Should you pay for LinkedIn Premium?

Since lockdown, LinkedIn usage has gone up over 22%.  Now, more than ever before, people are realising that they can find new business online in the comfort of their own home, and LinkedIn is a huge part of that process.

You lovely folk keep asking me if the free version of LinkedIn is sufficient to find and convert the business leads we need to grow our businesses?

I have always used the free version of LinkedIn so I thought I should trial the paid version (LinkedIn premium) to see if it makes a difference to the ability to connect and convert leads. I share my findings with you here.

At $29.99 a month for Premium Career and $47.99 for Premium business, it’s important to make sure that what you’re getting is good value. So, let’s have a look at the extra features you can get with LinkedIn Premium to see whether your money will be well spent.

Read: Increase your engagement on product pages

1) Inmail

Inmail is LinkedIn’s ‘email’ service. Basically it’s an email which goes directly to someone’s in box via LinkedIn. How many Inmails you are allowed to send depends on your package but it starts with 5 a month up to 15. Plus you get extras if someone responds to an Inmail. Also, unused Inmails roll over for 3 months and you can buy more emails once you’re up and running.

LinkedIn says: Inmails are 7x more likely to be read than a normal ‘cold call’ email.

Sarah says: Why send an email to someone to get lost in the sea of emails when you can send someone a direct message on LinkedIn and be much more targeted?

You may say: Unless I’m paying for LinkedIn, I can’t send someone a direct message.

Sarah says: Why would you want to message someone without connecting with them first? Direct messaging a stranger could well be seen as ‘cold calling’ and, let’s face it, who buys from a cold caller?  People buy from people they know where trust is established. It makes no difference HOW the message has got to a person – if it’s a sales message from a stranger, the chances of it leading to a business deal are very slim.

Would I use this feature? I honestly can’t see where I would ever use this feature.

2) Who’s viewed your profile

In the free programme you can only see the full details of up to 5 people who have viewed your profile. If you have Premium you can see the full details of everyone in the last 90 days who has viewed your profile.

LinkedIn says: When someone views your profile, it suggests that they’re interested in your professional experience. This indicator provides a perfect opportunity to reach out via InMail. Since the recipient recently checked out your profile, they’ll be more likely to respond.

Sarah says: LinkedIn don’t profess that you will get more profile views with LinkedIn premium – just that you can see who they all are.

If someone has gone to the trouble of viewing your profile and has deliberately decided NOT to connect with you, does that not imply that they don’t want to connect with you?  It’s not quite the same as ‘swiping left’ on Tinder but it’s not that dissimilar.

Let’s say you did decide to message someone who had looked at your profile and decided not to connect with you in any way, what would you say: ‘Hey, I saw you viewed my profile and decided not to connect with me.’?  Hmm, sounds a bit desperate to me.

Would I use this feature? I have given it a go. Someone looked at my profile and didn’t connect so I looked at theirs and our interests really didn’t align so I left them alone.

3) More options to use the ‘search’ tool

If you’re not paying for LinkedIn, you can only ‘search’ a limited number of people using the LinkedIn search option. This amount varies from person to person and depends on your LinkedIn activity.  With LinkedIn Premium you can ‘search’ a lot more – it’s questionable exactly how many but 2500 searches per month is a figure I see from time to time.

LinkedIn says: If you’ve exhausted your free searches for the month, your activity will indicate that you’re likely using LinkedIn for recruiting or generating leads.

Sarah says: It looks like LinkedIn have deliberately restricted the number of searches on profiles as LinkedIn don’t want personal profiles to be used for business.  It seems against all that LinkedIn is about to me but hey ho, thems the rules!

If you do find yourself running out of ‘searches’ then I do advise that you trial LinkedIn premium free for a month. You could spend the month doing all the searches you’ll need for the year and then go back to the free option at the end of the month – but that may not work for you!

You may say: That’s rather cheeky but I like it OR Sarah! What a scammer you are! (Either way you’d be right).

Would I use this feature? Yes, this is one feature I would definitely use if I came to the end of my free searches.  This has only happened to me once I hasten to add.  However, recently I am using the search option in my live training sessions so it’s likely I’ll get stuck soon so for this reason alone, it would be worth me upgrading. Wait until you’ve actually run out though before you buy as you may not need it.

4) Applicant Insights – LinkedIn Premium Career Option only

LinkedIn says: Get directed to open roles where you’d be a fit based on your skills, past experience, salary requirements, and education.

Sarah says: As I am not a ‘job seeker’, I haven’t had experience with this.  If I were job hunting though, I would definitely trial it to see if it opened doors for me.

5) Company Insights – LinkedIn Premium Business Option only

LinkedIn says: Premium gives you valuable insights that offer complete access to industry trends, competitor data, and analytics.

Sarah says: Statistics are only as good as the person reading, interpreting and actioning on them. If you have a team who can really drill down to what these results mean and how you can use them to get ahead of your competition, then it may well be worth the investment. If you don’t look at them – you may find that you’re wasting your money.

6) LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn says: Access over 15,000 expert-led LinkedIn Learning courses to sharpen your skills or learn something new.

Sarah says: Having accessed a few of these courses over the last couple of weeks, they are good. The delivery and content of the courses I completed were of a pretty high standard. There are a lot of courses over a variety of subjects.  Not all the courses are applicable to me but there are a fair few which are. Whether or not I’ll make the time to watch all 15,000 or not is questionable so I guess, for me, if I was unsure, this may be the deciding factor.

In Summary

In my business, right now, I’m going to stick with the free version.

My business is successful because I spend time communicating with people and building relationships.  This has always worked for me way over being pushy or salesy or spending hours analysing data – and I think it could work for you too.

If your profile is optimised and you’re using LinkedIn consistently and correctly,  just you watch those leads come in!

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I’m bubbly and vivacious by nature, which you’ll find out in my presentations. 

I strive to appeal to those across sectors and disciplines, whether it be to those in more traditional professional roles, such as senior executive management, or those who are solopreneurs, freelancers or working in creative industries.

I ended up leaving my day job behind and achieved a diploma in Social Media Marketing. I set up Sarah Clay Social to help businesses promote themselves on social media. While using various platforms to promote my business, one stood out – LinkedIn. I seemed to attract new clients without really trying. All without a cheesy sales pitch and just by being myself. 

I was astonished by the success I had with LinkedIn and couldn’t get over how handy my childhood techniques had been. I realised that all the tools I’d learnt as a child were immensely useful! Soon after, I realised that other business owners weren’t using LinkedIn to its fullest potential. 

That’s why I’ve made it my mission to help business owners, just like you, harness the power of LinkedIn and be more successful in business.

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