by Nathan Egan
on May 17, 2011

Should I Upgrade? LinkedIn’s Free vs. Premium Accounts

Over 110 Million professionals use

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LinkedIn… a few pay for upgrades but most do not.

LinkedIn offers several levels of premium account subscriptions targeted at the general professional, recruiter, job seeker and sales person. However, LinkedIn also offers a very robust free account, that for average LinkedIn user, is going to work just perfect and you may never have a case to upgrade. However, there are some good reasons to move to a premium account. LinkedIn has a great page to compare the different Premium account types. Later on we will compare the different account types and why in some situations you may want to consider a premium account.

I assume you already have some experience with the free account and understand the basic features. If you are new to LinkedIn feel free to take LinkedIn’s 101 Live Training Webinar on Wednesdays to learn the features of a free account. You can also take the free live webinar on Tuesdays to learn what the premium account has to offer.

Let’s first look at everything you can do with the basic, free LinkedIn account:

You can capture, build and leverage your professional network and gain visibility through the relationships you and they have into other people and companies.

You get access to powerful people and company search tools that let you research people, companies and find insights that should be integral your decision making and approaches in any outbound professional scenario.

You can contact people through messages if you share a group, through introduction requests, or by any contact information they make available on their profile.

As we look at the premium accounts here are some key valuable things that come with all premium accounts:

InMail’s – InMails allow you to contact just about any person on LinkedIn

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directly and would normally cost $10 apiece without a monthly subscription. Each premium account offers a certain number of InMail’s each month and it’s this feature that really justifies the cost increase as we look.

A great number of who’s viewed my profile and other useful profile statistics – With the free basic account you can see the last 5 people who viewed your profile as long as their privacy settings allow for it. With a premium account subscription you can see an extended list of people who have viewed your profile and receive analytics on the top keywords people used to search you and your profile traffic over time. This can be very valuable as you look to optimize your profile and any outbound/marketing efforts on LinkedIn.

Simply put, LinkedIn offers a powerful free account that allows you access to almost everything on the platform. While there is real value with the premium accounts, make sure you have a business case to justify the upgrade.

*This post contributed

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by Freesource Social Media Strategist and former LinkedIn Employee Travis Heppner. For more information on Travis you can find him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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