Most often my answer revolves around whether or not you’re actually using, and taking advantage of, what LinkedIn has to offer to begin with. LinkedIn, like most networks, often changes what you can and/or can’t do with a free account. As of this writing, with a basic account on LinkedIn you can:
• Build and nurture a network of professional relationships.
• Strengthen your professional brand.
• Find and reconnect with colleagues and classmates.
• Find and connect with clients and prospects (however, PLEASE #ditchthepitch).
• Increase your credibility by requesting recommendations.
• Provide recommendations for those you’re connected to.
• Search for and view profiles of other LinkedIn members.
• Send and receive messages from your 1st degree connections.
Many professionals are on LinkedIn, but aren’t really maximizing their efforts as outlined above. If you feel like you are one of them, then paying for a subscription doesn’t benefit you.
My recommendation for you is to start using LinkedIn more often.
First step is to make sure that your profile is robust and optimized – one you’re proud of. I say this because when I have consulted with clients about their profiles many have said that they don’t want to connect with others because they’re embarrassed by their own profiles. They haven’t really flushed it out, written it well, and/or even completed it fully and therefore, they don’t want others to view it. If that’s the case, take time to polish your profile so that it is one you do feel proud of.
After your profile is optimized, then it’s time to begin engaging with others on the platform. Not just by posting your own content, but by commenting on others’ content and starting conversations. I’ve said it many times and will repeat it again, LinkedIn (like life, and marketing in general) is about building and nurturing relationships. Simply “liking” someone’s post is okay, but it’s really not enough. Interaction and ENGAGEMENT are key.
Once you’ve really started using the network and feel comfortable with your profile, creating content, commenting on posts, building connections and nurturing relationships, then you may want to consider whether it’s time to pay for a LinkedIn subscription or not.
Those professionals who switch to a paid option usually do so because they feel they’re missing out on opportunities or they want a better idea of who is viewing their profiles, and/or the ability to send InMail messages (i.e., the ability to contact someone without being connected to them first).
What Are the Different Subscription Levels LinkedIn Offers?
Below you’ll find a comparison chart (thanks to LinkedIn) that compares the 4 paid subscription levels: Premium Career, Premium Business, Sales Navigator and Recruiter Lite.
According to LinkedIn you might consider Premium Career if you’re looking to get hired or get ahead in your professional life; Sales Navigator helps you generate leads and build your clientele; Recruiter Lite helps you find and hire talent; and Premium Business helps you get detailed business insights and further expand your business. For a more in-depth look at each subscription level, visit LinkedIn’s Help Center.
Making the decision to move from a basic free account to a Premium LinkedIn account depends on your objective(s) for being on the platform as well as your business goals. Hopefully this brief overview serves as an introduction that will start you on the path to selecting the option that’s best for you.