Time and again, I am asked whether it is beneficial to upgrade one’s account from the free version of LinkedIn to a Premium version.
In my opinion, the answer is two-pronged.
The first thing to consider is whether you are maximizing the free version of LinkedIn. To start, look at whether or not you have a fully optimized profile.
Believe it or not, many people do not have a profile on LinkedIn that is 100% complete. If your profile isn’t professional and polished just yet, that should be the first priority, along with capitalizing on LinkedIn Group discussions and creating relevant and engaging status updates.
However, if you are already using LinkedIn to its full potential, you can then accurately determine whether you would benefit from a premium version of LinkedIn. That answer will depend on your goals for using LinkedIn, as Premium versions offer additional functionality well suited for specific job functions and tasks. A few of the main benefits for LinkedIn Premium are as follows:
Advanced Search Functionality
LinkedIn Premium (Business) allows you to not only search by more advanced fields, but also returns more search results than with the free version, 300 versus the free version’s 100.
With premium versions of LinkedIn, you have the ability to send private messages to people that you aren’t connected to, unlike with the free version of LinkedIn.
Access To More Detailed Profile Information
With the free version of LinkedIn, you will only see profile information from your first and second degree contacts. However, with premium versions, you will be able to review the expanded profiles of everyone on LinkedIn. You will also be able to view more detailed information about the users who have viewed your profile.
Gain Access to Profile Organizer
Profile Organizer is a workspace and folder creation tool that makes it easy for you to keep track of your connections, and stay up-to-date with notes and contact information.
In all, when evaluating whether to upgrade your LinkedIn account to a premium version, it is important to consider both your current use as well as your goals for LinkedIn. Should you be utilizing LinkedIn to its full potential, and your goals hinge on the need to access more detailed profile information, search using more criteria, and sending unrestricted private messages, then it is likely something you may benefit from.
(Editor's Note: Kristen Lawrence is the Senior Social Media Strategist at rFactr. rFactr's social sales program provides sales organizations with an easy way to activate their team on social channels, enabling them to connect with prospects and begin the sales process earlier in the sales cycle. The above blog post was originally posted on rFactr's blog.