A common criticism of LinkedIn made by business owners and directors is the level of spam messages received from recruitment agencies. This has led to the perception that LinkedIn is primarily a recruitment platform: a great place to go for individuals looking for jobs and for recruitment consultants looking to gain money by placing them in positions. How true is this perception? Despite its networking potential, is LinkedIn really little more than a glorified jobseeker’s forum?
LinkedIn As An Online Job Market
There are two ways to approach this question. Firstly it is important to state that LinkedIn is not only a tool for recruitment. This would be an unfair assessment. However, LinkedIn has proven to be a very effective recruitment tool, and is used by both jobseekers and recruitment agencies. If you have a LinkedIn profile as a business owner, chances are you may have been approached by a recruitment consultant. This isn’t spam per se. The recruiter will have been using LinkedIn’s excellent search facility to seek out business owners and decision-makers in their chosen industry. A lot of businesses do find high-quality professionals to fill their job vacancies on LinkedIn – far more cost effectively than going through a traditional recruiter or job advertising website. This element of LinkedIn should not be overlooked, but is not its main function.
Why Recruiters Use LinkedIn
This brings us to our second point: The important question for a business owner is why LinkedIn is such a fertile market for recruitment. To answer this is to reveal the true value and marketing potential of LinkedIn. There are three factors to consider, which we will explore below:
1) ‘Everybody’ Uses LinkedIn
According to LinkedIn’s own statistics, as of April 2017 the platform had 500 million registered users, an increase from 467 million when figures were last released in October 20161. To put this in perspective, that’s a growth of two new members per second. Based on numbers alone, clearly LinkedIn is a force to be reckoned with. These users do include both jobseekers and recruitment agents, but they also include millions of business decision-makers.
These figures probably embrace the majority of business decision-makers in the UK and across the world. Of course, the argument could be made that the majority of these profiles are inactive, or are bogus profiles – a criticism commonly levelled against Facebook. This appears not be true in LinkedIn’s case. For the last quarter of 2016, the platform had 106 million active monthly users – a quarter of the total. LinkedIn also estimated that 40% of its active users accessed the platform daily. The chances are, therefore, that most – if not all – of the decision-makers in your target market are already LinkedIn members; and maybe active ones waiting to connect with you.
2) LinkedIn is The Best Business Networking Tool on The Planet
The great quandary in business has always been how to connect with relevant decision-makers. Sure, you can go along to business lunches and expensive conferences, or try your hand at telephone cold calling, but you will eventually run into two problems: prohibitive costs compared with returns, and the issue of getting past gatekeepers, such as secretaries and PAs.
LinkedIn solves both of these problems. First of all, using LinkedIn’s basic features is absolutely free, eliminating the cost factor. Premium features are available for a monthly subscription and paid advertising is extremely reasonable – so you’ll spend far less than you would attending conferences and networking meetings. Secondly, LinkedIn provides easy access to any decision maker and director you can imagine, allowing you to bypass the dreaded gatekeepers and build relationships directly. If used properly and thoughtfully, this makes LinkedIn the most cost-effective business networking tool on the planet – bar none.
3) LinkedIn Has The Most Advanced Search Function of Any Social Network
LinkedIn’s search function is fantastic. It is enough to make recruiters and marketing professionals drawl; and if it hasn’t had the same effect on you so far, we’re pretty sure it will do soon. At the top of every LinkedIn page is a search bar that lets you seek out people, businesses, posts, jobs, groups and schools (including universities, colleges etc.)
If you know the name of the person or business you are looking for, you can search directly. If you know the name of the business but not the person you are looking for, you can search by job title, e.g. “Director, JDR Group”. You can also search for multiple people this way.
Individual or multiple companies can also be searched for by typing in a combination of keywords, which will bring up all company pages or individual profiles associated with those terms.
You can also conduct more general searches, which are useful for discovering business connections. LinkedIn gives you plenty of variables to use to narrow your search down to only the most relevant results. These include searches by location radius, industry, company size, individual employment history and educational background, recent posts and more.
Learn even more about the power of LinkedIn with these great articles:
Use LinkedIn To Reboot Your Business Networking Strategy
As we have seen, LinkedIn has a suite of tools that make it exceptionally useful, not only to recruiters, but to businesses in any industry. By using LinkedIn’s search and networking functions, businesses can build connections, promote content and cultivate leads. At JDR, we are here to support you in getting the best returns from LinkedIn. To discuss a personalised LinkedIn strategy, please get in touch with one of our social media marketing specialists today.