LinkedIn is an interesting social media service – because while it is technically ‘social’ media, it doesn’t really fit into the same category as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, for example. Sure, it’s social: a huge part of the experience is the “connections” you make with your co-workers and others in your professional circle – and it hosts a range of media, including photos, videos, and articles. The main difference between LinkedIn and other social media sites is that it’s highly specialised and designed to be used by professionals and to find jobs and other professional opportunities and share content with their connections. For this reason, many businesses nowadays are choosing to use LinkedIn to communicate with other businesses and professional individuals to find new clients, customers, & subscribers, and even search for new employees.

One reason why LinkedIn appeals to so many businesses, especially smaller businesses, is that its existing userbase consists almost entirely of other businesses and accomplished individuals who are serious about the business world and making professional connections. If you can build up a strong enough network, anything you post will go straight into the feeds of valuable connections, who can then share them to their own professional networks. While sites like Facebook may have a larger overall userbase (over two billion users compared to LinkedIn’s 500 million), advertisements for job openings, B2B sales, and marketing events may be better suited to LinkedIn’s business-focused users. You can even tag posts with a range of different ‘interest’ tags – some of the most popular include #future which currently has 24.7 million followers, #startups with 20.3 million, and #management with 33.8 million – so that users who have indicated they are interested in these topics will be the first to see your post without you having to pay anything.

If you own or manage a business with multiple employees, partners, or shareholders, LinkedIn is a fantastic way to stay in touch with them even after you no longer work together. You’ll be able to see what they post, where they work, and who else they’re connected with. You can also message them directly with proposals and opportunities you think they might be suited for. This can be super useful as most of your connections will be either people in the same field as you, or friends in other fields who can open you up to new opportunities. It’s easy to lose touch with old university friends and co-workers from previous jobs, but when you own your own business it’s always useful to know people from all different industries for when unexpected jobs and opportunities come up. You can ‘endorse’ others for skills they have listed on their profiles – for example, if they have worked with you in a customer-facing role, you can endorse them in the ‘customer service’ skill. This will let their future employers know about their skills, and that they really did work where they say they did! This will be as helpful to you as it will be to them – they can list you or your business on their profile, making it visible to anyone who visits their profile, and therefore putting your brand’s name out there into the world of LinkedIn. For these reasons, many people use LinkedIn to stay connected with other relevant professionals, as well as an opportunity to build up a bigger network and find connections relevant to their industry. The most successful businesses and individuals are those that everyone knows and that know everyone – after all, we’ve all heard the saying a million times, “it’s all about who you know”!

If your business is growing and you’re starting to hire more and more new staff, LinkedIn is one of the most effective tools out there for finding capable individuals to advertise your positions to. You can quickly and effectively gather information about an individual based on what’s available on their profile, as well as who they’re connected with. You can get straight to the information you really want to know, instead of combing through dozens of buzzwords on someone’s CV – where have they worked? What are their skills? Who has endorsed them in these skills? LinkedIn also has “Premium” services, if you’re willing to pay for them, which promise ‘double the attention’ on your profile and posts and many more applications on your job postings. This is definitely a valuable option for more established companies that are growing quickly as the subscriptions for businesses and employment services can get expensive quickly – but for smaller businesses, we here at DIY are all about making every dollar you spend work hard for you! Check out our tools page to find services that can help you manage your LinkedIn and other social media, too.

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