Digital Skills on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional networking site built for mainly business professionals and to enhance the chances of employment. It was launched in May 2003 by one of the primary co-founders Reid Hoffman, and the network is used by over 200 countries around the world. LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, a well known social media site, but LinkedIn has its differences. It is not about making friends or sharing photos and videos just to boast, there is more to it.
Those who have the right digital skills will surely benefit on LinkedIn to find or hire the right people for your business. It is a great recruitment tool to put it simply. Over 65 million people are registered to LinkedIn. Instead of making "friends", you are making "connections" with professionals around the world who may have the same interest and expertise as you. This is called a strategic relationship rather than wasting time communicating with someone who have no benefit to you or them.
Besides LinkedIn being a valuable resource for career development and business enhancement, you can get resources, support and strengthen relationships with valuable customers. Many users on this site choose to do business at home and stay connected to the outside world by telecommuting. Freelance work is also ideal on LinkedIn as a way of self-employment.
As LinkedIn has its own platform and system, learning to use it should not be difficult compared to other social media networks. It is free to sign up and creating an account as a beginner and then you can proceed to paid membership if you wish to unlock all the benefits, but that is entirely up to you. Having a quality profile picture is very important on a LinkedIn account. This improves chances of obtaining more attention with the employers because it is the first thing they will look at on your profile.
So what are some of the pros of using LinkedIn?
There are several advantages in using LinkedIn to enhance your chances of gaining employment or to promote business. Some main examples are:
- High-level profile - The options enables you to post your job preferences, resumes (or curriculum vitae), past work experiences, other skills and qualifications.
- The ability to connect with other social media platforms - LinkedIn members can link their business blogs and social media accounts such as Twitter to LinkedIn. This feature ensures an increase in finding potential customers.
- Sales and Marketing - Traders can use LinkedIn as a sales channel by the use of LinkedIn adverts and company pages.
- Enhances SEO profile of small businesses - Traders have the chance to create content to share on LinkedIn and then use that content URL link to share on other social media sites. This increases more valuable exposure to your business content webpage on LinkedIn. Also, your business name will be ranked high on Google search.
- Building connections faster - As LinkedIn is a serious site for people in marketing, the relationship between your connections is not personal but professional, or that is the way it should be without time wasting in an immature manner. This means other members are more likely to connect and follow you willingly to grow your network in a short span of time.
- Trustworthy platform for recruitment - Businesses and employees can view genuine profiles so both the applicant and the person hiring are indeed trusted with each others profiles and what they've posted on it.
- Mobile application - A LinkedIn app is available for Android and iOS and is just ideal for any members wishing to use their smartphones or tablets for compatibility and for those who have a dislike for computers.
- Increased visibility - Having an active and optimized account on LinkedIn can enhance your visibility as a professional member or if you are job seeking. If you choose to share your personal information to employers such as contact number or email, the more chances you will have of getting a response, but this also may lead to a privacy concern.
- Identity protection - You can make your profile private even when you are communicating with potential customers, marketers or other connections who have the same interest as you.
What are some of the cons of using LinkedIn?
LinkedIn may be a great professional network for marketing, it is not always perfect for business people and even for job seekers. Some disadvantages are:
- Spam messages - Yes, in business and marketing, there are chances of receiving spam messages in your LinkedIn inbox. This will be very annoying for business people because if they send out messages to people to promote their products for example, others will do the same to them. It works out both ways and can be a way of expressing selfishness and greed. Filtering these spam messages takes time also.
- Unsuccessful sales - LinkedIn is mostly about making a sale of a product from the seller. However, some sellers may end up in a social relationship with their potential customers. That means whoever the seller is connected with maybe wants to sell something of his to the seller. This brings out confusion to both parties which leads to a possible disconnection. Having a paid subscription may avoid this on LinkedIn but it is not entirely possible.
- Business not done in real time - You cannot predict when a person will be online. When making business connections on LinkedIn, some connections may take several weeks to respond.
- LinkedIn interaction may be boringly slow - Unlike Twitter or Facebook, interacting on LinkedIn may seem limited. Users find themselves spending more time enhancing their profiles than socializing such as commenting, creating posts and other forms of interaction. It appears that LinkedIn is not lively enough.
- Inability to reach younger audiences - If you want to promote digital marketing that appeals to a younger audience, you may be less successful due to them not starting a professional network on LinkedIn.
- The cost - Advertising on LinkedIn or upgrading to premium membership can be quite expensive or not affordable. This can be a huge disappointment for many members.
- Poor LinkedIn support - Users who have contacted for help and support complain LinkedIn is rather slow to respond. This could mainly affect users on the free version of LinkedIn.
- Unhappy job seekers - Users applying for jobs do not get a response immediately or none at all. This could be due to hundreds of same job applications being posted to the employers which they are unable to respond to each and every one.
As we have learned, LinkedIn in the digital world is not perfect. The good advantages usually outweigh the bad ones so it is not very disheartening to acquire some digital skills to use the platform. LinkedIn, as a professional network, enhances business and employment despite the issues and challenges faced which every member of the platform has to learn to deal with.
Digital Skills on Cloud Storage
Cloud storage requires an internet connection to store data on remote servers. Such data can include storing documents, photos, videos and audios as a backup for future retrieval. Cloud storage is also handy when there is not enough space on your computer hard drive or memory card. There are hundreds of cloud storage services available to choose from online and few of the most popular ones are Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, Apple iCloud, Dropbox (inc Business), Microsoft Onedrive and Mediafire.
Those are just some of the typical examples of good cloud storage service providers. Cloud storage is mostly free where the service providers put a limit on the amount of data you are allowed to use for storing your files. If more data is required, then those services will request payment depending on how much data you actually need. One example is Microsoft Onedrive where you get 5GB free as of 2019.
In the marketing world, people are taking advantage of using this digital skill towards cloud storage to improve their business. It has so much benefits which can save them money. It keeps their company and customer data safe and secure rather than storing them on local hard drives which might malfunction. However, there are certain challenges to face when using cloud to store sensitive information. That is why having good digital skills and knowledge is crucial when dealing with online technologies and at the same time, business people and employees can acquire a pleasant working atmosphere in the workplace. Cloud storage has its good aspects and bad aspects just like LinkedIn has, but cloud has also transformed the business world in the past few years.
What are some pros of cloud storage?
- Increased productivity - This simply means that using cloud services makes employers and employees more productive and efficient, especially when storing important business data that is available anytime and anywhere when it is needed in emergencies.
- Stress-free on data space - Employers will stress less concerning the lack of storage space on local hard drives they used to rely on to store their important files.
- Saving money with cloud - Yes, it is quite true, a great benefit for many business owners and probably the most important one. As cloud storage is more affordable for businesses around the world, it almost eliminates the cost of buying more hardware and also for maintenance.
- Flexibility - Cloud storage can be accessed on any device that supports this service, anywhere and at anytime. This makes it more flexible if you have loads of employees with different devices and in different locations when sharing and accessing files among them.
- Collaboration - This is another flexible advantage very similar to the point made above. Collaboration is when a group of employees working as a team and each using cloud to share data easily to finish tasks from different places. Those working as field workers in practicality can share data in real-time and receive updates from those working in the office environment. This amazing cloud computing collaboration reduces or stops unnecessary and repetitive tasks such as entering data repeatedly for example.
- Speed - The faster the internet speed, the more faster the cloud will upload and download off the server as if you are using a local hard drive. This entirely depends on your internet service provider.
What are some of the cons of using cloud?
- Security and privacy - The internet is not hundred percent safe and secure. The risk of being hacked by online hackers is a possibility. Onedrive for example, provides encryption and your business files are encrypted before they are uploaded to the server. A strong password or 2-step security is highly recommended for extra protection.
- Cloud software - If you are handling files on several different devices, including the ones with your colleagues, then the software must be downloaded and installed on all of them which can be exhausting.
- Control of cloud is limited - The cloud infrastructure is owned by the service provider(s). They manage and monitor everything that goes on in the cloud. It means customers have less control and limited options such as just managing the cloud application, data and services only. They cannot access the other side of the infrastructure.
- Speed - As being an advantage, speed can also be a disadvantage. Simply, if your internet speed is slow, then working with files on cloud will be slow too. Businesses should be aware of that if their business involves working in a speedy environment.
- Internet connection - Simply, if their is no internet connection on any of your device, then cloud is not accessible. This makes it very inconvenient to actually get access to your important business documents.
- Hard drives - Some business companies find it cheaper not to use hard drives, however, some may use certain programs that requires an internal or external hard drive to do their work. This means some businesses find cloud useless.
- Lack of support - Most cloud services do not have good customer support services. You will need to rely on FAQ pages to get help rather than phoning or emailing them. Basically, you will feel a bit isolated in case you run into problems when using cloud.
As cloud is not a social media platform, it has its limitations. Cloud is good for information gathering and sharing work with others in a team. Direct communication with others is not present in cloud services but the possibilities of enhancing your business is very good with the right skills in the digital world. Despite having bad aspects, having good knowledge about cloud services can benefit you very positively. The most critical issue is the security part of your cloud account. Learning to add extra security and to back-up files elsewhere to make it accessible is very crucial. It is a good way of dealing with such unexpected problems.
Digital Skills in Social Media
Social media are platforms created for content sharing very quickly. Similar to LinkedIn, social media networks also have the capability to communicate, share and gather data for business purposes. Whatever your company involves, you can create business pages and advertisements to enhance your business on social media websites. This can be known as "social media marketing", "e-marketing", "internet marketing" or "digital marketing" if a product or service is to be promoted.
Social media marketing (SMM) plays an important role in digital skills for the workplace because many social media networks have their own marketing tools. Learning the skills the right way in using such tools online will bring positive outcomes to business. The aim of online marketing is to produce content which enables social media users to share with their own social network to increase popularity of your company brand and to increase more customers. Social media optimization (SMO) is a great tool for attracting new and potential customers to your company website. In the field of digital skills, RSS feeds, updating statuses and promoting other activities on your business website is crucial to know about when using the social media optimization technique.
Social media marketing even helps a company get immediate feedback from potential customers. It allows customers to interact with the trader if they wish to raise any questions or concerns. Doing business in social media is widespread in sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
One fine example is having a Pinterest business account for those trading on Amazon. They can use Pinterest to their advantage to promote their products by pinning eye-catching images and adding relevant descriptions and links that directs them to Amazon to make a sale. The idea seems very cool and fun if you have the knowledge on how to do business in that method.
A lot of major social media sites have direct audio and video calling features to communicate. Besides the usual text message (sms) option to communicate, companies much prefer the video calling option to do business. In this instance, we will use Skype as a primary example because there are several good factors in using it for communication and collaboration in business. Skype is owned by Microsoft but there is debate whether it is a social media network. There is no right or wrong, and I regard it as a good example of social media networking.
In general, Skype has an instant messaging service which means you will get an instant answer. It is faster then emailing when interacting with it. The ability to see who is available online is a great advantage. "Skype for business" is another system that lets you connect with your co-workers or partners in your business anywhere around the world. Voice calls and video calls are also included to start conversations with potential customers too. Skype for business allows file sharing, or if you are working on your computer desktop, you can allow people to see what you are doing. You can extend the conversation to a group of ten people with added voice, or you can do video conferencing to your potential audience to promote business.
The beauty of Skype is that it is cheap to make calls internationally. That includes video calling to your customers anywhere in the world because it is affordable. It cuts the cost of business calls. Skype can provide any connections with your employees, as well as to millions of people using it, on any devices that support the Skype application. It saves the hassle of the travel costs because business people rather do the video conferencing to avoid face-to-face meetings.
What are some of the pros in using social media for employment and business?
Put it this way, if businesses are not taking advantage of social media networking, they are in fact missing out on a quick, inexpensive and effective way to reach potential customers to sell their products around the world. They will be losing out in valuable business deals. Some pros on using social media are:
- Popularizing your company brand - Almost half the world is using social media. It is a great place to reach out to potential customers to increase awareness of your brand. People discover and learn about new products on different social media platforms if you know how to share your business brand properly. One potential customer can help you reach out more customers by sharing your business website to other platforms for example.
- Increased traffic - Posts and ads are vital ways to drive traffic to your business website. Sharing quality content from your article and website to your social media channels is an effective way to get attention from users.
- Feedback - As stated earlier, social media lets you get instant feedback from your customers whether it is positive or negative. This gives you an idea if your product is a success, and if it is not, you are allowed to respond and resolve problems quickly.
- Higher conversion rates - If your visibility is high on social media platforms, your business will gain more opportunities for conversion. Blog posts, images, videos or comments posted on social media will lead more viewers to your business website which means traffic will increase further.
- Customer satisfaction - If you engage with customers on a one-to-one basis, you will increase a good relationship with them. They will trust you more, be loyal to you and also spread the news about your business to their friends and family.
- Cost-effectiveness - Social media is good for strategic advertising because it is cost-efficient. To expect greater returns, it is best to start small by paying less on advertisements in social media without losing vast amounts of money. This is a great advantage for business people on social media.
- It is free to use - Yes, and obviously the best news for everybody. Signing up to social media platforms is free if you want to enhance your business and that is if you are reluctant to pay to promote. The choice is yours but going another step further may boost your sales.
What are some of the cons of using social media for business?
Sometimes there are certain disadvantage is using social media to promote business or employment. One mistake from you can lead to disastrous outcomes even though it may not be your fault. Not everyone likes to use social media for business due to the bad aspects of using it as business enhancement platform. People probably end up smashing up their devices if something goes terribly wrong. Some cons on using social media are:
- Time Consumption - It can be true that social media takes up valuable time. Over half of digital marketers spend over 5 hours on social media marketing. It is very time consuming if your digital skills is not put to use efficiently. The results may deliver less traffic and poor sales.
- Negative Users - One of the issues with social media is that it brings in all sorts of people, even the rogue ones. Such people can be scammers, spammers, trolls and people with bad intentions in their minds. They are the ones that harm your online business activities. They might give negative feedback purposely to make your brand appear useless which spoils it for everyone else. It will make you lose control that will damage your online reputation.
- Spoiled for choice with social media - This means there is far too many social media platforms to choose from. Even the most popular ones will be difficult to pick because you do not know which one will work best for marketing, be it Facebook or Pinterest etc. With that much choice, signing up and using them all will drive you mad because they all work differently. Best advice is to do some research on your product brand and learn which site is beneficial.
- Changes in social media - It will be difficult to keep up with new updates on social media platforms. New things may be launched on Facebook for example which you need to be aware of, or certain changes and rules may need to be adhered to. If not, you may lose popularity and traffic and that gives other competitors an advantage to their business.
- Fake profiles and time wasters - This is true. Beware of fake profiles and time wasters who have nothing better to do than to waste your time and energy.
- Risk of embarrassment - Businesses can go viral on social media platforms. Users have a keen eye on the good and bad stuff, and if you post irrelevant information (or by accident) on your product, you will end up getting embarrassed by them and this will affect your company. Avoid finding yourself in these awkward situations.
- Security and privacy - Like cloud storage, social media is also not safe and secure. Hackers will attempt to steal your personal details and get access to your business records and financial details. This is a serious disadvantage in using social media for marketing. A strong password and 2-step verification can reduce the risk.
Lastly, digital skills is a great advantage to assist anybody in employment and business. People are already thriving by using technology as a tool to improve themselves at work whether they are employed or self-employed. There are of course challenges to face and learning on how to deal with them. Pros and cons are always going to be present in the digital age of marketing. This should not dishearten anyone who wish to do business using online strategic tools and methods. Precautions can be taken and then you will appreciate the wonderful experience in using digital skills to advance and flourish in life.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Zia Uddin
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 21, 2019:
You have a very thorough list of pros and cons, and I enjoyed reading. I'm not a fan of LinkedIn (I find it to be social media for the very old school, corporate, and stuffy) but I like other forms of social media for business.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 21, 2019:
The world of work has changed enormously in recent years. This is a very topical and helpful article.