LinkedIn is one of the most effective social media tools available today. However, when most people talk about social media, they’re usually referring to platforms like Facebook or Instagram, but rarely think of LinkedIn as part of the vast array of social media platforms available.

We often assume that LinkedIn isn’t such a valuable place to be and often, even businesses make this mistake, assuming that it would be far more beneficial to focus their presence on Twitter, for example. There is a logic behind this – LinkedIn is a place for businesses, but I’m looking to advertise to real people, and they are going to be on other platforms, so is that where I should be.  But let’s examine these ideas:

On LinkedIn you can build your brand.

This is true both for individuals looking to expand their job potential, and for businesses wanting to grow their brand. As an individual, where can a possible employer find you? On Facebook or Instagram. But do you really want a potential employer to get that up close and personal with you and your friends? Probably not. These are personal details that are not part of your professional brand. LinkedIn provides the opportunity to showcase your professional assets and past experience. A place where you can write intelligent and well-thought-out entries that can be both relaxed and personal, but also convey that you are a professional. That’s LinkedIn. It’s the same for businesses. Another business you’re looking to partner with doesn’t want to see your witty Instagram ad campaign, clever though it may be. It wants to see you as a good investment for the future.

It’s a great place for networking.

This is the main benefit of LinkedIn. It can help you find new people, both in your work sector and in others. People you may want to collaborate with in the near future. It’s the digital version of handing out your business card to select businesses, but without actually meeting at trade shows or business events.  It can serve as a virtual introduction. And if you post relevant, meaningful content to the platform, chances are other business owners and like-minded individuals will follow you. This boosts your own brand awareness but also may help businesses recommend you to others.

LinkedIn is also a great way to keep track of your contacts. Professionals don’t become friends on Facebook, but rather add each other on LinkedIn. Professionals are more interested in keeping track of your professional ideas and information, as opposed to a Facebook post about your family’s Sunday barbeque.

It helps you keep track of competitors as well.

LinkedIn provides a window into what is happening with your competitors. That can prove a valuable resource when you want to see what they are doing in order to stay atop of your game.  Many people make the mistake of assuming LinkedIn is just a good job board, when in truth, it’s been shown to be 277% more effective than other social media platforms in making valuable B2B connections.