Tuesday February 4, 2014
Is a LinkedIn Premium Account Worth The Money?
LinkedIn's premium account seems to be a hot topic lately. Is it worth getting one? Should you pay for one? Should we have to pay for social media at all?
My opinion on paying for LinkedIn's premium accounts has changed – pretty much because LinkedIn has forced me to change my opinion due to its increasing limitations on the free account. Until a few years ago I believed that is long as you had a big enough network and you knew how to use the tools, you didn't need a LinkedIn a premium account.
And many people still believe that (usually because they are either unwilling or uninformed about the benefits and limitations) and simply won't pay for an account. I can’t blame them – LinkedIn doesn’t do enough to show the benefits of the premium account. (More real life case studies please!)
I think the first thing we have to do is stop thinking about LinkedIn as a social media site and start thinking of it as a business tool. That might make the $24 a month for the basic premium account more palatable.
The second thing to realize is the amount of time LinkedIn's paid account might save you. If LinkedIn’s premium account saves you even an hour of time a month, or gets you one new client, it's probably worth the $24! ($19 a month if you pay for the whole year).
Here are a few benefits of the premium account:
I realize that more introductions is not a big deal for most people – because most people don't use them. And that is a failing on LinkedIn's part. They have pretty much hidden the “Get Introduced” button on the drop down to the right of “Send InMail”
But the introduction is an extremely useful tool on LinkedIn – and when you start using it you realize five introductions at a time is not enough. I never run out of the 15 Introductions I get with my basic premium account, though.
Okay – I'm the first to admit I don't really use InMail. I usually have 6-9 stockpiled on any given month. But there is the occasional time when I need to use them and then I'm glad I have them. Sometimes an InMail is our last – or only – resort to contact someone who is far outside our Network.
Who's Viewed My Profile
One of the reasons I have a paid account is so I can see everyone “Who's Viewed my Profile.” They are either leads are competitors. Both of which are good for my business. (That’s a whole other conversation – but I have to tell you I probably do almost as much business through other social media consultant’s referrals as through people who come directly to me. And I refer away Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube marketing and even some LinkedIn gigs to other social media professionals as well!)
I have enough Views per day that I couldn't get away with just seeing the last five. I know for most people this isn't an issue. But then again – if you get even one new client from someone Who's Viewed Your Profile in the past week, it might very well pay for LinkedIn for year!
Who's Viewed Metrics and Stats
I'm also very excited about the new statistics that LinkedIn shares on the premium Who's Viewed page.
Being able to see how people are finding my profile, where they're coming from, what keywords they're using is very effective.
Not only that, but I can actually segment my viewers by how they found me, what titles they have, what industries they are in, what companies they work for, or what keywords they used to find me.
This just in! I was working with a job-seeking client this morning and showed him the Who’s Viewed feature. We found a few recruiters/talent acquisition folks had been looking at him from the same company. I had him reply/invite both of them to connect. I just received an email from my client that he has a job interview lined up with one of them! So it works! And was totally worth the $24 to get access to all the metrics fomr Who’s Viewed.
Check out this video to see how to use who's viewed more effectively: http://youtu.be/LGhSSlKZFVY
The other reason to pay for premium account is so you can see more of people's profiles and more of their name. How many times have you done a search and the result is “LinkedIn Member”. Or you’ve gone to their profile to see “Upgrade to see member’s profile. Argh! While this really rubs me the wrong way – it’s still the facts of (LinkedIn) life.
With the free account, even reverse engineering through a Google search; it's hard to see the full profiles of everyone in your network.
This is one of the major changes/limitations that LinkedIn has added recently. And another reason I have a paid account. I want to beable to see as much as possible of my networks profile so I have the information I need to reach out to them. Sigh. It might feel like blackmail – but I guess paying to see that info is something I am willing to do.
More Search Filters
While I am a huge fan of LinkedIn's Advanced Search - I also really like the premium filters you get with a paid account! I use the Company Size and Groups search all the time for both myself and my clients. When sending messages to someone who is not a first level connections, the ability to sort your search results by Group is very important! You can also filer by:
- Job Function
- Years of Experience
- Seniority Level
- Company Size
- When Joined
With the premium account I can both save more searches – up to five – and I can save/tag/set reminder/write notes on the profiles of people I am not directly connected to. Since I'm using LinkedIn as a CRM, this is especially useful.
When speaking to a prospect on the phone, I can pull up their profile and just keep notes on them, whether I'm connected to them or not.
I almost forgot! With a premium account you also get OpenLink that allows other members to message you whether they are connected or not. Can you put your email address in your Summary or "Advice for Contacting" section? Of course you can. But all I'll say is that while I do get some spammy InMails through OpenLink - I also get about 3 folks a week who contact me to do consulting or speaking or training for them!
Are there workarounds for a lot of this? Of course there are. But the workarounds take time. The main reason I have a premium account on LinkedIn is because it saves me time.
And of course there are some features you just don't get access to a lesser pay for them. But for $24 a month it's a deal!
So the next time LinkedIn offers you a free premium account for a month take them up on it! And then really use the added features you get access to. If you haven't made your $24 back, then go ahead and switch back to free. But I think you're going alike the new changes.
Q1: Are you using a free or premium account?
Q2: If not, have you tried the premium account yet?
Q3: If you tried it, or are using it, what are your favorite features?
Q4: What premium features do you most like/are willing to pay for?
Q5: If you tried and don’t like the Premium account – what not?
Q6: Of those using the premium account – do you think it has made you money/landed you a new client?
Q7: If you do use a premium account – which one do you use?
Q8: What are some other features you would like to see?
Q9: Any other opinions, positive or negative, you’d like to add?