Communication and technology have undergone significant changes over the last few decades with the key development being the emergence and exponential growth of social media. The power of social media and social networking is so great that that the number of users worldwide is expected to reach over 3 billion active users by 2021, around a third of earth’s entire population; a phenomenal statistic.
When considering the different social media sites used today, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter may immediately spring to mind; however, there are many other sites that are rapidly growing in popularity that make up a considerable proportion of the above statistic. LinkedIn is a brilliant example of one of these sites; it was originally overlooked due to the assumption it was predominantly made for recruiters and job seekers. However, over the last 5 years it has increased in popularity from 140 million users worldwide to 500+ million users and it is now the social network of choice for business professionals.
LinkedIn has many benefits to a wide range of professionals; however, as I am writing this from a recruitment consultant’s perspective, I am going to focus predominantly on the benefits for job seekers and business owners.
For those searching for a new role, LinkedIn is a brilliant tool to assist your job search. It has an extensive number of job listings and allows you to make business connections with a wide range of professionals, from previous co-workers and colleagues to CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies. It also enables you stay continually connected with these individuals, something which is often not the case when networking in person as business cards are often handed out and then subsequently forgotten about. Additionally, having an online presence on LinkedIn lets you create a personal brand where you can establish expertise through posting content via articles and posts, continually updating your CV and staying up-to-date with the latest industry news and trends.
At Marmion, we advise our candidates to use LinkedIn as a base to tell their story. LinkedIn profiles need to be complete, with a professional and approachable image (people tend not to engage with individuals who don’t include a picture of themselves), and contact information clearly available. We also advise job seekers to conduct some research into who the directors or hiring managers are of the company they are interested in, and to contact them directly, because they will know what gaps they have in their workforce. They should send a request to ‘connect’ accompanied with a well thought out message explaining who they are and why they have sent the invitation. Following this, effort should be made to like and comment on their articles, posts and the posts they interact with. Clearly over-stalking should be avoided, but once they have done this for a period of time, their name will have been noticed by not just the person being targeted but other industry decision makers, and they will then be in a stronger position to ask the person in question for the opportunity to speak about potential employment opportunities.
Business owners should use LinkedIn to take advantage of the free exposure it can provide. It can be used as a brilliant platform to promote new products, increase lead generation and to assist with your recruitment strategy. Similar to how job seekers can use LinkedIn to create a personal brand, business owners can use it to build the brand of their company; this helps to increase likeability and trust and can in turn increase sales. Additionally, it is a platform specifically designed for connections and so it is a great way for business owners to find vendors, suppliers, manufacturers and other third-party resources should they so require.
As LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner sums up:
“It’s not just job seekers. It’s journalists who are looking to source stories, its entrepreneurs looking to raise financing, its investors looking to find right investment vehicle. It’s about all professionals and the way in which we share information, knowledge, expertise, opinions and insights.”
Like all social media platforms, if you don’t engage with the platform and with your connections, you’ll see little value generated from your time using it. However, if you dedicate your time to understand LinkedIn and use it to its full potential, the value it can bring to job seekers and business owners alike, is huge and it is therefore a social platform that professionals cannot afford to ignore.