I’ve been using LinkedIn for a less than a year and I’ve found it a very useful but different social networking website. The social network site, LinkedIn, has been around since 2003 and has seen a growth of over 70 million users to date. Although a majority of the users are located in the States, record shows UK LinkedIn users are growing steadily, meaning now is the time for UK businesses and companies to play a more active role using their LinkedIn profiles and if you don’t have one, set one up.
With the evolution of Social Media and Web 2.0, LinkedIn has had to evolve and grow with the times to match sister social network sites like Facebook and Twitter. It might not have over 500 million users but it has grown and created an all important niche for itself in the market – the professional network! One of the interesting developments for LinkedIn is the company profile and groups. Company profiles are used by businesses all over the world to publicize their business and update the public on their activities. Unlike Facebook pages, LinkedIn gives a more professional insight into companies by providing overview and statistics. It also shows business oriented activities, including company growth, new recruits and news from company blogs. I see this as sort of a Wikipedia page for companies, but updated by companies individually which makes it even better because it is updated faster and easily. It’s also a good place to do a little research into a company one is looking to work for, from an outsider’s point of view (I know I did it!). I’ll have to say one of the major achievements I associate with LinkedIn is found in the recruitment industry. It’s great the way various recruitment companies have set up company profiles for advertising jobs, providing updates and online workshops for writing CVs, job applications and tips for interviews, amongst other things. I believe this will end up making the recruitment process a lot more transparent, both for the recruiter and the recruitee due to easy and faster interaction. Apparently, recruitment agencies have had to step up their game because LinkedIn also allows companies to make their own job adverts. This could possibly push the middleman (recruitment agencies) out of business, hence their focus on transparency and interaction. LinkedIn Groups are also a very good place for finding information about various industries, with their open questions and discussions. Many companies and individuals have found being able to buy and sell products and services as well as job opportunities due to active participation in these groups. LinkedIn is less than 10 years old, but it has achieved a lot. I don’t see LinkedIn taking over social networking like Facebook or Twitter; it’s too professional for that, but any forward looking business should keep an eye on LinkedIn and learn to make good use of their profile and features for their products and services.