It’s been a while since my last post. Alas, summertime and all that comes with it. Today’s Labor Day, the not-so-official end of Summer. Now it’s nose to the grindstone and back in the saddle with today’s topic – LinkedIn.
Most of you, if not all, are aware of that LinkedIn is a business social networking site. From their About Us page:
“LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals.”
Think of it as Facebook in a well-tailored pinstriped suit.
Here are a few fun facts to know and tell:
- LinkedIn has over 46 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
- A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S.
- Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.
Similar to other social media & networking sites, you start by creating a profile. This should include your current and past positions, education and a summary blurb. It’s a good idea to include a mug shot that displays your shining countenance. It’s helps to humanize this digital stuff.
LinkedIn is all about relationships. You probably have a few of those already. The site makes it easy to import your contacts from Outlook, Palm, ACT! or Mac’s Address Book. Plus, you can import your webmail contacts from Google’s Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, .Mac and a slew of others. LinkedIn will let you know which of your contacts are members. Odds are many will be. You can send out an invitation to connect via LinkedIn for those that aren’t already on the site.
So, now you’ve got perky profile and the start of network. What do you do now? There are a lot of options. You might consider some of the following:
- Find and be introduced to potential clients, service providers, and subject experts who come recommended by folks in your network
- Be found for business opportunities and find potential partners
- Join in discussions with like-minded professionals in private group settings
- Find inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals
- Post and distribute job listings to find the best talent for your company
- Post news releases and articles
- Ask questions and get valuable answers and insights
- Answer questions posed by members to demonstrate your smarts about various topics
- Feed your blog into LinkedIn
- Tap into the many third party applications like Box.net for collaboration, Slideshare, Google Presentations and Amazon Reading List
Check out the their Learning Center and you’ll find more ways to leverage LinkedIn. Plus, LinkedIn offers several User Guides to help jump start your virtual networking efforts. In addition to the New User Guide, they also offer specialized guides for:
- Job Seekers
- Business Development
- Venture Capital
And there you have it. At the end of the day, LinkedIn is yet one more valuable tool in your marketing and promotional toolbox. As you explore the site, you’ll find more to help build quality connections, get your name out and build you business.