One of the best social networks for the professional today is LinkedIn. It’s not strictly about vocational skills, but it isn’t just about being social either. It can be an excellent platform for people to find new business partners. Opportunities can be found every day. Businesses can even find new employees to fill their open positions with ease.
With that being said, there is no denying the value which LinkedIn for Business provides to the small business owner. New connections mean new business ventures. New ventures mean more opportunities to create revenues and profits. That’s why a complete look at the pros and cons of LinkedIn for Business is essential for every professional.
What Are the Pros of LinkedIn for Business?
1. It improves the SEO profile of a small business.
Search engines today look for value. Sometimes this is found in content. At other times it is found by how often content is shared with others. With LinkedIn for Business, professionals get the chance to hit both of these key points. They can create content which is directly shared on the social platform, which can then be shared as an article link on other social sites like Facebook or Twitter. This means the most crucial bits of information have increased internet exposure and this can lead to better overall conversion rates.
2. It’s an easy way to stay up-to-date within an industry.
Whether a small business owner wants the latest information on their products or services or someone just has a passing interest in a certain subject, LinkedIn for Business helps to keep everyone in the loop. You have instant access to every upcoming trend or idea that is being talked about right now. As an added benefit, you can also become part of the conversation where people within the same industry share their own experiences or lend advice.
3. It is a cost-effective networking venture.
For people who are on a limited budget, LinkedIn for Business offers a basic account for free that can help to build a professional identity. It allows people to build a network that they trust as well. Free accounts are even allowed to request up to 5 introductions at one time and get weekly alerts on saved searches. Even if you want a premium account, the cost can be less than $600 per year.
4. You know specific information about customer and/or industry segments.
When you have specific data about what people want, then you know how to create something of value. This is the cornerstone of any potential business opportunity. This also provides a secondary advantage as it gives people the information needed to find new business partners, recruit new employees, and ultimately reduce overhead costs.
5. It provides a chance to offer niche expertise.
People today gravitate toward whomever has the most influential data to share. The internet is filled with information and much of it isn’t accurate. Maybe you’ve heard the statistic that 90% of the statistics you’ll find online are made up? Thanks to the answers program within LinkedIn for Business, you get the chance to show off the niche expertise you have within your industry without the need to develop your own site. In return, you get an affordable boost to your credibility.
6. Company information can be researched for literally nothing.
Whether your focus is B2B or B2C, companies have a chance to research anyone without spending anything. This can let you know if a potential business opportunity that seems a little too good to be true really is.. or if it could be a dream investment. Add in the global access that LinkedIn for Business provides and even foreign direct investments and other methods of portfolio expansion which require due diligence to be performed are easier to complete.
7. It’s a fast way to establish personal credibility.
LinkedIn for Business allows customers and partners to offer testimonials regarding your activities. Virtually any data can be shared that can make individuals and businesses look good. Company contacts can also be included with this information so that when someone encounters a positive testimonial or locates skills that are needed for an upcoming project, they can reach out immediately to begin the relationship-building process.
8. It enhances your visibility.
In many ways, any professional who wants to get noticed online needs to have a LinkedIn for Business account. There’s no better way to enhance personal visibility in the white noise of data the internet provides. Even if all you’re trying to do is find a job, you’ll become easier to find when you have an active and optimized account. You still have privacy with this advantage as well because you can mask your network so your data can’t be mined by others.
What Are the Cons of LinkedIn for Business?
1. You are going to receive tons of spam messaging.
Not every message you receive when on this social platform is going to be useful. When you start using LinkedIn for Business to advance your own cause, you’ll find others are going to do the same with you. Not only must you filter out all of this spam, which takes time, but you’ve also got to make sure that your own valuable expertise isn’t being deleted by others because it’s being seen as spam as well.
2. It requires a large initial time investment.
Not every business professional is active on LinkedIn. It can take time for connections to form and conversations to get started. You’ll spend much of your initial time with introductions as you work on building connections. This process can be tedious and sometimes even unsuccessful. Premium accounts can help limit the time investment, but that also means making a monetary investment that some small business owners or individuals might not be ready to make.
3. Many people use LinkedIn for Business to sell.
Sometimes networking is about making a sale, but more often than not it is about forming a relationship. You’ll find that many of the initial connections you might be making are wanting you to buy something instead. Even when networking, you still have to do some selling because your connections typically must introduce you to people you may know. Premium accounts can avoid some of this, but not all of it.
4. Networking interactivity is rather limited compared to other social platforms.
If you’re used to Facebook or Twitter and you come over to LinkedIn for Business, then you’re going to be in for quite a surprise. Interactions are rather limited on the site. You’re going to spend more time working up your profile than you are making comments, creating posts, and the other methods of interaction you’re used to having on other sites.
5. LinkedIn for Business doesn’t always happen in real time.
You have no predictability as to when someone will be online with their LinkedIn for Business account. Hundreds of millions of people log into Facebook every day and over 1.3 billion people use it once per month. When you’re making a business connection through LinkedIn, however, you might find some connections take 6 months or more to get back with you.
6. There’s no guarantee that someone has the expertise they claim.
LinkedIn for Business allows others to endorse people and the skills which they have, but someone who is new to the site isn’t going to have any endorsements at all. This means there may be no guarantees that the network your forming is actually going to be a beneficial network. You’ll also find this rule applies to you – until you start receiving independent endorsements of your skills, many professionals are going to operate with caution around you.
7. Breaking up the premium accounts into monthly charges is even more expensive.
A business premium account might cost less than $600, but that’s only if you pay the annual charge in one lump sum. If you need to break down the charges into a monthly payment, you could find yourself paying $59.99 per month + any taxes required for the account. That’s an extra $119.98 that could be funneled into other opportunities.
8. LinkedIn for Business searches can pull in negative personal data.
Did you leave a negative review on Yelp? Or make a comment of Facebook that in retrospect maybe shouldn’t have been left? LinkedIn for Business has a high domain authority, which means related content to the individual or business with an account is going to display in searches. The chances of something negative being seen are generally quite small, but it is still a possibility. You may wish to delete items which could be seen as questionable.
The pros and cons of LinkedIn for Business show that it can be a very beneficial development and outreach process. It can also help to improve conversion rates, find good employees, and naturally increase sales over the long-term. If you’re looking to network outside of a business purpose, however, you may find that other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are going to provide better networking opportunities.