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What is LinkedIn?

Posted: November 4th, 2009 in People

linkedin

Well, as LinkedIn say on their web-site…

“LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 40 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.”

So that’s the marketing spin, why is it useful for me as a business?

“LinkedIn gives you the keys to controlling your online identity. Have you Googled yourself lately? You never know what may come up. LinkedIn profiles rise to the top of search results, letting you control the first impression people get when searching for you online.”

Think about this, it could have profound implications for your organisation, your reputation, your brand and how people perceive you, just looking at my LinkedIn profile you can see the company I work for, the size of my company and all the connections who have joined up (or who haven’t joined up).  You can see what we define our company as and our mission statement.  Also I have access to 11,600+ people who are 2 degrees away (Friends of friends; each connected to one of your connections). They can all see my profile, and my status updates.

If you have a company and there are 20 employees with 11,600 connections each viewing your companies profile and your employees profile this suddenly becomes a massive audience that possibly interacts with you and your employees messages on a regular basis – shouldn’t your brand be represented in the correct way, maybe you should think about having a company policy for this; shouldn’t you all be putting a similar thing & working to the same goals, ensuring that you have a positive vibrant image?

More and more it’s the first port of call for new employees to check out a potential new work place and I know that I always check it out before I go to a new business meeting. Its use in the States is much more prevalent, where its used as a contacts database as well as a social media platform. If you go to a meeting it’s likely that you will receive a request from someone to connect.

Actions

Anyway rather than droning on about the virtues of Linked in and how to use it (as it’s been done a million times before and readily available online) I thought I’d empower you to go find out yourself!

Heres your action list let me know if you have any questions:

  • Sign up create a profile for you and your company. Hone your profile – a professional looking photograph and include keywords in your summary / specialities (keep an eye on the Completeness bar)
  • See what other employees, friends and colleagues you can connect to
  • Try to get all your company to join the correct company profile (trust me this isn’t easy)
  • Join relevant groups and join in relevant conversations
  • Post the occasional company (or personal) success story in your status – remember be positive, there is nothing worse than seeing “had terrible day, wish I was at home” messages and don’t overdo it!
  • Seek recommendations – in the virtual world it is essential to establish credibility and trust. Use the Ask to be Endorsed button. And remember, sometimes you to have to give to receive …
  • Customize your URL – like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/benmhall
  • Communicate with your connections – you can send email via LinkedIn’s built-in system to 50 people at a time – but don’t spam; the more distant your connections, the more likely they will react badly to unsolicited messages
  • Add the SlideShare application to share presentations, showcasing your knowledge and expertise (Google Presentations accomplishes the same thing)
  • Create polls – ask one question and display up to five multiple choice answers for your audience to vote on. Your audience can be your 1st degree connections (free) .