It is free to create a basic LinkedIn account, but there is also a paid feature that you pay for per month. The premium memberships have a few features that are added to what a free account already provides Depending on what you're using the site for, these features may be a useful part of your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
What You Get with a Paid Membership
With a basic membership you can only send messages to people you know. If you want to contact someone outside of your connections, you have to pay to use InMail. This is LinkedIn's built-in email platform. Each level of paid membership gives you a set amount of InMails per month and it's a bargain compared to buying each one separately.
Profile Organizer is a premium feature that lets you save and manage profiles. You can organize them into folders, add details and notes of your own, and track the changes they make. This feature is useful for sale people when you are interacting with several new prospects. You will be able to make notes as you communicate to allow you to better track your conversation and their activities.
Basic membership gives you a set limit of how many profiles you can view. Paid memberships lift the limit so that you can really take advantage of the site's Advanced Search function.
You can also find out more about who is looking at your profile. Basic membership lets you do this but the information you get is limited. When you upgrade, you can see more of their profile information. You also get access to stats that tell you how many searches you're appearing in and for what keywords. This feature can be useful if you are intending to follow up on prospects who have recently visited your profile. A good strategy is to send a message, just saying hello, and mentioning you know they looked at your profile recently. You can often get a conversation going with someone who has interest in your products or services.
How to Upgrade
LinkedIn gives you several upgrading options and it can be a little bit confusing. There are four different types of membership accounts. Each has three levels that offer progressively more features (more searches per month, more InMails, etc.).
There are membership accounts for:
Businesses – Business, Business Plus, and Executive.
Recruiters – Talent Basic, Talent Finder, and Talent Pro
Job seekers – Job Seeker Basic, Job Seeker, and Job Seeker Plus
Sales professionals – Sales Basic, Sales Navigator, and Sales Executive.
Each has its own added features custom-tailored to the account type. For example, membership accounts for recruiters allow them to search for applicants with specific profile information. Likewise, job seekers can use advanced filters to refine their job searches. The plans for job seekers offer a guaranteed response for your InMails. This means that if you don't get a response, it won't count as an InMail used.
An upgraded LinkedIn membership may sound nice, but don't upgrade unless you feel that you really will take advantage of some of the features. If you're new to the site or you haven't used it much, use the free profile and explore. See all that it has to offer. Wait until you're actively using it and feel that you need more before you upgrade. If you use LinkedIn first, you'll have a better idea of exactly what you need from the membership features.