Does your business survival depend on social media companies like LinkedIn? Be prepared!
Will LinkedIn go out of business tomorrow? Probably not, but that’s what was said about Blockbuster, Compaq, TWA, and Enron. LinkedIn shares have fallen at least 10 percent following three of its last four earnings reports. Last week, LinkedIn had its largest one-day loss in shareholder value at 40 percent since the company first became public in 2011.
If you haven’t downloaded your LinkedIn contacts into a separate file, like Excel, do it now to protect yourself. Google how to do it; it’s easy.
LinkedIn appears to be suffering from the same issue as Twitter. The company is trying to grow their financial performance but user page views are on the decline compared to member growth.
It’s important than anyone in business does not rely on third parties to store and control their contacts. Marketers have long taught the value of driving your customers and prospects to your own website. This of course means that your site must contain valuable information content that educates not just sells. If you don’t have a large number of LinkedIn contacts who have signed up to receive updates for your website then you are putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.
Frankly, I think LinkedIn is missing the “forest from the trees.” I know the company offers premium services such as Talent Solutions and Business, Business Plus and Executive levels. The decision was recently made to exit Lead Accelerator. When I started my business, a friend gave me really good advice. He said: “when you do not charge for something, people perceive it has no value.” LinkedIn provides users and those who know how to optimize their profiles an extremely valuable tool. I would certainly be willing to pay a nominal charge for my connections. I have 3000 contacts; 10 cents a contact per year, $300. Why not?
I love LinkedIn. My business is much more successful today because of it. My second book, The Endangered Customer: Eight Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business, was just released. My LinkedIn Community is supporting and contributing to my book launch. I’m not suggesting that we all chip in and bail out LinkedIn. The message is don’t depend on a third party for your business existence.
I would suggest the following:
- Continue to use LinkedIn as an effective tool to meet new people all over the world. I have actually developed great friendships with my social media contacts. Leverage connections with those who live in your geographic area; look up contacts in advance when you travel out-of-state or worldwide.
- Maximize your LinkedIn profiles. There are many experts who teach users how to fully leverage their LinkedIn accounts. We hired one such expert in 2012 when I wrote my first book and she did an outstanding job of teaching us the ins and outs of the social media world. Sign up for a webinar or attend a class that offers social media training.
- Periodically download your LinkedIn connections into a separate database. LinkedIn removed this feature at one point in time, but provided it again due to user outrage. But, what if it is removed again, permanently?
- Most importantly, ensure your website content is educational and encourages viewers to sign up for updates and newsletters. Make sure you are in control on your own contacts.
I would be lost without LinkedIn. I am pleased when someone wants to connect with me and I see a mutually beneficial relationship being new social media friends. Although I receive LinkedIn alerts, I always check my profile views and know who is viewing my LinkedIn Publishing blogs and my periodic messages to followers at least twice a day. An iconic company goes out of business and you can no longer purchase their products and services. But, you still had the option to buy a similar product from a competitor. If LinkedIn were to go under, your database of contacts would go with them. Don’t let that happen to you.