It may be surpirising to you, but I lost a track of how many times people have told me: “Hmm, LinkedIn… I have probably heard about it, but I don’t have a profile there” or, what is even more astonishing, “What is LinkedIn?”. Those questions made me write this blog entry and shortly describe the benefits for every professional to be present on this platform.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social website focused on professional networking. It’s similar to Facebook because users create their own profiles and connect to people they know there. Where it differs is that Facebook connects a person to his/her friends and family, whereas LinkedIn is for staying in touch with and growing own professional network. It has been called Facebook with a suit and tie, and Twitter on its best behavior. With the help of this social network, B2B marketers seem to be gaining the most leads.

LinkedIn is a dynamic social media tool that is perfect for searching for job oportunities, engaging professional communities of like-minded people, hosting links to colleagues, recommendations and multimedia presentations.

How does LinkedIn work?

A user first creates a profile by adding personal information including basic data, professional experience, education, skills, interests, website links and contact information. Next a user adds and manages connections. LinkedIn suggest a list of people this user might know by integrating with e-mail programs, such as Hotmail, Gmail or Microsoft Outlook. It’s also possible to search for people, companies, universities, groups, jobs and articles there. Once a user has set up on this website, s/he can communicate and engage the network by asking questions, sharing content and making introductions.

Features of LinkedIn

There are many applications for further customizing presence on this website. They help a profile to become an interactive multimedia portfolio. For instance, SlideShare allows uploading and sharing PowerPoint-like presentations with visitors, seeing the number of views and commenting on each other’s presentations. The Google Docs application enables adding YouTube videos into the presentations. WordPress is one of the world’s most popular blog platforms. It is an easy way to keep connections informed on written content because it provides an application that lets users link their recent blog posts to LinkedIn profiles.

Benefits of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a valuable tool for increasing the ongoing social engagement in the professional practice. For example, there are different ways to use LinkedIn for building awareness. In order to make connections aware of current events, a user can send direct messages to connections, share updates, attach links to articles, presentations, videos and other information. Besides that, this network allows users to receive feedback from their connections about the shared content.

LinkedIn is also a great tool for building collaborations across professional networks. Joining a group allows a user to take part in discussions with other professionals who are interested in the same topic. Apart from this, each user can add value to his/her connections by answering questions posted on LinkedIn and introduce other members to each other. The goodwill earned through these acts can have an impact on the network in limitless positive ways.

It should be also mentioned that LinkedIn’s search capabilities provide an excellent means of connecting with the right potential clients. LinkedIn shows how many degrees of separation exist between, for example, the sales manager and the marketing manager of the potential client company, as well as which contacts they may have in common.

What is more, LinkedIn company pages are an exquisite avenue for sharing content about the company, its products and services, recruiting new employees, and sharing information about the team.

Do you have a profile on LinkedIn? Do you consider this platform as an important tool for you? Are you an active user of it? Let’s get connected and learn more about our professional lives! See you there!