LinkedIn has been seen as the dull relation of the social media family for years, lacking the sparkle of Facebook or the edginess of Twitter. People might have had a look every now and again, when they were looking for a new job, or to see what an ex-colleague was up to now, but not much more.
Just as the geeks will inherit the earth, LinkedIn has been rapidly catching up with other social media platforms, going from 120million to 500million users in the last 6 years. Not only that, 100,000 organic articles are published each week on LinkedIn, making it a valuable source of content and a powerful platform for building your own brand.
There are a variety of reasons why I think LinkedIn will be the one to watch in 2018 and why you should be making the most of it.
- It’s not Facebook or Twitter.
You will hear grumbling from various corners of late that LinkedIn is ‘becoming more like Facebook’, and I admit, I am the first one to furrow my brow at those click baity maths puzzles, and people talking about their pets. Whilst there is some merit to this, it still has a long way to go and for the most part LinkedIn is still strictly business.
I’ve noticed over the past year, an increasing number of people becoming uncomfortable about the blurring of the lines between a professional and private life. Personally, although I have a Facebook business page, I don’t have business contacts as Facebook friends. I’ve tried running two Facebook profiles but I don’t really have the time or the inclination to do it well. My Facebook profile is for my friends and family – and mainly I spend it watching video content of dogs in costumes or the latest Jonathan Pie. It’s the same with Twitter. I wrote a blog, a year or so ago, highlighting that company Twitter accounts, with their scheduled posts, would turn people off Twitter and that seems to be the case. I still love Twitter, and manage far more successfully to maintain a professional and personal account. My personal account is just Brexit, the patriarchy and The Archers.
And through the parted crowds marches LinkedIn, with the ability to share content, written and visual, but in a purely professional context, without having to worry that your new connection has seen your holiday photos.
This means that it is much easier to align your personal profile with your company values and brand ideals. This is especially important if you are working with a team who might either ‘not do’ social media or prefer to keep work out of it. LinkedIn gives them a platform to present themselves professionally and promote the company at the same time.
- LinkedIn have upped their content game.
LinkedIn led the field with content, by launching the Published Posts feature a few years ago. Published posts serve as a personal blog on your profile, and can be a godsend for professionals who don’t necessarily get space on their company website.
Professionals looking to become influencers in their industry can reach thousands of people through published posts, especially if they can create talking points which people are keen to debate.
LinkedIn have also recently unleashed native video, allowing users to upload video directly rather than share a Youtube clip. This can only grow as more and more users take advantage of it.
Not only that, but LinkedIn’s acquisition of Slideshare goes even further in sharing meaningful content.
- Anyone who’s anyone uses LinkedIn
41% percent of millionaires use LinkedIn, and of all the social media platforms, it’s where you’re most likely to find the people you want to speak to, regardless of whether you’re in sales, running your own business, or want to progress your career. The fact that you are connecting to real life people, rather than anonymous company accounts, means you can build much more meaningful relationships than on other platforms.
As a networking tool, LinkedIn is second to none, and you should certainly be making sure that you are sending a connection request to everyone you meet in real life. I’ve had at least 5 referrals through LinkedIn in the last couple of months and it’s certainly the first place I go to look for potential partners.
If you are in Sales, and need to find solid prospects, then the paid Sales Navigator is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s not cheap but allows you to pinpoint exactly who you’re looking to connect with and start to build a relationship with them without having to go in for the hard sell.
And the better the professional content becomes, the more conversation is created and the better the network gets.
I could go on, but that should be enough for now.