People don't understand LinkedIn (LNKD). In fact, there's a fundamental disconnect between the networking platform's objectives and consumer expectations. In a world of purely rational individuals, LinkedIn clearly provides its members maximum utility (i.e. job offers). And while these offers differ, I can't think of an online platform that yields a better ROI for time spent online.
So, why don't more people use LinkedIn? I mean, given LinkedIn's mere 380 million members, you might think it's an unpopular tool. After all, we're approaching a global population of nearly 7 billion, and companies like Facebook (FB), WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter (TWTR) all have similar, if not far greater, user statistics. That said, Facebook will never reward you for sharing content; Twitter won't extend you a job offer for tweeting daily; and Pinterest won't pay you for "pinning" cooking recipes. LinkedIn is different.
LinkedIn is NOT a social media platform. To be clear, it's far different from Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest. LinkedIn is designed to help you build a professional brand. Profiles are not meant to showcase frat party selfies, filtered Philz Coffee photos, or viral videos. LinkedIn is, indeed, none of this...
Instead, LinkedIn is, in a nutshell, networking, messaging, blogging, posting, sharing, helping, updating, informing, and understanding. Pulse delivers you curated news articles, while SlideShare allows you to build business templates. Jobs helps you find optimal employment possibilities, while Lynda assists you in developing premium skills. In short, LinkedIn is designed, from the ground up, to pair you with real world opportunities.
Since high school, LinkedIn has proved an integral part of my existence. I've received more job offers than I can count and networked with incredible businessmen and women. Better yet, I've been given a professional platform to advertise "Jackson Moses" as a brand (for hire). Now, while I'm not claiming LinkedIn is solely responsible for my success, I must acknowledge its many benefits.
Unfortunately, many young adults are blind to the personal value of LinkedIn; many are more concerned about Snapchat and Instagram. And while I may come across as (slightly) biased, I very much understand the allure of trendy social media services: why spend hours creating a LinkedIn profile when Instagram only requires an email, password, and camera? For Millennials, the time investment is unattractive. However, I'm here to say that using LinkedIn is the best early career choice you can make.
In the long-run, LinkedIn is the only free service that actually yields a monetary return (in the form of jobs). Most every Fortune 500 company uses LinkedIn for recruiting purposes. By not using LinkedIn, you are, by definition, devoid of most relevant employment opportunities. So, stand out! Differentiate yourself!Be the only teenager in your high school who uses LinkedIn more than Facebook and Instagram; take an intelligent risk and put yourself on the map before your peers. Sure, you might be judged by your colleagues, but who isn't? At least you'll have a killer internship, or an awesome job.
Remember, anyone can post photos, videos, and enlightening quotes to Facebook, just as anyone can tweet, retweet, and gossip on Twitter. To build a professional network is tasking; to develop a personal identity is difficult. The amount of time these affairs require is unparalleled because no two people are alike. And while LinkedIn understands this reality, it appears many young adults have not yet adjusted to this evolving learning curve.