Did you know that there are currently 12 different membership options on LinkedIn for folks who are interested in spending money to get ahead? It’s essentially the same 3 products (Business, Business Plus, Executive) but packaged 4 different ways to appeal to Professionals, Sales Pros, Job Seekers and last but definitely not least, Recruiters. In this post, I’ll explain and simplify these offerings and in doing so, help you to decide whether Premium is worth the investment.
LinkedIn sells their Premium services under 4 banners:
(1) Visibility – in other words getting info on who has viewed your Profile.
(2) Search – being able to find people on the LinkedIn platform.
(3) Reach – being able to contact people, once you have found them.
(4) Management – a way to organize your people and searches.
I’ve broken all 4 down into their main components:
(1) Visibility – can be critical if you have a speculative approach to networking and you can capitalize on having information about the people who are browsing you. If you don’t think that being able to see who has browsed your LinkedIn profile is going to make a difference to your networking success, I would encourage you to re-examine your motives for being on the LinkedIn platform. Are you on LinkedIn just to be found OR are you interested in leveraging all of the features on offer? Are you a passenger or a driver on the road to your professional destiny? As I pointed out in a prior post (Are You TRULY Anonymous on LinkedIn?), if you are the person doing the browsing and you need anonymity while you browse, you should definitely pay for Premium, period.
(2) Search – is the feature that most people will buy Premium for. It essentially boosts your ability to find people and this is after all, the essence of networking. The easier it is to identify and find decision-makers, the better positioned you are to seal the deal. It’s a logical and seductive ploy. Don’t fall for it. There are proven search methods which are easy to learn which will help you identify key people within the LinkedIn network, for free. I will show you how in a forthcoming post (subscribe to my RSS feed, so you don’t miss it).
(3) Reach – of course, to seal the deal, you need to be able to communicate with that decision-maker and LinkedIn has you covered, how convenient. Premium users can send “InMails” which are just like emails or they can receive “OpenLink” messages which works just like a ‘Open For Business’ sign. You get a snazzy OpenLink icon on your profile and anyone can contact you without having to pay $10 per message (the cost of sending an InMail, if you’re not a Premium user).
And, I’m sure you’ll already know that just because you can send messages to anyone on LinkedIn does not in itself transform your business prospects, a unsolicited message is still unsolicited, regardless of how it was delivered. OpenLink, in my opinion, is undoubtedly useful. Mainly because it signals your corporate community citizenship and a willingness to lower the communication barrier for others. It’s a shame that LinkedIn don’t offer OpenLink as a stand-alone right? Well, as a special gift to my readers, here’s a link to the off-menu OpenLink product with the added bonus of “Who’s Viewed My Profile” info. The ‘PersonalPlus‘ package gives you these 2 great features for a bargain $7.95 per month.
You are welcome!
[UPDATE] It seems that the link may no longer be valid for some, try the following instead:
1. Click on the ‘who’s viewed you’.
2. look on the right & you’ll see a box that says upgrade
3. clicking on that gives the personal plus option – sign up there
(4) Management – is possibly the least useful of the 4 services, its merely a way to keep all your new found contact and search info in virtual folders that can be organized/searched. If you are running a business that relied heavily on LinkedIn data, you will most likely be crunching it in your own database. Management also includes “Priority Customer Service” which may or may not be a bonus, depending on a number of factors, i.e your knowledge and ability with the LinkedIn product and if you get stuck, often. For example, you’re a serial invitation-sender and you need your invitation ban lifted, asap. What I’ve found as a Basic (free) LinkedIn member, is that customer service will get back to you in roughly 2-5 days. Switching to Premium reduces that to 24hrs or less, in my experience.
Summing up: LinkedIn has put up barriers to Visibility, Search and Reach and will gladly lower these barriers for Premium consideration. The more you pay, the lower the barriers become or to put it another way, LinkedIn can be pretty frustrating for the basic user.
My advice would be: don’t let that frustration get the better of you and evaluate the following 3 choices:
- If you are not prepared to learn how to Search and want the convenience of InMails and bling of the OpenLink badge, try Premium for a month or so and see if you can justify the expense.
- Spend some of your precious time learning how to Search for free with me. It is a skill that has application beyond LinkedIn and could save you thousands if you discover you can do more Search for less $$$ with that cheaper (“Business”) Premium plan.
- Go with the hybrid option; the best of both worlds; learn Search with me and buy PersonalPlus for the year. Safe in the knowledge that you have the right tools for the job and you didn’t over-pay.
If you liked this article, you’ll love my customized consulting service. I’ve helped many professionals to achieve their full potential on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not somewhere you paste your resumé, sit back and wait for things to happen. It’s a complicated and nuanced website portal that requires action, insight, branding strategy and marketing know-how. What you don’t know – could hurt you. Whether it’s getting more traffic on your Profile, engaging with a stunningly good Summary or refreshing your LinkedIn presence and brand – share your goals with me and I’ll help you to achieve all of them via LinkedIn.
Contact me now: firstname.lastname@example.org / 773.469.6600 to get started.
That’s all from me for this week. Please take a few moments to share this article with your network. I read and respond to all comments.
By Andy Foote