Do 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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
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#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.
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#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.
#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.
#9: Open Link
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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