I recently wrote a post on whether it’s worth investing in a Premium account on LinkedIn. Since then I’ve had a lot of people changing their minds and deciding to pay for an account (I wish LinkedIn had an affiliate!) But also a lot of pushback. The people who push back seem to be in two categories – those who have tried a paid account and didn’t get enough benefit, and those who feel we just shouldn’t have to pay for social media at all.
I understand both opinions. LinkedIn lists the features, but really doesn’t do a very good job of telling you the benefits or showing you how to use its premium features. Also – I get that the great part of social media is free – but I think we need to consider LinkedIn to be more of a business tool than a social media site (especially since they seem to be removing many of the “social” aspects of it!). $24 a month isn’t a lot for a pretty powerful business tool. Remember the old days when we had to pay for our email?
Personally, my opinion about paying for LinkedIn’s premium accounts has changed. Until a few years ago I believed that as 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. But that’s no longer the case – for me anyway. Having a Premium account saves me time and ends up paying for itself. Plus, if I get even one customer from the premium features, it pays for the year.
Here are a few benefits of the premium account:
You get 15 Introductions with the basic Premium account. I realize that more introductions is not a big deal for most people – because most people don’t use them. 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
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 or competitors. Both of which are good for my business. 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 even if you could get away without seeing more than 5 people, the new statistics are worth the price of admission.
Being able to see how people are finding my profile, where they’re coming from, what companies they come from and what keywords they’re using to find me is very effective. Not only that, but I can actually segment my viewers by how they found me.
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 when reverse engineering through a Google search it’s hard to see the full profiles of everyone in your network. And its time-consuming.
More Search Filters
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 myself.
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.
With a premium account you also get OpenLink that allows other members to message you whether they are connected or not. While I do get some spammy InMails through OpenLink – I also get about 3 folks a week who contact me for consulting, speaking, or training .
So should you?
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 unless you pay for them. But for $24 a month it’s a deal!