June 12, 2013
This post was updated on July 2016
Sadly, LinkedIn has discontinued their Discounted Plans… I continue to monitor their plans and as soon as they are available, I will update this page.
There are two types of accounts on LinkedIn®, the free and the paid versions. When I speak to groups about the power of LinkedIn, I almost always get the question, “Is the free account good enough or should I upgrade to a paid LinkedIn account?”
My answer is, “Yes, the free account is just good enough… if you are using LinkedIn for professional reasons, you should absolutely upgrade!”
Look, LinkedIn’s free account is a good starting point for most users. It allows you to do almost everything that the paid version does, only in limited number and with limited visibility. For example, a free account only shows the first 100 results of a LinkedIn® search; whereas a paid account provides anywhere from 3 to 10 times that amount of results.
There are four different types of paid accounts ranging from $19.95 a month to $399.95 a month. The higher the price, the more you can do within LinkedIn®.
Although I said the free account is a good starting point, I absolutely advocate upgrading. When you upgrade to a premium plan, you are unlocking numerous valuable features.
LinkedIn® members who pay for LinkedIn® get a premium badge that appears on their profile. This badge shows other members that you are a serious LinkedIn® user. I have repeatedly found that there is a bit of a caste system within the LinkedIn® world. There is more respect for users who pay by other members and LinkedIn® tends to treat paying members better. Looking at search results, profiles of premium members tend to congregate on the first page of results. I don’t think this is a coincidence. When it comes to technical support, premium users typically receive faster response than those who do not pay. I guess the old adage is true: you do get what you pay for.
When you opt for an OpenProfile, you are allowing anyone on LinkedIn® to send you a message regardless of whether they are in your 1st degree network or not. The only caveat is that they too must opt in to OpenProfile as well.
When you upgrade and you choose to be visible, you can see almost anyone who has viewed your LinkedIn® profile over the past 90 days. This is a great way to see who’s checking you out on LinkedIn®. Not only do you get to see who’s viewed them, you also get to see how well your LinkedIn® profile is performing in search and keywords through graphs that chart your success and progress.
The Profile Organizer allows you to save profiles and organize them into folders, where you can add notes and contact info, and see correspondence history.This functionality delivers an almost CRM-like ability to keep track of connections and your history with them.
InMail is a way to message any LinkedIn® member outside your network, without an introduction. It’s like priority mail. Unanswered InMails are credited back to your account after 7 days. InMails are not available on all premium accounts.
Lastly, you get access to additional profile information for people inside and outside your network. Basic accounts are unable to see full names of 3rd degree connections. By upgrading, you can see their full name. You also get access to expanded profile sections that include job and education details, recommendations and groups for people outside of your network.
Have I convinced you that upgrading is worth it? If not, consider one more thing. Sometimes you need to get some skin in the game in order to truly commit. I have found that once my clients started paying for LinkedIn®, the more they began to use it. Somehow, people tend to take things more seriously when they pay for it.
The other aspect is it’s simply the right thing to do. LinkedIn® is providing an awesome service and you will find amazing opportunities. Doesn’t it make sense to support the infrastructure that allows you to network in your pajamas? By supporting LinkedIn® with a paid account, you are allowing them to collect revenue without having to resort to selling your information to marketers, like Facebook does. Let’s keep LinkedIn® the product being sold by upgrading to a premium account rather than making your demographic information the product sold to marketers.
There are two places within LinkedIn® to upgrade:
LinkedIn provides you with amazing functionality and upgrading makes sense. Are you a premium member? What are your favorite premium features? What made you finally choose to upgrade? Please leave your feedback in my comments section… just scroll down! I would love to hear from you!
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