social media toolsDo you have a free LinkedIn account? Have you considered upgrading to a paid account? Wondering if it’s worth it?

There are several options to choose from. Which one would be right for you?

In this article, we cover what you actually get for your money and how you might use some of the enhanced features.

Let’s take each area of the business upgrade in turn and run through it.

what features are up for grabs

Here's what you get for your money, but what does it all mean and how are you going to make use of it?

#1: InMails per Month

An InMail is simply an email that can be sent to anyone on LinkedIn, whether they’re in your network or not. Before you say, “Why don’t I just call and get the person’s email address and use that for free?”, the LinkedIn InMails work much better. In fact, LinkedIn actually states that InMails are 30% more effective than using regular emails.

They’re more successful because they’re less of a cold, spammy email, the person to whom you’re sending it instantly knows that you’re part of the LinkedIn community and the receiver can also simply click on your name and check you out very quickly. If they like what they see, they may respond favorably.

The really cool thing here is if you don’t get a reply within 7 days, you get the credit back to your account where it can sit for up to 90 days. In effect, you get a refund.

I’ve used InMails very successfully and my secret to you is keep the content light and be yourself. No carefully crafted company content here. You may simply want to send a message of congratulations to a CEO who just won entrepreneur of the year, or some other little snippet that you’ve picked up in the news.

You can then put a quick one-liner at the end to say something like “Now you know I exist, if you ever need any help with (insert industry), you know where I am.” All you’re trying to do is put yourself on their radar for the future, so don’t overdo it! Remember, they can very easily just click on your profile and see what it is you do.

#2: Profile Organizer

This is a great tool if you’re doing a lot of research on LinkedIn. Ideal for recruitment, or simply prospecting, you can create folders and add profiles to them.

You don’t have to keep rerunning a search and wondering where you are with the search results, as the profile organizer also allows you to make notes and add contact details only visible to you about each profile. When you go to your profile organizer, you can see what messages you’ve sent as well as the notes and what folder they’re in.

file people

Makes it easy to "file" people.

#3: Premium Search Filters

With the upgrade, you can find exactly who you’re looking for in half the time, view their full profile and then make contact with InMail. With the free version, your search is limited and you’re much more restricted. It can be time-consuming to check through each profile for criteria you’re looking for.

extra search functions

You get the extra search functions (highlighted with the gold logo).

#4: Profiles per Search

With a pro account, you’ll get up to 1000 search results. This is very handy if you use LinkedIn a lot. In the free version, you get a maximum of 100 results per search, even if there are thousands to choose from, and LinkedIn will automatically pull to the front people within your network. By network, I mean your first-, second- and third-degree connections. The search function will then look for profiles outside of your network if it needs to.

#5: Saved Search Alerts

Another labor-saver that you can set up is when someone either changes their job role or joins LinkedIn and matches the criteria you’re looking for, you get an email. Almost like a Google alert, you simply get the information in an email.

set up alerts

Set up an alert to make search easy.

#6: Introduction Requests

Introductions are available with the free account also, but with the upgrade, you’re allowed to have 50 outstanding at any one time.

Introductions simply allow you to send a message to someone you’re not connected to, via someone you are connected to. You can write a note for the person you’re trying to contact (person A), and write a separate note for the person you want to pass it on (person B). The beauty is that person B can see what you want her to pass on to person A, and make a decision whether she’s happy to do so. Person B then has the option to send it on or decline.

You can send an introduction to people in your second- and third-degree network. The only thing I don’t like about this is the message doesn’t appear in your regular email box (i.e., in Outlook), it only appears in your inbox in LinkedIn. So you need to visit your inbox on LinkedIn regularly.

#7: Profile Stats

Now I really like this as it gives you a good insight into how people are finding you. You can see who has viewed your profile (as long as they’ve not opted to be known as “anonymous user”), the keywords that were used to find your profile and the number of times you appeared in the search. That’s great to know so that you can tweak things on your own profile if necessary.

how often do you appear

How often do you appear in someone's search?

#8: Expanded View

Sometimes you may do a search and the results come back with PRIVATE. This happens when the person you’re searching for is out of your network. Even with the upgraded version, you won’t get to see the expanded profiles of everyone on LinkedIn.

What you will get though is the full name of your third-degree connections; whereas the free users will only see their third-degree connection’s first name and last initial. You can’t ever see the full name of those people out of your network unless you’re searching via their name.

A workaround is to simply Google the current position information and, very often, you’ll find your answer. You can then search for the person in the usual way on LinkedIn and send an InMail.

no more secrecy

No more secrecy.

#9: Open Link

mail google

Allow people to contact you.

Another option to consider is whether to use the Open Link icon or not. On my profile I want people to contact me. So by having this little icon present, it allows anyone on LinkedIn to get in touch with me without having to use an introduction or an InMail, so it’s free and easy to do.

#10: Sneak Peeks

When any new features are due to come out, you get a sneak peek of the upcoming features. Very cool.

The beauty of the upgraded version is that you can simply try it out to see if you like it. There’s no contract, so if you change your mind, you can revert back to the free version. Although you may wish you hadn’t. You get quite used to the extra functionality.

For more on LinkedIn, read the 26 Tips to Enhance Your Experience on LinkedIn and find out How LinkedIn Apps Can Promote Your Business.

Do you have a new or improved idea for a LinkedIn feature? Are you currently using the upgraded version? Leave your comments in the box below.

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  • Linkedin is doing great things for the average job business..and the upgrades just takes it to another level.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Linda – Are you finding the advanced search tool to be effective?


  • ericbrody

    Thanks Linda. Incredibly timely, as I was just in the midst of upgrading. Appreciate the advice, and will certainly share.


  • Have never upgraded in all this time, although funnily enough I was thinking about doing it this week. Seems like some compelling reasons now to do so. Thanks – Matt.

  • Hi Jeff. Definately worth it for the in mails alone if you are actively using LinkedIn for business generation. Linda

  • Linda,

    Thank you for the very thorough overview. This is perfect timing for me.

    The Profile Organizer seems to be a great feature. You would be able to keep all your notes right there in the application instead of have to create a file somewhere else.

    Thank you again – Theresa

  • Jmseiler

    Excellent summary Linda. Since I’ve been upgraded for a while I didn’t realize I was getting the extra search features as a result. LOL! Thought those were standard.

    I’d love to see a post on how you use ‘alerts’ in linkedin.
    Thanks, Judy

    P.S. Jeff, I use the advanced search tool frequently and find it helpful.

  • Thanks for the info, Linda! I have a LinkedIn account – simply the freebie – but after reading this, I’ll definitely be looking into the upgraded version. Sounds like a much more effective way to go. Thanks again!


  • David Geer

    The last time I upgraded, you could use the features you are paying for, then downgrade again when you don’t need them. Is that still the case?

  • Thanks, Linda, for the great run down on “what you get” with the premium accounts.

    I’m an active user on LI, but I just can’t see the benefits for the upgrade *for most people.* I think these upgrades are great for professional networkers or people who head up member-based organizations, but I feel that the free LI has more value than I can even tap into, and I’m guessing a lot of marketers and business owners feel the same.

    I’ve been recommending that people use the free version, and if they feel that they’ve hit the ceiling on what’s possible, that then they investigate the upgrade.

  • Pragya Thakur

    If I read some great stats about how useful and effective a tool LinkedIn is for a job hunter I might consider upgrading but sometimes it just seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors.

  • alexasamuels

    Linda, your post is timely given that LinkedIn is promoting a free month trial of the Job Seeker upgraded account. So I’m trying it.

    As you mentioned in your list, one of the most interesting (enlightening?) aspects of the paid account is how much more useful “who has viewed your profile” is for the upgraded version. Not only does it provide the full list, but I was surprised to see how far back in history it went. This could become addictive… ( – for fun!)

  • Hi Linda.

    I highly appreciate this tutorial here.

    Started out with a upgraded promo, and I chose to continue with the upgraded version. So this was awesome info.

    Still need to look into some tips and tutorials related to recommendations. Any articles or info you suggest to check out here?

    Cheers.. Are

  • absolutely agree with you

  • Hi Judy, good idea for an article, I have made a note 🙂

  • Hi David, Yes, there is no contract so you can give it a go and if you don’t use it, revert back. Linda 🙂

  • Hi Rich, I think I am on my own private crusade to educate people on what a great tool LinkedIn is, how you can use it effectively, and so many people just are not aware of what it can do.

    Keep using it, and as Rich says, when you hit the ceiling or just get more curious, try the next level 🙂

  • Hi Are, That sounds a whole other article too, so I’ve just written it down for later to do something about 🙂

  • LinkedIn still remains the finest platform for establishing new contacts and creating a concrete relationship with business partners as well as clients. The website is evolving with passing of time. I am glad to have come by this post. Keep it coming. Thanks!
    Agency Platform

  • Great insight into the power of LinkedIn premium accounts. My biggest hesitation is the cost. I think LinkedIn would benefit greatly from creating another “Entry-Level” account level at $9.99/month.
    This price-point would open up premium features to many more users and allow LinkedIn to access an entirely new revenue stream.

  • Very good information, well presented! Linkedin really is the best business-to-business networking tool out there still: Facebook just broadcasts, everything/everywhere, mixing personal with business with no protections. Twitter is the firehose. But Linkedin really provides some solid value and should be part of the arsenal of tools any business uses.

    (I do wish, however, that businesses would quit establishing regular Linkedin accounts and then trying to network like an individual person. Sigh.)

    Thanks for sharing this info!

  • Greg Coyle

    Hi Linda- great tips for Linkedin. If you’re interested in using Linkedin to its full potential for networking and/or your job search, upgrading to a premium account can be well worth it. Linkedin is a great tool if used properly. However, the free version can be great in and of itself. Make sure to think about how frequently you’re going to use the premium version’s benefits when deciding whether to upgrade or not. It could be well worth your money when building your network and personal brand.

  • Noshills

    Linda I hope you are not shilling for LinkedIn as it really sounds like a blatant commercial here.

  • JDGershbein

    Hi Linda,

    You left out perhaps the most important feature (at least, to me!) in upgrading the Linkedin account–specifically, the enhanced Who’s Viewed My Profile feature. I consider the touch point built around those people who have accessed me on LinkedIn a key strategy. With the “vanilla” product, you only see 5 at at time (in no particular order); with the upgrade, you get the chronology of all visitors to your LinkedIn profile. I find this extremely valuable and have forged some terrific connections with people whom I contacted after they checked me out on LinkedIn–providing, of course, that they have made their information visible to me (as opposed to “Anonymous LinkedIn User” or “Someone in the Whatever Industry in the Greater Wherever Area.”).

  • Sounds like a great idea ! Would’ve been nice to link THIS comment login to LinkedIn as well?

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  • Nicola_ama

    Super summary, I have an account but as Rich suggested you dont use all the features until you’ve hit the ceiling as it were.

    I like others above would like to learn more about alerts and tips relating to recommendations.

    Thank you Linda

  • We did the upgrade and found it without value and overpriced. We all already give our time, energy and information to make Linked In viable — they should pay us. Time for a forever-free alternative.

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  • Pedrmat2007

    Can someone help me on this! I see that there is a fee for the upgrades but what I don’t understand is the value added to the chart for the Inmalis. Is there an extra charge if you want the InMails? How does it work? I hope someone can help me out!!!! Pedro

  • Kwabena

    I didn’t hear any one saying that their actually receive business leads after upgrading, can someone comment on this?

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  • I still not update my Linkedin account, I think I will change my mind soon. Thanks for great explaining. 

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  • stanmann

    I do not have a premium account and LinkedIn will only let me view the first 25 pages (500 names), and there is over 2100 members in the group.

    Will a premium account let me look at all the members in the group?

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  • Swarna

    Thank you for a nice information!

  • Tiffaney Empowering Women

    Great commentary Linda. I was considering upgrading my account but didn’t understand all of the benefits. This was helpful.

  • Heather

    Quick question what does the LinkedIn icon mean? Why the two toned blues and word in?

  • Do Linked In premium users get their writing promoted or listed more favourably on pulse than basic members?

  • Cindi Rose

    This does not answer my question. I have around 2,000 people I know of who signed on to my LInkedin, and it says 500+. How dose it show that I have over 1,000?

  • Cindi Rose

    I am not interested in hiring anyone, or being hired by anyone in a general way, I merely want my own art to be seen more on the internet. That is how my career does better, as it is not a basic career. Thanks.