Today we will look at LinkedIn as a tool to grow your business. Specifically, we will answer the question: Is LinkedIn worth your time? In the second part, we will shift to practical ways to use LinkedIn effectively.

Is LinkedIn worth your time? As the Marketing Director for Summit Accounting Solutions, this is a question I’m asked a lot by our advisors and accountants.

The very short answer is, yes! But how effective it can be totally depends on your goals. If you are posting on LinkedIn simply because you were told you had to post, chances are you’re wasting your time. But before we get into that, let’s take a step back.

First, what is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social media tool for business professionals. It is a platform used for professionals to share their industry knowledge and experience, while networking with other business professionals. Think of it like the Facebook of the business professional world.

How do people use LinkedIn?

With over 575 million users, LinkedIn has a massive base. While this comes up well short of Facebook’s 2.7 billion users, it is still a respectable number.

Here’s an interesting stat: the average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes per MONTH on LinkedIn. That is an incredibly low number when you consider the average daily Facebook user spends 41 minutes per DAY on Facebook.

Why does this matter to you? It matters because we need to get into the mind of the average LinkedIn user in order to understand how to use it effectively. 

When you think about it, it is really not that complicated. Facebook is a social platform showing people’s lives. It is your closest friends and family members posting content of how they are living, which — as social creatures by default — most of us have a genuine interest in.

Business professionals, on the other hand, are busy people. There are only so many work hours in a day. The time for consuming industry information is quite limited. And yet, business professionals do care about networking and making professional connections. Why? Because it benefits them. Let’s face it. Professionally, most of us are looking out for #1. Networking, be it in person or virtually, is one of the quickest ways to find opportunities. 

Understanding the motive behind why people use social networks, it is really no surprise to see that LinkedIn is thriving as a social network, despite so little actual time spent on the platform.

So how can you use LinkedIn to benefit you? The answer is that you need to give people what they want. You need to show them how you can add value to their professional lives.

The good news is, it is really easy to get in front of a large, targeted audience on LinkedIn. The challenge is communicating how you will benefit them in a way that is brief and to the point so that you earn a share of the user’s 17 minutes for the month. And if you can do that, chances are you’ll earn the right to their 17 minutes next month as well.

It is not about selling a product, it is completely about communicating your value.

That could be through a blog post or video where you share industry tips that they would gain knowledge from. That could be a discount or promotion you are running. That could be a business offering you have that can save them money. It could simply be reaching out to them and asking them, “how can I add value to you?” Maybe you can offer them an introduction or referral to help them in their business. Start by offering them value. This will in turn cause people to want to return the value to you.

Remember, LinkedIn users are on this social network to make business connections and get ahead professionally. Help your connections do this and you will see it reciprocated! 

Now that we’ve talked about the philosophy for why you should use LinkedIn, in our next post, we will list some practical tips for using LinkedIn effectively. Stay tuned!