LinkedIn Free or Premium??

July 10th, 2013 | by Jason Alba |

On Social Media Examiner there is an article titled 3 Business Reasons to Upgrade to LinkedIn Premium.

I learned about it through a LinkedIn Group.  Most people on the Group responded to the question about whether they pay for the premium or are on the free level.  Almost all replied they are on the paid version.  My response is below (I’ll post this on the blog in a comment but they might not approve it). Snarky, passionate, but looking at it very practically.  My response goes beyond the “which version are you on and into the three points from the article.

What do you think?  What version are YOU on?

Free. LinkedIn comped me an upgrade a few years ago and it was nice, but when it reverted back to free I really was not compelled to upgrade again.

The moving of many free features to premium is highly disrespectful to users (especially my audience, job seekers and solopreneurs).

Speaking to the three points in your article:

1. Better search options: I teach users to have better search criteria, and as Ben Martin alluded to, use the Google search tricks to find LinkedIn contacts (instead of using the advanced people search). I don’t need MORE search results, I need BETTER search results. That comes from better search phrases, not from their overpriced upgrade packages.

2. Who viewed your Profile: This is a misleading stat that keeps people up at night. Who cares if someone viewed my Profile (I know, I know… everyone does, and sometimes it might even matter). My point is this – just because someone viewed your Profile doesn’t mean they liked it, want to do business with you, want to hire you, etc. Maybe they saw your Profile and thought “this person is NOT who I’m looking for.” If they are interested, make it EASY for them to contact you… put your contact info in various places on your Profile, and invite them to reach out. Instead of stalking them after they happened upon your Profile. I know this is a pet peeve of many recruiters who look at a lot of Profiles… just because a recruiter looks at a Profile (or resume, for that matter) it doesn’t mean they want to hire you, or interview you… it just means you were one of hundreds that was looked at that day.

3. Inmail: You have got to be kidding. The limit on the number of inmails you can send at the paid levels is a joke. Even at the higher paid levels. And the open and conversion rates? That sounds like LinkedIn marketing talk, not field tested results. The feedback I hear from my audiences (even including marketing professionals) is NOT the same as what you state in the article, or what LinkedIn states. There are easy enough ways to reach out to a lot more than 15 people a month than paying for the upgrade.

My audience can’t easily expense an upgrade. They want to learn how to use LinkedIn smarter, not just toss money at it and hope they get value out of it.

Free, FTW.

What about you? What compels you to upgrade (or not)?

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