Linkedin – a must for founders? Apparently. The search for founders who are not part of the career network turns out to be difficult – also because they are not on LinkedIn.
A look at your own feed reveals how differently the medium is used: from weekly updates such as the one from Planetly founder Anna Alex to the exclusive use of the automatically generated congratulations in the comment function.
The platform is as diverse as those who use it. “Gründerszene” asked a few founders which group of LinkedIn users they belong to.
“I’m a total Linkedin fan”
After her time as a civil servant, Lisa Bräutigam not only discovered founding for herself, but also the career network Linkedin, which she actively uses for herself – that is, she regularly writes articles, answers questions and comments. All of this to maintain and expand your network.
“I’m a total LinkedIn fan,” says the co-founder of the start-up Nuwo, which equips employees in the home office with ergonomic furniture. “There is hardly anyone who cannot be found on the platform”.
With her contributions she wants to create added value for others. “The interest of the readers of my posts has also had an impact on Nuwo’s business,” says the founder. According to this, the start-up’s website will have more visitors in the days after that.
But that’s not the only reason why she likes to be on LinkedIn so much. “As a founder, I can use the platform to get to know other female founders and support them”. For example by telling how she switched from civil servants to the start-up scene.
She not only receives messages from inspired readers. Every day, she says, she receives e-mails in her inbox that sell her something. She thinks cold calling is a nuisance, as well as too mundane posts in her feed. For example, when someone posts a picture from their vacation. Bridegroom believes that such content does not belong on the platform.
“More being than appearance is important”
Madjid Salami is someone who prefers to talk to people in person than over the internet. Nevertheless, he has a LinkedIn profile, through whose feed he likes to scroll once on the go – but nothing more.
In general, the “business context” of the platform appeals to him very much. It is exciting to see what other companies are up to, says Salimi. And so he would like to get more involved and write his own contributions, but he has not had the time so far.
“I have to take more time in the future,” says the founder. So that he doesn’t post banal content, as he feels it often happens: “Some posts seem very created to attract attention,” says Salimi. For his contributions, he wants to do more than just string together empty phrases. “It is important to me that it is more being than appearance”.
This is also how his company Amboss, a platform for medical professionals, should be perceived. The company is expanding and is looking for employees. LinkedIn is well suited for this, according to the founder of the start-up, which is increasingly relying on the career network in the area of recruiting.
So he wanted to ramp up his LinkedIn activity as a whole – but just being on the web is not exactly his nature, according to the founder. Salimi still prefers to talk on the phone or meet in person.
“I just didn’t have the time”
Patrick Jonas prefers to spend his time in the forest than on the web. And this is how the passionate hunter has done it so far: “I haven’t gotten around to creating an account on LinkedIn”.
He has been asked about this on several occasions. “I just didn’t have the time”. The platform is currently not that important for the sale of his luxury hunter’s stands.
So far, the hunter has been able to sell his high seats well through word of mouth. But that doesn’t mean that Jonas wants to stay away from the platform in the future, on the contrary: He still wants to register in order to address particularly young hunters.
“Today they are on the go with full throttle on social media,” explains Jonas. He doesn’t want to leave them out. It is important to him, however, to separate his engagement on the platform with private matters. “Everything I do on social media is professional.”
“Everyone is annoyed by the platform”
Clemens Walter prefers to work with his start-up Watchbooks than with the LinkedIn platform. Because: Every week around 15 to 20 people write to him who want to sell him something. “That annoys me a lot and that’s why I hardly use it”.
The founder of the streaming platform for non-fiction books therefore looks into it once a week. “Linkedin is a pure waste of time”. That also has to do with the poor quality of the articles published there, so Walter.
“I don’t pay any money for tips on how to make your morning even more effective or how to integrate more meditation into your everyday life.”
He is not alone with the thought. “Regardless of which entrepreneurs I speak to from my network – everyone is annoyed by the platform”. The only reason why he still has an account is to keep in touch with his friends, whom he also knows personally.
For the success of his company, LinkedIn does not need, on the contrary: “We reach all customers we address in the classic way via cold calling”. But that doesn’t work via LinkedIn, because: “Messages are clicked away, I’m the best example of this,” says Walter.
Do founders have to be on LinkedIn?
As far as opinions differ as to whether you have to show yourself on LinkedIn through regular posts, most seem to agree: LinkedIn plays an important role in maintaining your own network. Not least because the career network is also used by potential investors, as Nuwo founder Bräutigam emphasizes.
And Xing? The German-speaking counterpart to the US company Linkedin still has 19 million users in the DACH region, while Linkedin only has 16 million users. Both platforms see themselves as professional networks, but the biggest difference lies in the composition of the members. While the subsidiary of the media company Burda concentrates exclusively on the German-speaking area, LinkedIn members come from all over the world.
A total of around 760 million are currently registered on the US company’s platform. Linkedin was founded in 2002 in Mountain View, California and has been part of Microsoft since 2016. At the end of 2019, the company grew by 14 percent – and overtook the ten percent growth of its German competitor Xing.
Experts predict that LinkedIn will grow faster in the future and will overtake its German counterpart in its home market.