What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is an online profiling and collaboration tool for professionals. As stated on their website, “Re-connect: Find past and present colleagues and classmates quickly. LinkedIn makes staying in touch simple. Power your career: Discover inside connections when you’re looking for a job or new business opportunity. Get answers: Your network is full of industry experts willing to share advice.” By creating a LinkedIn profile, you can potentially connect with anyone who have ever worked with or studied with.
Where can you get / access it?
The LinkedIn website is www.linkedin.com.
What does it cost?
The cost of individual or company registration is free for the basic package. Then there are three levels of premium packages available, the Business package at $24.95 per month, the Business plus package at $49.95 per month and the Executive package at $99.95 per month. Each of these packages add extended features such as “InMail” messages, faster searches, bookmarking and profile organizing and gaining introductions inside targeted companies.
Advertising and recruitment services do incur a fee for as little as $10 per day, or you can set a daily budget depending on the package you select.
How are businesses using it?
Businesses are able to add themselves to a Service Provider Directory. Employees can add the business profile to their work information. Related industries are able to find people who they may want to work with. Corporate entities may want to seek the services of someone to whom they have worked with before. A short list of categories are Attorneys, Chiropractors, Commercial Real Estate Agents, Consultants, Dentists, Event Planners, Graphic Designers, Photographers Physical Therapists Property Managers, Real Estate Agents, Recruiters, Search Engine Optimization Experts, Tax Advisors, Travel Agents and Writers (LinkedIn, 2010a).
Over 75 million professionals have an online profile with LinkedIn. Many recruitment firms are using this platform to source talented resources to fill their clients’ needs. They are able to perform background checks and find references for a prospective resource.
Users are able to re-connect or keep in touch with colleagues by being able to view each others’ current work situations and experiences gained. Since users can “follow” business profiles, they can keep a track on people movements and spot trends in recruitment and if any jobs are available.
Employees can also build personal profiles that relate to their career experience, projects that have worked on and education background. Potential customers can view the skills of the employees and gain piece of mind that their projects are in good hands.
How can a cabinet making business use it?
People are the most important and the most expensive part of any business system. LinkedIn helps find and keep the best quality people. Industries like cabinet making are very specialised and many individuals will most likely know one another through common industry links, education and competing products and processes.
As an example, David Sharp, owner at Cutting Edge Kitchens and Cabinet Making, uses a Premium LinkedIn account (LinkedIn, 2010b).