to do is to be active on the platform. Post about things that you know or feel is interesting. This doesn’t necessarily have to deal with your work and could even be something that you learned over the weekend or a motivating story. However, keep it professional and write it yourself. Don’t copy from the internet and don’t even think of copying from other LinkedIn publishers.
Last thing you should know is that LinkedIn is not Facebook. The platform calls its users connections and that’s exactly what they are. Always be open to sending a connection request to people you feel are interesting. Talk to them, learn from them, and show appreciation by interacting with their posts. Likewise, just because you don’t know someone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept their connection request. Check their profile and ask yourselves whether the person on the other side can provide value to you of some kind. If the answer is yes, accept blindly!
The world has been contemplating ‘remote-working’ for a few years now. However, nothing gave this idea as big a push as the COVID-19 pandemic we are going through. More people are working from home than ever before, and the situation is expected to continue for at least a year. Even after the disease passes, flexible and remote-work could turn out to be the norm.
Jumping headfirst into the bandwagon will be recruiters. Why have a long line of interviewees in front of their offices when the same can be done through video calls? Similarly, instead of going through all those resumes, they will feel cozier bookmarking the best LinkedIn profiles. In this way, more recruiters will be at home in professional networks like Linkedin- you should be too!
There is something else, the world was already in an employment crisis and the pandemic is likely to make this situation worse. More prominently, many experts believe that India will face the sharp end of this crisis. Millions of newly-jobless people will be attempting everything in their might to be heard over the rest, and where will they flock to? That’s right, LinkedIn and the rest of the career-related website. A few might find success but many of them, sadly, won’t. I am here to help you be part of the former.
Stay with me for more articles related to LinkedIn and other social media. You can subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.