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LinkedIn – an example of how it can work for anyone

June 21, 2010

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I have had several people ask me recently what LinkedIn is for? “I have my profile on LinkedIn, what should I do with it”? they ask.

It’s a fair enough question if you are new to LinkedIn, don’t have a lot of time to spend on it or not really sure how to engage within it. It’s very obvious if you are in sales or recruiting that LinkedIn is a great tool for finding connections, building networks and increasing your scope for potential business. But what if you’re not directly involved in business development? What’s the return?

I think the great leap here for many people is the “engagement” and I would like to share a really straight forward success story that came as a result of simply answering a question.

The trick on LinkedIn is to put some time aside (or budget for some training) to dive in and have a look at all the various methods of engagement within the application. There are many and I have listed just a few as follows:

  • Events – you can publish your events, invite people to attend and see who is attending and who is interested in attending. We have definitely increased our event attendance using this function.
  • Groups – you can create your own group around your specialty area, invite people to join, create discussions within that group and post news to the group. For example, my group is “Social Media Policies in the Workplace” and I use it to engage with people interested in social media policies.
  • Questions and Answers – you can ask questions about just about anything and aswer questions on subjects of your expertise. This is such a great knowledge sharing opportunity and a great way to show off any expertise you may have. It’s also a great opening engagement – if you answer a question a potential client can get a real sense of the type of person you are and how you may further assist them.

You can also run polls, publish your blog automatically and put up slideshare presentations to name just a few more ways of getting involved. And now I hear the cries “but it all takes so much time”! Like anything new, it takes time to find your way around and learn how to use the application but here’s how I manage the time investment. I schedule time for LinkedIn among many of my other scheduled events. I have worked out that I really only need to look at the Q&A section once a week; there aren’t that many questions on social media policy and if do a 30 second search once a week I find all the latest questions and I spend 10 to 30 minutes answering them.

Here’s why; I answered a question on social media policies and much of my response got published , and attributed, by Inc.; to date this article has been re-tweeted 440 times. The article has links to my company website and my blog as well as several references to me personally.

Powerful stuff indeed.

I’d love to hear any other success stories from LinkedIn – please share your expertise!

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