Therole of online social media in the modern world cannot beunderestimated. Social medial has evolved into an important businessand professional tool in the modern world. One of the most famous andcommonly used business organizations and professional online socialnetworking sites is LinkedIn. LinkedIn was founded before, Facebook,the largest social network site in the world. The site, which wasfounded in 2002 and launched in 2003, has over three hundred millionusers compared to about one and half billion users of Facebook, whichwas founded in 2004 (Turban, King & Lang, 2012). Additionally,LinkedIn is less known compared to other social networking sites.This is mainly because LinkedIn mainly target business organizationand professionals. This is as opposed to other social networks whichplay a different role, mainly entertainment and social interaction.LinkedIn users are mainly professionals, professional organizationsand discussions groups as well as business organization. Whileindividuals use the site to exhibit and market their skills forpossible job offers as well as sharpening their knowledge, businessorganizations use LinkedIn to access information about potentialemployees. Therefore, although LinkedIn does not enjoy mediaattention and fame, it has all the buttons professionals and businessorganization would like to have at their disposal. This explains whyLinkedIn Company has been profitable since became a public company in2006 (Prodromou, 2015).
LinkedInmembership is fairly distributed in all parts of the world, althoughAmericans are the largest users. In the early 2010s, it was estimatedthat one in every six Americans was a LinkedIn user. Although thereare more male users that gender, if the gender differences amongprofessionals and business executives are considered, the users arewell distributed across the two genders. LinkedIn users are young aswell as older and experienced professionals. Therefore, majority ofusers are aged between 24 and 54 years. At least a third of the useshave an access to their accounts regularly. Additionally, theLinkedIn website registers billions of searches every year(Prodromou, 2015).
Thereare several benefits that are accrued by business organizations aswell as professionals for the social network. These benefits are thefactors that motivate individuals to join and use LinkedIn. Thebenefits and motivators of using LinkedIn are based on the businesstools available for both business organizations and professionals. Ifthese tools are used effectiveness, maximum benefits can be derivedfrom the site. The most important benefit accrued by a businessorganization from having a LinkedIn account is brand promotion andbrand awareness. Companies that have social media accounts havestronger brand recognition due to the large number of individuals whoencounter the brand online. It is important to note that whileindividuals join social networking sites for social interaction,business organizations aim at attracting ‘followers’ and ‘likes’.LinkedIn also enables business organizations to build their brands. Astrong online brand is a powerful advertising and marketing tool(Prodromou, 2015). In the modern business environment, it is becomingmore and more expensive to select and recruit employees. The cost isrelatively higher for smaller organizations when compared to biggerorganizations. The traditional hiring costs include the cost ofhiring a recruitment consultant, advertising the position andinterview process. However, by using professional social networkingsites such as LinkedIn, organizations are able to reduce the cost ofrecruitment and selection, while reaching more potential employees.Additionally, LinkedIn enables the individuals to link withcolleagues, which enhances the effectiveness or working groups. Thebenefits of these interactions are shared by both the professionalsand business organizations (Halloran & Thies, 2012).
LinkedInis also an essential marketing tool. In addition to accessingrecruits, LinkedIn aids in new clients and customer acquisition. Forexample, in the same way a business organization can scout forpotential recruits in the social network, it can also scout forpotential corporate clients. This is because the site subdividesorganizations and individual users depending on their area ofspecialization or line of business. LinkedIn also allows businessorganizations to initiate discussion and interactivity about theirproducts. This is an essential tool that enables organizations tocarry out market surveys and research. As a result, organizations areable to access information about what clients and potential employeesthink about the organization and its products (Prodromou, 2015).
Dueto the success stories associated with the use of LinkedIn as aprofessional and business social network, there no doubt that thesite has been able to create a professional community. Theprofessionals in the community are able to connect and interact withother professionals or business organizations, access job andbusiness opportunities, recommend fellow professionals and shareprofessional information. On the other hand, business organizationsare able to post job adverts, access business opportunities, accesspotential employees’ profiles as well as a platform for potentialcustomers to engage with the organization (Prodromou, 2015). As aresult, both professionals and business organizations can set andachieve specific goals using LinkedIn as a professional socialnetwork. The potentials of LinkedIn are based on the fact that unlikeother online social media sites, it targets professionals andbusiness executives (Crant, 2015).
Crant,J. (2015). LinkedIn Secrets that Showcase Your Value, StrategicFinance96.7(2015): 19-20,61.
Halloran,M. & Thies, C. (2012) BuildingYour LinkedIn Network to Create a Self-Referral Machine, in TheSocial Media Handbook for Financial Advisors: How to Use LinkedIn,Facebook, and Twitter to Build and Grow Your Business,Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Prodromou,T. (2015). UltimateGuide to LinkedIn for Business.Irvine, CA: Entrepreneur Press.
Turban,E., King, D. & Lang, J. (2010). Introductionto electronic commerce.Upper Saddle River, N.J. Pearson Education.