One of my favorite shows is 30 Rock – I quote it pretty much constantly – and one of my favorite quotes is when Alec Baldwin’s character references a character from previous seasons with “I found him on LinkedIn, he might as well be dead!”
That quote was looping through my head as I went into a LinkedIn training during a recent New York Press Association convention. I would never have been so bridge and tunnel about it, but the 30 Rock line resonated; isn’t LinkedIn antiquated in the days of social media like Twitter, Facebook and a plethora of sites that allow you to “check-in” no matter where you are? Isn’t LinkedIn, like MySpace, an easy target for such jokes?
To both questions, I can now answer no.
With slightly varying goals, Digital Specialist Tom Caprood and I headed into the training and when the first thing our presenter said was LinkedIn is the social media site to watch in 2011. Well, needless to say it was going to take some convincing for me to buy that.
- LinkedIn has 70 million members in 200 countries worldwide
- The homepage gets 560,000 visits every day
- LinkedIn has 450 million page views a week
- Over 50% of LinkedIn users are decision makers at their company
- 41% of the LinkedIn users have generated business on the site
- 70% of members use LinkedIn to find a job; 85% are using it for recruiting
If you’re anything like me, you created a profile at some point, occasionally update it when something major happens (new association membership, job change, etc) and otherwise – like that piece of exercise equipment that was a well-intentioned purchase – it just collects e-dust.
Clearly that’s not the best use of any technology, but if you feel like you’re at the bottom of the mountain wondering how to get to the top – where the view is clearly much better – here are some tips to get you started.
Unlike other forms of social media, LinkedIn is a professional site and, according to Kinney, it’s completely appropriate to be self-promotional. It’s no surprise that potential employers are not only interested in your resume; they are also increasingly concerned with your digital footprint.
LinkedIn is unique for many in that this site doesn’t invite you to upload photo after photo and let everyone in your professional network know that you are going to the grocery store, or hitting up happy hour for the 300th night in a row; here, your professional feats should be shouted from the top of a mountain (another impetus to get started on the hike).
Getting the most out of the site:
Update: The most basic thing you can do is update – or setup – your profile. Keeping in mind, again, that it’s not your personal Facebook or Twitter account.
Learn: Utilizing your network is key – but they aren’t the only people to whom you have reach. A new feature of LinkedIn is “learn.” Journalists, for example, can go here to get to an advanced people search for potential contacts for a story, add a contact, view answers about recent trending topics or gather background information; similar links are available for students, small businesses, attorneys and job seekers among others.
Today: Without a doubt there are a myriad of news sources out there; LinkedIn Today narrows down the news based on your profile and connections. In their words, Today: “delivers the day’s top news, tailored to you based on what your connections and industry peers are reading and sharing. If you only have five minutes to catch up on news, LinkedIn Today can help you cut through all the clutter, so you can discover the top headlines you need to read to be better informed everyday.”
Answers: None of us have all the answers all the time! Asking a question on LinkedIn is a great way to get help/advice from people you aren’t seeing or speaking to on a day to day basis. But that is a two-way road; if someone in your connection asks a question with which you can help, you should do it. If you belong to groups, you are likely getting emails with questions that have been asked; or, if not, you’re probably getting an email with updates. If you aren’t, I’d recommend changing the setting on your account.
If you’re looking for some more information and tips on how to best utilize the site, the New York Capital Region chapter of the American Marketing Society will host a breakfast roundtable on May 26 at Professor Java’s on Wolf Road in Colonie from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Mark your calendars!
In the coming weeks I’ll be working on my LinkedIn profile and encouraging our staff to do the same, and like so many others, I’m always looking for tips and tricks. Have any to share? Leave a comment here or connect with me on – you guessed it – LinkedIn.