LinkedIn has seen significant growth over the last year and the numbers keep climbing. As of last week there were over 25 million members. That’s an impressive number even if it does trail Facebook (50 million plus) and MySpace (65 million plus). Being a business networking site, it’s likely to not reach the saturation of the other two. That’s ok, since from a business perspective it has the ability to be more productive to your average professional.
Where LinkedIn struggles is in the ability of members to monetize their presence. Sure there are people who have made money as a direct result of being on LinkedIn. I have. But given the fact that there are over 2 million people in my network, there is room for improvement.
If I were to assign a grade to LinkedIn’s ability to help me
- Enhance my network: 10
- Expand my Network: 8
- Identify Prospects: 4
- Identify Potential Partners: 7
- Research: 7
- Build Online Brand: 10
- Secure Introductions: 8
The biggest hurdle is the ability to conduct a blind search to identify prospects. Part of this is because LinkedIn doesn’t really want the site to be a tool to identify prospects that you you don’t know. The downside is that even though you have an extended network, there is no effective way to search beyond your first degree connections.
I would like to see LinkedIn come up with a solution that allows me to drill down throughout my entire network providing more opportunity to identify potential partners and clients.
For now LinkedIn may have a lot of members, but until those members find value in interacting, it will lag behind it’s potential. And members will continue to think more in terms of the number of connections they have and not the monetization of their connections.