Should I have a LinkedIn Premium Account?
There is no doubt about it, the strategic use of LinkedIn offers small businesses and entrepreneurs an abundance of benefits. It enables you to engage with and influence your peers, clients and potential customers. Most of us start with a free basic account, yet LinkedIn also offers a range of premium accounts with extra features and analytical tools. These plans come at a cost of anywhere up to $80-plus per month. People are often squeamish about paying for something they’ve been getting for free, so a question I’m often asked is, “Is it worth upgrading to a premium account?”
To help answer this question, let’s take a look at some of the important added features premium plans offer:
Who’s viewed your profile
While a basic account shows you the last five people who have viewed your profile, a premium account provides you with a full 90-day list. “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” is the most clicked-on area in LinkedIn, so LinkedIn certainly is capitalising on the vanity factor here! Knowing who has viewed your profile (eg. customer leads and competitors) can be valuable information for you and your business.
(The blue line represents visibility, in other word the amount of people who viewed my profile. The columns represent the action people took. So, in my profile I have around 250 views per week and 204 people connect with me each week. )
Not only will you know who has viewed your profile, you will also receive more information about these people. LinkedIn lets you know what industry they are from, the company they work for and their job title. This knowledge helps you discover whether you are connecting and engaging with your ideal audience, so you can adjust your LinkedIn strategy accordingly.
A premium plan gives you a ranking that demonstrates how your profile compares to other professionals similar to you, based on the number of views your profile receives. Bear in mind, however, that how you rank depends on who you are connected to – and if you are a Thought Leader, your ranking isn’t that valuable. For example, if you are a leadership expert and are connected to many other leadership experts, it will be difficult for your profile to rank highly. So it’s important you don’t view your LinkedIn ranking as a reflection of your success.
(Of those connections similar to you, you can see your ranking)
As a premium user, you can choose to have an Open Profile, which means anyone on LinkedIn – even those outside of your networks – can connect with you and send you private messages. This feature increases your opportunity to engage with potential clients and collaborators.
Premium plans also allow you to send private messages to anyone on LinkedIn, including those you’re not connected to, via InMail. Depending on the premium plan you choose, you will receive a certain number of InMail credits per month. For every InMail you send that gets a reply, you receive one credit back. According to LinkedIn, people have 30% more success with InMails than standard connection requests and I think that’s right based on the results we see our clients achieve. Your success rate with InMail is even greater when your content and visibility are also high – about 75%, particularly if you are a Thought Leader.
(Depending on the level of your subscription, you get a certain amount on InMails per month.)
More detailed search filters
You can refine your searches with the eight extra search filters available in the premium plans. These filters are useful for when you are searching for someone who is difficult to find in a particular industry, or if the role you are looking for is based more on level rather than title. For example, if you are looking for a senior executive in health at a hospital, you can access this level in your premium search field. However, if you know the exact title and type of role, but just need to know the industry, then this premium feature is not necessary.
(If you’re not getting access to the right search criteria it might be time to upgrade to a Premium account)
Search result limits
Like the basic account, some premium plans have restrictions on the amount of search results you can generate. But the Business Plus and Sales Navigator plans have no such restrictions, which is fantastic if you are searching aggressively. If you’re on a premium plan that does have a search result limit, you can work around this by conducting an X-Ray Search in Google, which means logging out of your LinkedIn account, doing your search, then logging back in to connect with the person. This is a way to save money, but it is not a way to save time! Upgrading is the better option if you conduct many searches.
Saved search alerts
A premium account also allows you to have five saved search alerts, as opposed to three with a basic account. I love this feature as it significantly reduces the time it takes to find people.
(Saved search filters save you a huge amount of time.I highly recommend setting them up!)
As you can see, premium plans offer many features, some of which will be extremely helpful to you, others not so much. However, I think of LinkedIn as having a database of customers at my fingertips. A premium account gives me the freedom to talk to anyone, to increase my connections and boost my client base. So I think paying $50 a month for access to 450 million people is a good deal.
My suggestion to you is to upgrade for a month for free and have a play with the extra features and tools. Remember, though, that you still have to do the work. Clients won’t magically appear as a result of upgrading to premium. You still must follow the process, continue to post content, reach out to others and invite them read your posts, watch your webinars and read your books. A premium account does not lessen the amount of work involved in cultivating your LinkedIn presence, but it does give you many more options to connect.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Jane Anderson works with Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Thought Leaders, Experts and CEO’s to leverage the expertise of their talent through LinkedIn.
She is an author of “CONNECT: How to Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile for Business Growth and Lead Generation.”
To inquire about Jane speaking at your next event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.