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LinkedIn – what’s in it for me as a business?

LinkedIn is often described as Facebook for the professional. It’s the social network with more of a focus on business-to-business or professional-to-professional.

LinkedIn tells us they have around 450 million professional users (growing at a rate of 1 million a week) who exchange information, ideas and opportunities and either look for a job or for someone to fill a role.

Australia accounts for five million of these users, representing an estimated 80 percent of professionals in the country.

It’s a great tool to help you stay informed about your contacts and industry, find the people and knowledge you need to achieve your goals, engage your potential clients in a two-way conversation and to control your professional identity online. Often when you’re searching for someone by their name on Google, their LinkedIn profile is the first thing to appear, so you can see how important having a good presence on the site is.

Businesses and organisations can also set up profiles on the site; many businesses use it to recruit (and check references) for new recruits. The largest part of the LinkedIn business is the Talent Services division, which lets recruiters search for LinkedIn users in a targeted way, and LinkedIn Jobs, whereby organisations post a job advert ensuring it’s targeted to the specific audience or prospect they are looking to attract. Companies also advertise more broadly on LinkedIn given its corporate audience – you’ll often find airlines advertising to attract business travellers.

LinkedIn is basically a content platform where members update their own information. Your home page is a mini news feed where you can see all of your linked connections and organisations’ updates in the one spot.

LinkedIn is free in terms of basic membership, but there are options to upgrade to enable you to search its databases, send an increased quota of messages directly to other members and also see detailed reporting on who has been digging through your profile.