Whats the point of Linkedin?

In its first minutes as a public company, LinkedIn was valued at roughly $8.5 billion. This made Linkedin the largest internet I.P.O since Google.

Linkedin is a social network that focuses on harnessing the power of social technology to improve professional business networking. The website had about 600 000 South African subscribers in 2010 and that figure has almost double in the last year to just over 1.1 million professional business people. The biggest industries represented on the network are from the finance and high tech arenas.

So why all the fuss over a website? I mean, isn’t this just another Facebook where people go to procrastinate doing any “real” work?

If it’s I.P.O wasn’t enough to prove to you its value in business lets take a look at a few elements of business that Linkedin is taking on and how this innovative internet business is changing the way we do business.

A new way of building business networks

Linkedin Marketing

You are only six degrees away from every person on the planet. Which means that you are possibly less than three degrees away from the people you need to achieve business success.

Social media allows your network to find you in a faster and more direct fashion. Communicating your message on social media platforms enables your peers to easily share your message with their peers. It is this ’sharing’ that often brings interested parties to the table. Especially when this networking takes place within a business network like Linkedin.

This is why Linkedin is so powerful. You can see the network that your peers in business have. Being able to see your ‘extended network’ you can make strategic decisions about how to leverage your network to meet the right people to grow your business. What’s even better is that you can then ask for a recommendation referral over LinkedIn. In essence, you can take control over who your network promotes your business to.

The number one reason business professional need LinkedIn? It helps you take control of the growth and strength of your business networks!!

Challenging the recruitment industry

As the Internet makes a bigger impact on the recruitment industry we are starting to see recruitment agencies enter into a second state of disruption in South Africa.

The first state of disruption that the recruitment industry experienced due to the internet lead to the creation of Job’s Boards and career websites like Career Junction. Some campaniles struggled,  and still struggle, to make this transition in business as their industry started to take on a very digital approach.

The second state of disruption facing the recruitment industry comes in the form of social technology. Recruitment agencies now find themselves in a stage of their digital evolution that forces them to harness social media websites and online headhunting strategies to find new candidates.

I believe that the biggest shift between these two states is the role that digital technology plays in each stage.

Social Media Job Finding

Finding and Processing Applicants

In the first state digital technology allowed recruitment agencies to manage their influx of applications for jobs they had on the market. A strong digital presence would also have increased the number of applications for each job. This data was then processed and matched to the job specification criteria. Once the match was made consultants often took the candidate into the interview stages of the recruitment process.

The biggest challenge in this state was the management of MORE. Job boards and the likes, created huge volumes of online applications and instead of more quality, the truth was was that the value often stopped at quantity of candidates. The second state of disruption offers agencies the opportunity to take the recruitment process further.

Head-hunting and Career Management

Social media channels have opened up the landscape for websites like Linkedin to operate. Currently sitting of just over 1 million South African users Linkedin seems poised to make a huge impact on the South African Recruitment Industry.

Social media website allow companies, agencies and entrepreneurs to head-hunt people online to find the right candidate. Today’s candidate are using websites link Linkedin to manage their business networking, personal branding and career planning. They understand by putting their best step forward (creating great online CV’s, collecting recommendations and networking with new potential business connections) they can set the stage for companies to approach them instead of the other way around. In other words social media, if used correctly by the candidate, could create a more powerful negotiation tool.

The Up and Downside

The plus side for companies and recruitment agencies is that they can research potential candidates from a pool of high quality candidates.

The downside for recruitment agencies, and one of the most important disruptions to address, is that these resources are available directly to your clients. In South Africa I have already heard of big business investing in social media websites to improve recruitment practices. In other words, if not dealt with carefully, this new disruption in the recruitment industry could start taking the money right out of the recruitment industry.

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