Most people I talk to have two opinions regarding LinkedIn: Most younger adults view social media sites as mere sources of entertainment. I’ve heard LinkedIn referred to as “Facebook in a suit and tie”. It is something “just too serious”, something to be avoided, like a drab office job. Others, a mostly older crowd, consider it just another social media network like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Something used to acknowledge each other’s existence on the web.
But don’t be mistaken; LinkedIn can have a large, crucial, and positive impact on your career due to some very simple reasons:
Connections Are Built for Businesses – It’s sort of an unsaid rule of thumb: The instant we make a new connection with somebody on LinkedIn, both parties know that the connection is likely business related. But this implies a sense of camaraderie; it acknowledges a potential collaboration, to see what ways in which we can help one another because of our business connection. On the other hand, connecting on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social site is a grey area because people have different definitions of what those connections mean. It may not be as clear and definite as LinkedIn. Use the idea that people are expecting business-related content on LinkedIn to your advantage.
It Brands Your Personality & Expertise – LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to blend both your personal tastes, with your areas of expertise. This helps to create your personal “branding” as an expert of your craft or industry. It can heigten a person’s perception of your professional image and credibility, but also connects you to more like-minded businesses and professionals. The potential of connection recommendations on LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool on the personal and business level. By being recommended by other professionals, to other professionals, who are experts in their own industry or another, will raise your own profile and create avenues of opportunity that weren’t previously available.
LinkedIn Isn’t Going Anywhere – The business model for LinkedIn is more sustainable than other social media networks. LinkedIn is a niche community and it knows it. All LinkedIn needs is a business-minded community, and that’s something that isn’t disappearing any time soon. By focusing on the target audience of the business-professional community, it attracts the exact kind of active users it needs to be a two-way street. It garners more business-oriented users than Facebook, Twitter, or any other networks; and those users sustain LinkedIn, while a growing community creates deeper, richer, socio-business connections.
LinkedIn is not your typical social media network. Even though it’s been around longer than all major social network sites, it’s hardly a social network at all. As a site that uses business to make digital connections and vice-versa, it is the most successful niche network on the Internet. It is a sustainable business network, with social elements. But these elements allow business people and businesses themselves to build long-term relationships through connections with one another. It also helps to build an established professional profile of expertise to display to the public. Over the years, LinkedIn has maintained its focus on the business community and it has no reason to shift that focus any time soon.