Over the last few week, my email inbox has been filled with several messages from LinkedIn urging me to try the Premium LinkedIn account. After much resistance deriving from my overall feeling that social networking should be free (Power to the People!), I decided to do some research.
I started off with this basic question: Should people upgrade to a premium account when the free service seems to offer everything you need?
Here’s what I found:
The Service Packages
LinkedIn offers different services depending on your goals. There are premium accounts for regular business people, recruiters, job seekers, and sales professionals. Each of the categories has three levels of services that are price accordingly. (You can checkout the prices here)
- LinkedIn Premium accounts for regular business users start at $24.95 a month. For all the packages, if you sign up for an annual plan, the total cost will be significantly cheaper. Upgrading to this account allows you to use InMail, see more profiles, use premium filters, and see the full profiles of everyone on LinkedIn.
- Premium accounts for Recruiters start at $49.95 a month for the basic account and can get as expensive as $500 a month. This account allows you to use InMail, premium filters, use top talent searches within groups, and create Profile Organizers for potential candidates.
- Premium accounts for Job Seekers start at $19.95 for the basic package. Unlike the other packages, the basic plan doesn’t allow you to use InMail. You will need to get the middle or Plus package to activate this feature. This service allows more transparency by showing which users and businesses have viewed your profile. Also, you can get introduced to companies and include a Job Seeker Badge on your profile.
- The basic package for the premium account for Sales Professionals is $24.95, and the executive account runs at $99.95. This service is quite similar to the general upgrade.
InMail allows you to send a message to anyone on LinkedIn without any prior introduction or connections. Many of the accounts come with a limited amount of InMails per month (Basic packages usually come with about 3/month). InMails come with a response guarantee, meaning that if you don’t get a response within 7 days, you will receive another InMail to use. Regular accounts can use InMails at a rate of 10 dollars per message. For more details, check out this page.
According to the LinkedIn help center, “InMail helps you make the right impression, in front of the right people, at the right time.”
To Answer the Question
Should people upgrade to a premium account when the free service seems to offer everything you need?
For myself, a person who isn’t a business owner, unemployed, or in sales, I have no use for a premium account. However, to say that it isn’t for someone else would be completely misguided.
Medium to Large companies should definitely look into the value that LinkedIn offers. Unlike other pools, LinkedIn tends to offer high-quality candidates that are well-educated. Using LinkedIn for recruiting purposes is a fantastic idea. If you have a $100K position to fill, LinkedIn is a great tool for corporate headhunters.
For Job Seeker, premium accounts could be hit or miss. By just having a regular account, some of my friends have been contacted and recruited, which is a testament to the fact that you should have your profile 100% completed and as robust as possible. If the premium account does push up your profile to the top of the list, then it may help edge out competitors. Visibility is key!
The lack of InMails for the Job Seeker Basic upgrade is alarming. The recommended package that comes with 5 InMails is a whopping $29.95. For a person who is presumably already unemployed, this is going to be a large dip into their bank accounts. However, if you do land that $50K+ job, then it wouldn’t have been a bad investment. There are some cool perks like getting introduced to companies and moving up the featured applicants lists. If you are desperate or want to put your eggs in different baskets, then give it a try.
For Sales Professionals, I would imagine that the "introduce feature" would be useful if you are trying to start your networking. Premium accounts are given deeper search results and additional information regarding people out of your network. Also, the insights that are available detailing who has visited your page can give hints to possible leads.
So the answer is: It’s for some people. For people that are on LinkedIn just to be on LinkedIn, you should stay away from the premium account. However, if you have a purpose, like recruiting, job searching, sales, or enhanced networking, then the premium account could be fruitful.
On a side note: If you stay on the pricing page long enough, a small box appears asking if you want to talk to customer service about upgrading. I thought that was pretty funny. I actually said accepted, but it never connected.
What do you think of the LinkedIn Premium account? Would you considered getting it?
Nelson Ta is the Content Editor and lead blogger for Omnibeat. As a social media enthusiast with an extensive background in writing, he strives to help businesses and people understand the latest trends in social media, technology, and marketing. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.