written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 11/12/2010
LinkedIn is a new social networking website which allows people to find business connections and solicit their services. Of the sites reviewed in this series, LinkedIn most certainly has the best contributions to business purposes, and should certainly be used.
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LinkedIn is the most business appropriate social network in this series of social networking websites. Though people may connect with old classmates, profiles here allow people to showcase their skills and work experience in order to find new business connections and jobs. This site will help individuals find jobs and has a recommendation feature to allow users to vouch for each other virtually, so as to help in the real world.
Companies may also create profiles which are listed in a directory for users to search through just as the personal profiles are. With a company profile, businesses can let people looking for jobs know who they are, what they do, common job titles they work with, who else listed on LinkedIn works with them, and more.
Unlike the other social networking websites in this series, LinkedIn does not aim to help businesses find customers and address the target audience issues; it serves to help businesses find each other, along with helping individuals find business connections to find a job, or develop a deeper relationship with--such as investing.
With company profiles, people will be able to see new hires and position changes/promotions within the company to learn about it. Some consumers may come from this information through connections on the network--say John Doe works for company profile A, and Jane decides to purchase services from company profile B, the company John worked for before accepting the position at A--because Jane saw John's profile on LinkedIn, and chose to check out the companies. This is a possibility, though a long shot, as it is not particularly the aim of LinkedIn.
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Different account types allow for different experiences on LinkedIn.The screen shot below is a comparison of the account types, directly from the LinkedIn website.
The account type chosen will impact the experience a user has on the website, though starting with a free personal account will help a user decide if upgrading is necessary. There are no frivolous features with LinkedIn like photo or video sharing present in other networks.
Users may choose to elect to participate in market research studies related to their field, though this participation is completely voluntary.
Does allowing your employees to participate in social networking activities place your business security at risk? In this six part series, learn about five popular social networking websites and what harm they may or may not cause to your business security.