Do you have a free LinkedIn account?
Are you wondering if you should upgrade to a paid account?
LinkedIn is known for providing an amazing connection and networking service, with many of its best and most useful tools available for free.
So why should you consider upgrading to a paid account?
In this article I will share three compelling reasons why you should consider upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium membership.
These three useful features include the Advanced Search, Who’s Viewed Your Profile and InMail.
While there are a number of different types of paid LinkedIn accounts you can choose from (LinkedIn Premium, For Recruiters, For Job Seekers, For Sales Professionals), LinkedIn Premium is the most balanced paid account type that will generally suit most business owners and professionals.
The LinkedIn Premium account has four different levels of membership that you can choose from depending on your budget and needs:
- Business Plus
Here are three of the benefits that may have you wanting to switch from a free account to a LinkedIn Premium account.
#1: Narrow Your Target With Advanced Search
The left section of the Advanced Search is available to all LinkedIn members and includes several fields such as keywords, location and company. In the right-hand section of the Advanced Search are several Premium fields that are valuable because of their ability to help you greatly narrow down and target your searches.
While several fields (Industries, Groups, Relationship and Current Company) are available to all members, there are eight fields that are available to the different levels of paying members only (all eight fields are available only to the Executive and Pro Premium level members). Premium Members with the Business or Business Plus level membership have access to the following four fields:
- Company Size—This can be beneficial; for example, for businesses that target small businesses and freelancers (select the 1-10 option), members looking for very large businesses (select the 10,000+ option) or any size in between.
- Seniority Level—Narrow your search by seniority levels such as VP, manager, senior, owner and partner.
- Interested In—Choose from options such as Industry Experts, Entrepreneurs, Potential Employees or Consultants/Contractors to look for specific groups of people.
- Fortune 1000—Search strictly for employees at Fortune 1000 companies. There are a number of options that allow you to select the Fortune 50, Fortune 501-1000 and several choices in between.
For example, you may want to search for facilitators within your local area whom you may not already be connected with but you share a group with. To do this, you would simply type “facilitator” into the Keyword field, select the country, enter your ZIP code or postal code and select within 50 mi (80 km) and finally select Group Members under Relationship.
Another example would be if you were looking to connect with the Communications VPs of Fortune 50 companies whom you share a connection or group with. For this search, you would type “communications” into the keyword field, select Location Anywhere and then check 2nd Connections and Group Members from Relationship, VP from Seniority Level and Fortune 50 under the Fortune 1000 section.
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Finally, Advanced Search allows you to save your searches. Not only will this feature remember your search, it will also send you weekly or monthly notices of any new member profiles that become a part of your network. You can also scan these new profiles from the Saved Search Tab by clicking on the number under New.
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As a free member, you can save three searches, while Premium members have the ability to save up to 7 with the additional bonus of 500 profiles showing up in the search results rather than the standard 100 that comes with free membership.
#2: See Who’s Viewed Your Profile
An excellent source of potential connections lies in your Who’s Viewed Your Profile page. This page includes a list of people who have recently viewed your profile. While free members can only see the last five people to have viewed their profile, Premium members get the full list of people from the last 90 days.
From this list you can find targeted prospects, potential clients or strategic alliances and reach out and connect or send them a message.
For best results when contacting these prospects, send them a personalized connection request to start a conversation with them, rather than mentioning you saw they viewed your profile.
Also located on the Who's Viewed Your Profile page is a list of keywords that people have used to search when they viewed your profile. This can be extremely valuable; as it will tell you what keywords you are being found with most often.
With this information you can choose to further optimize your profile with these keywords or, if those are not the keywords you wish to be found for, you can go back and re-optimize your profile for the keywords you want to be found for.
Two additional benefits to the Who's Viewed Your Profile page is the Views by Industry and Views by Geography sections.
The View by Industry area will help you highlight the top industries of people who have viewed your profile. If one of the industries listed at the top is not one that you currently are marketing to, this may indicate a potential untapped market that you should consider prospecting.
Views by Geography can provide similar insight, as it will list the countries your profile is most viewed from. If it is appropriate for your business, you may wish to consider reaching out to people located in the top countries on your list to expand your market.
#3: Connect Directly With InMail
InMail is a message you send directly within LinkedIn to another member you are not already connected with. You might choose to send these to people with whom you would like to connect before you send a LinkedIn connection request to see if they’d be open to connecting with you on LinkedIn.
Using an InMail greatly increases your chances of success because they have a much higher open rate compared to that of email, as well as a strong lead conversion rate of 7%. This improves your ability to talk to and connect directly with top decision-makers.
This feature also includes a guaranteed 7-day response rate. If the person you contacted doesn’t contact you within 7 days, LinkedIn will credit you with another InMail to send, whether or not they reply to you after the 7 days.
While all members can purchase InMails, there are a number of benefits that are exclusive to Premium members. As a Premium member, you receive a number of free InMails each month (this number depends on which type of LinkedIn Premium membership you buy), you can accumulate your InMail credits from month to month (but they will expire after 90 days) and you can purchase up to 10 more InMails than your account type allows.
Over to You
While the paid LinkedIn service is not for everyone, I hope that I have provided you the information you need to decide whether LinkedIn Premium membership is right for you and your business.
What do you think? Which Premium tools do you think are the most valuable? Leave your questions and comments below.
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