I think LinkedIn is great, and no one has paid me or otherwise incentivised me to say so. When I am wearing my Mum taxi driver hat, sat in the car waiting for one of my kids to arrive (usually 10 minutes later than I would have hoped) it’s my go to app of choice, after checking email. So I thought I’d consider why I prefer it to other social media apps, or even playing a game to pass the time.
My love of LinkedIn wasn’t love at first click, when I joined LinkedIn in March 2009 it had only just gone global and had about 32 million members. I met someone at an event who suggest we connect, so I quickly went and set up an account so that we could. To start with I didn’t really see the value of it and didn’t really spend that much time looking at it. Like most people I thought it might be useful when job hunting but not much else. LinkedIn has grown impressively in the intervening years, currently standing at 562 million members, which I know is puny compared with Facebook. But I like the content more on LinkedIn, as for the most part it is relevant and interesting.
When I completed the Strengthsfinder (now Clifton Strengths) assessment years ago I realised that “Input” was something I thrived on, that’s to say I like a constant source of new information. I am the kind of person who gets twitchy if I haven’t seen the news or at least had a glance at the BBC news website each day. So LinkedIn provides me with that regular input, on usually relevant topics, that I like. I find things I want to like and share with people most days. We use LinkedIn as a company to promote our products, and services and hopefully show that we are a great company to work for. I like to share our successes such as awards wins, our involvement in charity activities and support of workplace issues that are important to me such as gender equality.
I also find it useful in terms of my network, with a recent example being when I was going to have an exploratory conversation with a potential customer on the other side of the world. It was a market I was completely unfamiliar with and I wanted to get some pointers from people I could trust so I sent LinkedIn messages to a handful of contacts I used to work with. They are all living/working in the potential customer’s country and within 24 hours or so all of them had replied (even more impressive when you consider the time difference!), even if it was to say they couldn’t offer any advice. Mostly it was useful information and helped steer me to some further research to allow me to feel better prepared for the meeting.
I also use LinkedIn to keep in touch with former colleagues to arrange catch ups when I am in their neck of the woods. I generally find people much more responsive via LinkedIn than via email, maybe we just get so many emails that it’s easier to ignore? Generally I only connect with people I actually know or have at least met. I will accept a cold connection request if it sounds interesting, but like everyone I will ignore sales pitches that are not relevant to me.
I know a lot of people won’t agree with me, saying it’s a sales tool and that there is too much rubbish (yes I have seen the posts from Oleg) and that’s fine. But for me I think LinkedIn is great and I would love to hear your thoughts.