I’ve been using it for a few years now and regrettably, Linked In is a bit of a disappointment. Why regrettably? Because the opportunity for a social media site designed specifically for business networking has all the potential in the world – allowing business people to reach career objectives quicker and more effectively by finding others with whom to network. Linked In allows business to communicate their message to thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of potential clients and networking partners. What a concept!
For years, small business people and sales professionals have been meeting for breakfast, lunch and on the golf course (in southern California we’ve been known to conduct business in the surf). Linked In provided an opportunity to take networks to a whole new level. But, it doesn’t quite work, does it? In fact, in a recent poll, 8 of out 10 social networkers admitted that they get more business from Facebook than they do from Linked In. So what happened to Linked In?
It’s hard to say why Linked In has so far failed the business community. Most posts and status updates are nothing more than Bob is now connected to Jim or Laura is now connected to Felix. One possible reason is that the developers at Linked In have done very little to promote interaction. They provided the platform, but have never really given members an incentive to do anything. Another reason could be that most people do not have time for multiple social media platforms. Users use Facebook because that is where everyone else is. A second site is a chore to them. Perhaps the problem lies with Linked In’s uninspiring interface. Other than a few cool applications, Linked In’s functionality is a bit outdated and the developers have done very little to keep up with other social media sites like Facebook, Yelp and You Tube.
It could be many things, but I believe the primary reason most users have not taken advantage of Linked In is because of one basic, but very old rule: Business is about relationships. Facebook provides for interaction on a social level and more times than not, that is where business opportunities are born. People come together as friends first, determine they like or trust one another, then decide to do business together.
Social media doesn’t create relationships. It only enhances them.
Linked In made the mistake of assuming people would come together just to do business. That rarely happens. Social media doesn’t create relationships. It only enhances them. Social media is where friends come together to stay in touch, connect, share ideas and exchange a little banter and somewhere along the way, business opportunities will emerge. The relationship creates the opportunity, not the other way around.
Is Linked In dead? Not yet, but the search is on for other business networking sites. If you have one you like, please share your comments below.