I have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn, the powerful social platform for business that touts more than 300 million registered users, two new ones per second.
Several years back, our ad agency’s office manager connected with LinkedIn for the first time and became a one-woman font of information about our industry. I was impressed, but reluctant to get too involved myself, feeling a pressing need to immerse myself in marketing strategies geared to the emerging hot sites like Facebook and Twitter.
As our group transitioned to adopt the business growth opportunities of the digital age, our priorities changed. Since each social platform differs in set-up and function, and since everything changes constantly, there is a lot to learn.
It soon became important to understand how LinkedIn worked and how it could actually help our clients. So, I set up a personal profile to link myself to this emerging community powerhouse. LinkedIn company pages were not yet available.
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Initially, I loved LinkedIn. I eagerly optimized my profile, joined industry groups, received and gave references, shared insights and engaged with industry professionals I would never meet otherwise. I became efficient using the platform until a hitch in the system sent me spinning off in frustration.
Here’s what happened.
My daily online routine included checking all my top site set-ups, reading industry blogs, keeping up with all the new apps, tools and changes and creating new opportunities for an ever-growing number of clients eager to exploit online to build their market share. One day, amidst all this activity, I received a prompt from LinkedIn seemingly out of nowhere to sign up (again!), and this unblinking action on my part resulted in two separate Paige Henson LinkedIn profiles that could not be merged. I couldn’t fix this myself. LinkedIn customer service was no help. Time passed. I became reluctant to engage on one profile and not the other, feeling it was giving any linkers a professional picture of me that was not comprehensive. The busier I became, the more reluctant I was to stop and address the merge problem. I visited the site a couple of times after that to see if by chance it had automatically fixed itself, but no. So I just dropped LinkedIn from my life altogether and I’ve never looked back.
With that said, I believe LinkedIn to be an essential part of a marketer’s social media toolbox and I heartily recommend it. Every organization should set up a LinkedIn company page, and every individual looking for greater career opportunities or enhancements in his or her field would be remiss not to “link in.” Just don’t look for me there. I am still mad about our break-up although I know I’m only hurting myself.
Paige Henson is a new media consultant for small businesses. Her email address is email@example.com.