Friday, August 14, 2009

To LinkedIn or Not To LinkedIn

Recently I took two classes on the advantages of using LinkedIn. To tell you the truth I had never even heard of LinkedIn until a couple of weeks ago. I took a quick look at it and thought that it probably wasn't going to be for me. It looked like a site for people looking for a job - it reminded me of a resume'. I didn't consider myself to be actively looking for a job. I have to admit though that my two instructors have opened my eyes to the possibilities of LinkedIn.

The first class was taught by Barbara Giamanco, . Barbara is a Sales & Social Media Builder and she outlined 4 main reasons to use LinkedIn.

  1. Control your professional brand - you control what people see on your profile.
  2. Network and reconnect - connect with past colleagues and classmates. Those people all have other connections which could expand your network as well.
  3. Share your knowledge and expertise - ask your network and experts worldwide questions and/or answer question .
  4. Receive opportunities - whether that be a job with the company of your dreams or a consulting gig or even joint ventures.
She went on to explain that having a LinkedIn profile gives you great visibility through search engines. LinkedIn along with other well known sites such as Twitter & Facebook are well trusted by search engines so when you post information to them and someone searches for that information it is ranked very high on the list.

The second class was an advanced strategies class taught by Raymond "Chip" Lambert, . Another very informative class but this one focused more on the business development side of LinkedIn. How to use it to promote (brand) yourself and your business. I was very impressed with Chips knowledge and methods. He spoke extensively on knowing your:

  1. Goals - specifics example he gave 100 teleconferences in 100 days - that specific!
  2. Perfect Client - specific characteristics - monetary, geographical, age, gender!
  3. Sales & Marketing, Business Development - what works for your business. Speaking engagements, joint ventures, referral partners, etc.

At this time LinkedIn has over 40 million members so I thought I would put it to the test. I started my profile, To be honest it took me a few days to get it done but that is because I only had small bits of time each day. Actually LinkedIn is telling me I am only 85% done with my profile but for now it is close enough. It is quite comprehensive but once I got to a point where I felt like I was comfortable with my details I was off and looking for connections. This was actually the fun part. I started finding people from my past employment as well as people from my address book. I was actually quite surprised at how many people I knew that were on LinkedIn. If you are reading this and on LinkedIn I would love to connect with you. At this moment I only have 10 contacts but those 10 people are connected to an additional 7,000 people. Then those 7,000 people are connected to an additional 925,000 which means that through a few introductions I could quickly expand my network. Thus the reason to use LinkedIn - It's not who you know, It's who they know and are willing to introduce you to.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michele,

    Congratulations on getting started with LinkedIn. It is THE one professional networking tool I cannot live without. As you continue to grow your network, you'll be amazed at the access to information and opportunities that await you. At this writing, I'm at 650 connections giving me access - in my network - to just over 5M people. Amazing how it works.

    Thanks for sharing your story and mentioning me in your post:)

    BTW - your LinkedIn profile will be considered complete when you've secured at least 3 recommendations.