What is LinkedIn, what is it for and how does this professional social network work?

what is linkedin

I’m sure you’ve heard about it, but you still don’t know what is LinkedIn or exactly how it works.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Today, in the era of social networks, there are still people who do not know the professional and business possibilities they offer.
So, if we are talking about the professional panorama, without a doubt the “queen platform” is LinkedIn, mainly due to all the possibilities it offers you in this aspect.
Many of them I will reveal to you throughout this guide for beginners, which besides knowing what this platform is about, you will know why it is one of the main tools to do Networking through the Internet.
Moreover, it should be an important pillar within the Social Media Plan that you have established within your business, especially if your business focuses eminently on B2B (Business to Business).
So, without further ado, here is a definition of this platform, so that later you can understand its operation and usefulness.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a platform that was born as a social network for professionals and companies. Its main objective is to put people in contact who are looking for work synergies and new professional or business opportunities. Currently, it is owned by Microsoft and is considered the largest professional community worldwide. In fact, in Spain, it has more than 10 million users since it was launched in 2003.

It is a network designed not so much to foster personal relationships, like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter are, but to create a network of contacts in the professional or work environment.
This also means that, if you have a company or a business, you can not miss the opportunity to have a presence in this professional network and start working within the Online Marketing strategy of your brand.
How was LinkedIn born and who founded it?
Once you know what is LinkedIn and exactly what it is for, you may be wondering about its origins as a company.
It was 1993, when Reid Hoffman, a philosophy student at Oxford University while working for companies like PayPal or Apple, was desperately looking for partners to start a software company, his big dream.


How was LinkedIn born and who founded it?

As usually happens with all great entrepreneurs, he started several projects that, in the end, turned out to be unsuccessful, such as “Socialnet”, which already at that time contained certain social network tints.
But it wasn’t until the end of 2002 that he founded what is now this social platform (or, at least, the first sketch). He managed to gather a handful of friends and those interested in becoming part of it and started in May 2003 with just over 100 users.
A couple of years later, the platform already began to take prominence among the most used social networks in the world, getting more and more followers, until in 2005, and had about 35 million registered users.
After strong global growth, in June 2016, LinkedIn was bought by Microsoft for 26.2 billion dollars (23.26 billion euros).
Today, the data speaks for itself about the success of this platform:

  • In Spain: more than 10 million active users.
  • Active users each month: around 225 million.
  • Total registered users: around 500 million worldwide.

What exactly is LinkedIn for?

Bearing in mind that you have already understood what is LinkedIn, you will surely be wondering what are the fundamental reasons to open an account in it, if you still do not have a professional profile or page for your business.
Maybe some of these utilities will make you do it today:

1. Demonstrate your professional skills and Networking

Having a network of professional contacts with whom you can do business and establish business relationships or synergies is something fundamental, whether you have a blog, a corporate website agency, or even an eCommerce itself.
In this way, you will be able to reach out when you need to those professionals with whom you think you can collaborate, which helps you to promote your Personal Brand in your work sector.
Besides this, if you want to create a reputation based on your talent, aptitudes, and professional virtues, this is the best place to do it.

2. Find a job according to your talent

One of the utilities for which this platform is best known is because, although it is not a job portal to use, it helps you to know which companies need qualified personnel with profiles like yours.
This is where some recruiters and HR staff upload the job offers of their companies as posts on their own walls. Therefore, if you are one of those who have this kind of people in your network, you should be very attentive to their daily activities.
In this case, if they already know you because you have done Networking previously, they will be more receptive to you wanting to send them your Curriculum Vitae.

3. Finding suppliers for your business

In the same way that you could find synergies for your own projects, if what you are looking for are suppliers that can supply you with the “raw material” you need for the elaboration of your products, this could be a place to start these commercial relations.
If, for example, you have an eCommerce where you sell handmade baby clothes and in its search engine you write “wool manufacturer” or similar keywords, you will be able to find other professionals who are dedicated to selling them wholesale.
In this way, you will be able to propose to them a monthly supply that supplies your need.

4. Search for new customers

Just as you can find suppliers or partners of your business, once you understand what is LinkedIn and how it works, you can also contact people in charge of departments or sections of other companies that need the services you offer.
If, for example, you are looking for a job in a marketing agency and your dream is to work in a certain Brand (“X”), you can look for an “X marketing manager” and make yourself known.

5. Get Web Traffic

In the same way, this social network can help you get more visits to your blog or Web page.
As you know, “social traffic” is another channel that Google contemplates as a possibility of attracting users to your site on the Internet. Therefore, if you share content on this platform, people interested in these topics will be able to access your Web.
Here, the diffusion of the contents of your blog can be done in 2 ways:

  • Sharing directly on your wall or profile.
  • Creating a new post within “LinkedIn Pulse”.

Both types of publications will appear in the timeline of your contacts, creating the possibility that they may be interested in these articles.

How does LinkedIn, the social network of professionals and companies, work?

By now, you already know what is LinkedIn and learn more about its practical applications and origins. However, you may not yet know how it works.
If so, you can start with these actions:

Create your own personal account

The first thing you must do is create your personal profile with all your personal and professional data, where you will add the information that you would put in your curriculum:

  • Studies.
  • Work experience.
  • Languages.
  • Professional qualities.

Depending on where you have worked and studied, this will suggest some contacts that you can add to your network or not.

Create a page for your company or business

It is enough for you to have a personal profile if you are self-employed or even if you are unemployed.
However, if you have a project, a company, or a business, for sure you are asking yourself: what do you have to do?
I explain in this tutorial: How to create a LinkedIn page for companies?
Create a page for your company
In short, if you already have a personal profile, all you have to do is go to the “products tab” at the top of the profile.
To the right, at the bottom of the drop-down, you will find the option “Company Pages”, where you can start to create your own.
Here you can add your logo, a description of the company, the address, and everything else you consider relevant (remember that above I have left you a link to a guide where I explain in detail).
Then you can also create product pages or showcase and sponsor your publications on LinkedIn Ads, among other functions.

Advantages of using LinkedIn in your digital strategy

Surely by now, you have realized how valuable it is for the digital strategy of your business, learn what it is for and how LinkedIn works.
In case you still have doubts, here are some of the benefits that will bring you this social network:

1. Greater reach of your content

It allows you to create an image of your business and promote your products and services, but all this with a much wider reach than offline media provides.
Why is that? Simply because there are no geographical limits. You can reach whoever you want and from wherever you want, so more people will be able to read your publications and discover everything you want to make known.

2. Create a network of professional contacts

As I said before, the fact of being able to create a wide network of contacts is one of the greatest attractions of LinkedIn today.
To you, to grow your online business, it will be very useful, because not only will you get your publications to more people, but you can find customers, but also suppliers, collaborators and even employees if you need to contact someone.
Remember what I told you: this social network also serves companies that are looking for new talent because here you will find a large database of workers.

3. Reach your potential customers B2B and B2C

This platform offers you the possibility of relating very directly with your customers so that you don’t forget to identify your target audience well.
Once you have this well-defined aspect, it will be very easy to reach your customers and establish a dialogue and a close relationship with them.
My advice? It offers valuable content, as this is what people are ultimately looking for on LinkedIn.
“You might also be interested:
What is the target audience and how to identify it for your brand or business?

4. Stay informed about the sector

In order to carry out a good digital strategy in social networks, it is very important that you are always informed about what is happening in your sector: trends, latest news …
This is a social network in which professionals feedback to each other, offering content of interest to people in the same field.
Thus, you will add value to your contacts by publishing content of interest, as recommended in the previous point, but you can also benefit from what others share.
It’s an excellent way to keep up to date and apply the latest news to your company’s strategy, don’t you think?

5. More visibility

The last thing I have to mention, one of the most important things, is that thanks to LinkedIn you can get more visibility for your business.
Do you know why? Because your contacts will recommend your publications if they find them interesting, as you can do with what others share, and this will generate a greater number of visits to your profile, but also to your website.


In addition to the mentioned advantages of using Linkedin, it is one of the most practical tools for social selling. Social selling is a popular strategy that involves using social media to build trust with your networks. To learn more about it you need to read the “Social Selling: Best Practices and Steps” article.


As you can see, if you have learned something in this guide is to recognize what it is and how LinkedIn works, the indispensable tool for you, if you are looking to promote and publicize your online business or professional activity.
It will allow you to create a wide network of contacts, in which there will be potential customers, suppliers, workers, and collaborators, among others.
But you will also be able to feed on interesting content about your sector.
In short, it is a social network that helps both workers and companies. Employees can identify opportunities and, in many cases, access a better job thanks to the visibility it gives them.
Companies, whether large or small, have the opportunity to win new customers and also to find suitable workers for the company.
Have you understood what is LinkedIn and the great career opportunities it offers?

showing What is linkedin in an illustration. a girl sits on a hashtag sign and working with linkedin

Image credit: Image by storyset


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ECN Team
E-Commerce Nation is The 1st B2B Web Media about E-Commerce in Europe. The team of E-Commerce Explorers help businesses to reach new potential market through delivering useful content. Let us know in comment if you enjoyed this content.