What is LinkedIn?

By Nigel Cliffe

Read Time

It’s easy for me, as a LinkedIn Trainer, course leader and speaker, to forget that there are professionals and people out there who don’t know what LinkedIn is. They might have some vague notion that “it’s Facebook for businesses” or that “it’s an online version of your CV”, but they can’t specifically define it. In fact, ‘what is LinkedIn’ is the most searched LinkedIn-related question on Google.

So, here are my 3 main definitions of what LinkedIn is:

1) A Showcase

LinkedIn has over 900 million users. That makes it the number one social media platform for professionals. To log in, all those active users must have a LinkedIn profile, which is basically a professional’s shop window. It highlights your professional experience, showcases your qualifications and achievements, and shines a light on your skills and strengths.

As well as being able to inform people about what school, college or university you attended, what your professional contact details are, where you currently work and what your job role involves, you can also tell people what your passions are, what drives you and what motivates you in your Profile Summary.

Many people have what might be termed a “portfolio career” these days. They have one job but professional interests in another area. It might sound too confusing to paint a full picture of who you are on just one profile. You may even wonder if you can have two LinkedIn accounts.

If this sounds like you, you will benefit from watching my quick video below:

You also get chance to proudly display your Recommendations. People who have worked with/for you and left nice reviews about their time working with you. Nothing convinces strangers that you’re worth their time better than the opinions of other people like them!

Before visitors to your LinkedIn profile reach the different sections outlined above, they first have to be enticed by your LinkedIn Headline. An attention-grabbing statement, in 220 characters, to show how you can help others.

If you have a profile, you can also administer a LinkedIn page, which is, at its simplest, a LinkedIn profile for a company. You can fill out a description of what your company offers, specialises in and company history as well as your website and contact details.

In my humble opinion, not filling out all the fields on your LinkedIn profile and company page would be a waste. You’re much more likely to gain Connections (friends) if your profile is filled out in its entirety, Likewise, you increase your chances of gaining LinkedIn Page ‘Followers’ if you fill out all the fields on your Page.

You might like to pop along to one of my interactive LinkedIn Bootcamp courses for a helping hand to give your Porfolio a boost!

2) A News Source

Why does anyone use any type of social media? To be nosey! To be informed, up to date and ‘with it’.

As Foundation points out:

“It’s where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives like to spend their spare time.

The best part?

More often than not, they’re actually scrolling through actively looking for valuable content to read.”

That’s right. The truth is, LinkedIn is a source of industry news and developments – providing you’ve Connected with relevant people, such as suppliers, clients, colleagues, employers, employees, associates and people who do a similar job to you. It’s a publishing platform in which anyone with a profile can post tips, share advice and insight, spark inspiration and publish in-depth articles that answer questions and ignite trends and new ideas. LinkedIn gives you a springboard to become a thought leader – a well-respected ‘go-to’ expert in your industry.

All these articles and posts appear in your Connections’ news feeds – you have your own news feed too. From there, you have a bonanza of possibility at your fingertips to share your opinions and engage with other people’s content by reacting, commenting and sharing.

Being a silent user is no good. I can help you learn how to demonstrate depth of knowledge on LinkedIn with my courses and LinkedIn Consultancy services.

3) An Opportunity

You might have noticed something by now. An online CV (profile), digital address book (all your Connections) and a blogging platform (your posts and articles) spell one thing. LinkedIn is, first and foremost, an opportunity. An opportunity to:

  • Contribute
  • Network
  • Help
  • Build relationships
  • Be memorable
  • Generate leads
  • Create more opportunities!

Remember, LinkedIn is only an opportunity if you invest in it. Fill out your profile fully. Interact with other people’s content. Consistently publish your own content, adding value to those in your network. Connect with relevant people with potential. Do these things and opportunity will come knocking!

Find Out more

On how I can help you turn your Linkedin profile into multiple opportunities in a few hours.

    Interested in