What is LinkedIn? Features and Benefits of the top Social Network for Professionals

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LinkedIn is a social networking site that is specifically designed for business networking. It allows business professionals to connect with each other, cultivate their relationship, and meet each other’s additional contacts, thereby expanding the web to more and more people. Since the focus is on business it allows people in similar industries and career trajectories to benefit from each other’s knowledge and resources.

History and Stats of the LinkedIn Brand

LinkedIn was founded in December of 2002 and launched in May of 2003. It operates in more than 200 countries and territories and in a wide variety of languages. In terms of sheer numbers it has the most users in the United States, but also has a huge base in India, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Canada. In terms of adoption rate, outside of the US, it is most used in The Netherlands.

It became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in May of 2011 and in the first day its stock price rose more than 109 percent! In the course of its growth it has made acquisitions of such companies as Mspoke, Slideshare, and Rapportive. It has also opened a European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Its revenue has continued to grow at a healthy pace.

Features of LinkedIn

LinkedIn features a number of extremely useful tools and features. In addition to the ability to search for people based on name, job title, or a range of other criteria, it also allows users to interact in a variety of specialized ways. For instance users can ask each other questions with the LinkedIn Answers section, or connect to other like-minded people in the groups section.

LinkedIn is also fully compatible with other social networking sites, such as Twitter. Plus, it has its own apps system which provides members with tools such as Events in their area, a fantastic slideshow and presentation tool, polls, and even the ability to display unique artwork.

LinkedIn is also a terrific resource for those who are seeking a job. Members can apply search for their dream jobs and apply right through the site, using their profiles as a resume. Plus, thanks to LinkedIn’s other features it makes it very easy for potential applicants to research a company or hiring executive prior to any meetings. Potential employers also benefit from LinkedIn’s services by gaining access to a network of talented applicants and once again having the luxury of researching their qualifications before making any offers.

LinkedIn Marketing and Its Benefits

One of the best ways for a business to utilize LinkedIn is as a marketing tool. LinkedIn provides a great opportunity for increasing the visibility and industry awareness of a company. Status updates provide a quick and easy way for companies and individuals to share their thoughts and bounce to the top of the feeds of the people in their networks.

Plus, thanks to the answers section it is easy for people to demonstrate their expertise in an area in a low pressure, fun atmosphere, which will yield respect, admiration, and quite possibly business. LinkedIn even provides a way for companies to research their target demographics, or get information directly from them using polls. Many people and businesses have used LinkedIn as a means to vastly increase their business and revenue.

The bottom line is that any working professionals who ignores LinkedIn is doing themselves and their companies a disservice. While the reality that social networking has permeated every sphere of life, including and especially one’s professional life, may be unsettling to some people at first, it is nevertheless a reality. Rather than struggling against it, or bemoaning this shift, it is time for working people at all levels and across all industries to get on board and adopt this trend. LinkedIn will provide many more benefits than liabilities to those who use it wisely.

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