Is LinkedIn a business site or turning into a dating Site?

A friend recently confided in me that she is using LinkedIn to meet people. After trying to meet people on many of the popular dating sites, including Tinder, she is turning this attention to LinkedIn.  As a LinkedIn expert, she asked me for advice on branding for all her profiles. This prompted a question: is LinkedIn the new pick up site for professionals?

 

LinkedIn is changing and fast. We already know that LinkedIn is quickly moving away from the traditional job site it started out as and now is trying to be a fully operating social site. Check out my blog on how I believe LinkedIn is turning into the next Facebook for some context. But has it gone too far? Will these changes improve the functionality of LinkedIn or will it become too much like Facebook and ruin the essence of the product? After my friends call I decided to dig a little deeper and decide for myself. Three things really stood out to me in regards to the change in culture on LinkedIn.

1) Content: The first thing I noticed was how much my  daily news feed is changing. As a social media consultant you can understand that I am online quite a bit. I have seen the changes in Facebook becoming more business oriented and also how LinkedIn is becoming more social. I remember a time when there were no blogs and you couldn't upload any pictures! Now my newsfeed is filled with inspirational MEMEs and lifestyle blogs. I read quite a good blog on the health benefits of kalerecently, not the traditional LinkedIn material.

2) Connections: I have a lot of discussion with my clients on who they should connect to on LinkedIn. Traditionally you would only connect to people you had met and were doing business with. Today people connect to anyone that can help them achieve their goals.  It doesn't matter if you have met them, in fact it is the place to make an introduction without annoying them with an unexpected phone call. 

I have clients promoting their books and want to spread your message to the world, so they connect to pretty much everyone! I also have clients who only want six clients a year in a very specific niche, so they are very particular about who they connect to.  The strategy you take depends on your situation, but the overall culture is that people are there to grow their networks so connecting with people is more relaxed.

For my dating friend, she would connect to people who she liked their photos, style and who worked in similar fields.  She found dating sites didn't give her space to talk about what was really important to her and with so many people fighting to stand out it was challenging to just be herself. She loves work so wanted someone similar to herself. She figured quite a few people meet their life partners at work so what's wrong with connecting and chatting to people via LinkedIn? 

3) Businesses: The original power users of LinkedIn were recruiters. They are still there of course, but there are hundreds of other business sectors using LinkedIn to gain new clients. Digital marketers, social media experts and website designers are everywhere - I'm sure you have been approached a few times by them!  But did you realise to models and artists are using LinkedIn too?

Most of my friends in artistic area don't see the value of LinkedIn until I point out that that is the social site where the money is. It's great to have fans of Instagram and YouTube, but the corporate sponsors are on LinkedIn. Just do search for 'models' and you will see what I mean.

Will these changes on LinkedIn ruin the business nature of the product? I don't think so. My opinion is that they reflect broader changes to our business culture. As a society we are blending work and social more and more as people move away from the traditional full time job model and into lifestyle businesses. 

Finally did my friend meet the love of her life? Not yet, but she is happier meeting people in the area she is comfortable with rather than trying to be someone she is not and that is a win in my book.


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Andrew Ford

Social Star, Level 4, Suite 402, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.