LinkedIn is considered a social networking platform for professionals, because of its built-in features and the way that individuals and businesses use the platform.
Social media and social networking sites are platforms where people find information and connect with friends, family, and colleagues.
When you consider LinkedIn and the way individuals and businesses use the different features that the platform offers, it can be described as a social networking site for professionals.
Why social media and social networking platforms are important
Social media and social networking platforms have become an integral part of everyday life for most people and their importance transcends just allowing old and new friends to connect virtually.
Although the social aspects of sites that allow people to connect with friends, family, and colleagues, is what drives the popularity and creation of content on these platforms, social media and social networking platforms have also become the sources that many people go to for their daily news and for the dissemination of information that influences their decision-making.
This has made these platforms a valuable tool that businesses can use to reach existing and new audiences.
Is LinkedIn a social media platform?
Although LinkedIn is sometimes referred to as a social media platform, it technically isn’t.
Experts agree that since there is an obvious difference between the way that users interact on LinkedIn and other social media platforms as well as the content that they share on these platforms, LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals, and not a social media site.
While social media platforms are spaces in which people can interact with friends and family and can post or share content that personally interests them, social networking sites are known to be more formal, blog-like spaces where people can create profiles with biographical information and network with other individuals in a public forum-type of format.
The built-in features on the platform indicate that professional skills, connections, and thought-provoking content are more important to LinkedIn users than general life updates.
While the variations between social media platforms and social networking platforms are what distinguish LinkedIn from other social media platforms, according to some experts, other experts find fault with the “social” part of categorising LinkedIn as a social networking platform.
Many people consider LinkedIn to be a virtual space that replaces traditional networking events hosted in various industries.
In this sense, LinkedIn is only used to connect with experts in your industry or to build connections in your industry, which is different from socially interacting with friends on Facebook or other social media platforms.
Since it is clear that LinkedIn is not a social media platform, it is important to understand which features distinguish it from other social media sites and what it is used for by individuals and businesses.
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Features that distinguish LinkedIn from social media platforms
|Paid accounts||LinkedIn offers various paid Premium account options, which help users who are looking to grow and reach their career, business, and sales or hiring goals on the platform.|
|Jobs||LinkedIn has a specific “Jobs” posting board that connects recruiters and job seekers, which is different from features on social media platforms, like “People you might know” boards or pages.|
|Skills and endorsements||LinkedIn has a clear professional focus for profiles on the platform, as there are several ways to test and update your skills and endorsements. This is different from the biographical information required on social media platforms.|
How do people use LinkedIn?
The reason why many people feel that LinkedIn is a social networking platform and not a social media platform, is because they mainly use this platform to connect with colleagues and other people in their fields of work in order to build, cultivate, and maintain professional networks.
The way people use LinkedIn is often through professional endorsements and professional connections on the platform. This is different from other social media sites where interactions between users are often casual and informal.
How do businesses use LinkedIn?
Similarly to social media sites, LinkedIn is used by businesses to increase their followers and promote their brand.
However, the tone of businesses’ interactions with their target audience on this platform differs from that on social media platforms.
LinkedIn is known for having informative and thoughtful content written by experts in business, rather than paid advertisements or high-engagement content that businesses would use on social media platforms.