LinkedIn: Exactly Like Being at a Corporate Party Only Without the Free Wine.
LinkedIn is the world’s biggest professional network with roughly 1 million new members joining every week!
Currently, it boasts over 100 million members and it’s obviously growing strong. LinkedIn connects you to trusted contacts and helps you exchange ideas, knowledge, and opportunities with a wide network of professionals who are just like you.
Where the previous three social media sites we talked about (Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook for those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the rest of the class) are great for promoting your business, connecting to the public, and getting customers through your door, LinkedIn is a little bit different from the rest.
It’s like the biggest corporate party you’ve ever been to, but without the crudités and the open bar. There are lots of folks there who’re looking to connect with other professionals to share ideas, make deals, talk about issues in the industry, gossip about their bosses (what?), and get advice from colleagues.
LinkedIn is cool because you can:
- Stay in touch with colleagues and friends. It also makes staying in touch simple as people change jobs and email addresses, you still have a way to contact them via LinkedIn. That is, if you want to. Some people are clowns and you don’t have to be connected to them unless you’re like, in the circus or whatever.
- By joining groups and participating in discussions, you can tap the minds of experts or share some brilliantness of your own (without a whisper of self-promotion). You can also explore opportunities and issues relevant to your industry—your finger will be on the pulse of what is going on in your field, Right. Now. When joining a group though, be aware that some of them are very selective about whom they let in. Such groups have rejected some of us, but we won’t mention who (her name rhymes with Wristin). It’s okay though because Rhymes with Wristin isn’t bitter at all. Obviously, they could tell Rhymes with Wristin was too awesome for their group, so she found another group who could match her awesomeness with their own. So, it’s their loss.
- Discover inside connections when you’re looking for a job or new opportunity. You can even post a job if you want to.
- Do market research by creating polls and doing surveys. If you’re feeling generous, you can share those results with your contacts.
- Your LinkedIn profile can be tricked out with keywords, so that anyone searching the site for something related to your field will find you. So, for example, if someone searches for “Social Media Maven” and Rhymes with Wristin has created a proper profile, people will find her and hopefully connect with her (if they’re not intimidated by all The Awesome).
- LinkedIn allows you to use widgets to integrate other tools like importing blog entries or Twitter posts into your profile.
- You can research your prospects before meeting them in person so you can impress them with how much you know about them and their company. Or, you can totally freak them out and look like a stalker. There’s a fine line to tread here, obviously.
There’s a whole lot more you can do with LinkedIn, but that should give you enough food for thought for now.
On important thing to remember about LinkedIn is that you can’t dabble or tinker or wait for people to find you and expect to see results. You have to get in there, set up a kick-a** profile, make some great networking connections, and rock it out! It’s not gonna happen unless you make it happen.
In fact, if you don’t put some creativity and thought into what you’re going to do once you’re on LinkedIn, it’s just like clinging to the wall at that corporate party with your free wine and your stuffed mushroom on a little cocktail napkin. Nobody’s gonna hang around with you if they don’t know you’re there. Seriously, you could have just stayed home in your pajamas.
PS: Next week we'll be wrapping up our social Media series with a few tips on how to get started on your social media campaign. It's gonna be epic. The Internet will explode from the force of it's awesomeness. Probably.