There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” LinkedIn is proof of concept for that idea. Specifically for business networking, it’s not a place to share the latest cat video, joke or puzzle. It’s where you can quickly learn not about the business you’re talking to, but the people behind it. ROI Research reports that 59% of respondents said LinkedIn is their most important account on social networks. 50% of users report visiting the site weekly, and 20% visit the site at least once per day, and there were a total of 45 billion member page views in Q1 2016.
For many, connecting on LinkedIn has become the equivalent of trading business cards. It’s useful for learning “who knows who” and following a prospect, customer or employee’s career path. Virtually anybody who’s anybody in business has a LinkedIn account, and while there are varying opinions about its usefulness, it’s like anything else in life (or business): you will get out of it what you put into it.
There are three basic kinds of LinkedIn users – those that create an account and never really use it (you can identify them by the fact that they will have less than 100 connections), those who visit but never participate (aka lurkers), and active players using the site as it was intended – a forum to make business connections, share ideas, and aggregate news of interest to their career field.
In his 1982 book “Megatrends,” futurist John Naisbitt prophesied that the future of business would be what he called “high tech, high touch” – a combination of technology with personal connections.