When looking for a job, it’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know. This old truism is part of the central concept of LinkedIn, the social media platform for professional networking.
While basic use of the platform is free, LinkedIn does offer a fee-based premium membership as well as a Sales Navigator tool.
LinkedIn is a cross-generational professional networking platform for both businesses and the people who work – or want to work – in them.
LinkedIn profiles function like an online resume. Users fill out their profiles with where they went to school, where they have worked, and their professional accomplishments. In fact, most LinkedIn users use the platform to strengthen their professional network.
Users can add a social element to their profile by connecting with the profiles of their colleagues and classmates. LinkedIn also allows users to follow companies and topics in their professional domain.
Every LinkedIn user has a user feed, where they see posts by their connections, as well as posts from companies and topics they follow. These posts can range from announcements of job changes or anniversaries to promotional content about company events.
Depending on the user’s profile, they may also see advertisements for products and services, oriented toward a professional market. These posts are not displayed chronologically; rather, they are ranked based on personal connections to the user, relevance to their interests, and probability of engagement.
LinkedIn also acts as a job posting service, akin to Indeed. Users can browse job listings that fit their profile and job search settings, such as location. They can also see how many people in their professional network already work at a potential employer.
Who Uses LinkedIn?
LinkedIn has a large user base – 810 million members. Of these users, 16.2% are active daily, and 48.5% are active monthly. Additionally, more than 57 million companies have a presence on LinkedIn.
Because LinkedIn is designed to help users build their professional networks, it is no surprise that it is a popular platform with students: 46 million students and recent grads use LinkedIn. Furthermore, 50% of internet users who have a university degree use LinkedIn. The platform also offers reach into more senior demographics: more than 65 million people who have decision-making roles use LinkedIn.
Demographically, the majority of LinkedIn users– 59%– are between the ages of 25 and 34. A further 20% is between the ages of 18 and 24. Roughly a third of internet users in these age groups use LinkedIn, as do 24% of internet users between 50 and 64. Globally, most LinkedIn users are male, but women still make up 43% of the LinkedIn user base.
How can LinkedIn be used to benefit business?
LinkedIn is a market leader in business-to-business (B2B) marketing. While 48% of marketers use LinkedIn for marketing purposes, 97% of B2B marketers do. LinkedIn is viewed as a trustworthy social platform, and this helps drive a high conversion rate for B2B advertising.
LinkedIn is also an excellent tool for talent recruitment.
Its user base is predominantly young and educated, and many have or will have decision-making roles at their jobs. And businesses are hiring employees from LinkedIn, at a rate of 6 hires per minute. Businesses can not only use LinkedIn’s talent acquisition functions to build their team but to make impressions on future decision-makers that will pay dividends later.
Advertising on LinkedIn
There are two main ways that marketers can get their messages out on LinkedIn: through organic posts on a company’s page, and through sponsored posts.
Businesses can increase engagement by posting content that users find interesting. Long-form blog posts tend to do particularly well on this platform, though videos and SlideShare decks are also popular content types.
Sponsored content, in contrast, uses LinkedIn’s algorithm to promote messages to the users who want to see them. Sponsored posts can appear in user feeds, or they can be sent via InMail, LinkedIn’s private messaging function. Marketers find that sponsored posts are the most effective way to market on LinkedIn.
“Sales Navigator is LinkedIn’s flagship product for sales teams, enabling reps, managers, and ops leaders to inform their approaches and strategies by taking advantage of the full breadth of LinkedIn’s expansive data, insight, and relationship-building tools.”What is Sales Navigator? from the LinkedIn Sales Blog
Integrating customer relationship management software with the vast pool of data that is LinkedIn, Sales Navigator is a B2B sales solution. This fee-based add-on to the LinkedIn platform allows participants to gather in-depth data of potential customers, track updates and message, and develop connections.
While a LinkedIn post can only contain 1,300 characters, you can still share long-form content with LinkedIn articles. Articles can be up to 125,000 characters. Posts can be shared on the platform and via messages, but articles receive their own URL akin to a blog post. As such, LinkedIn articles will appear in Google search results whereas posts will not.
Similar to blog posts, articles shared on LinkedIn should follow the same storytelling arcs. Optimize your articles for readability with headers, images, bullets, and quotes or call-outs to ensure your reader’s eye returns again and again to the text.
Many LinkedIn users repurpose existing blog content as articles on the platform. While efficient, in order to remain effective, consider the following:
- Provide an alternate title from the blog content so it does not appear the same article is ranking twice in search engine listings.
- Use older blog content to give it new life.
- Providing a backlink on LinkedIn to the original article to acknowledge the repetition while also allowing users to get to know your brand.
While similar, the difference between newsletters and articles on LinkedIn is that your subscribers will get a notification each time you publish a newsletter. Additionally, you are able to publish only one newsletter every 24 hours.
Access to the newsletters feature is open to Members and Pages with more than 150 followers and/or connections. These profiles must be creating content regularly and abide by LinkedIn policies.
In summary, LinkedIn is a social media platform with a professionalized audience and a unique reach. It is particularly useful for B2B marketers and those looking to recruit quality talent to their organizations. Businesses that can produce engaging content can attract the attention of people who make major purchasing decisions at potential clients, and make a lasting impression there.