Recent reports have indicated that LinkedIn is not the most widely used social media network, but it spite of that, it has consistently been a part of the professional branding experience. Let me explain what I mean. In a recent study, it was found that the average time spent on LinkedIn per month is 21 minutes. That’s not a lot of time over the course of the month, but when you consider some of the loveable things about LinkedIn, it’s easy to see why less time doesn’t mean less quality, and it’s widely touted as the most “elite” of the social media platforms… (If you’re just getting started with LinkedIn, you’ll benefit from our free “Quickstart White Paper” which you can download here.)
1. Search/Research Features – The LinkedIn Search feature is by far, my favorite feature. The ways to search LinkedIn for information are endless. Because all of the data that users enter is entered into a platform designed around key terms, the entire data base is highly searchable. All that you need to do is come up with a variety of ways to do your research. Events, companies, people, jobs, skills, cities, etc – all are search terms that you can use to connect with others or use to do market research. This is why LinkedIn is “the source” of information for recruiters and HR departments!
TIP: When you do a search, experiment with a variety of search terms. For instance, if you were searching “Social Media” on LinkedIn, you can search by People first, then by Company, then by Skills, and you can even move over to the “More” section, (see image below) and search by Events. Each search will give you different results. By using a combination of searches, you’re much more likely to find the highly targeted information that you need!
2. Networking/Answers – This is a feature I’ve mentioned before, but suffice it to say that it remains right up there at the top of things that I love about LinkedIn. There is no better way to meet new people than by helping to solve their challenges. Providing valuable information to others, without obligation, is a huge piece of creating a business brand and reputation for value-driven integrity. Take a look at what folks have been asking and answering before you jump in, but you’ll quickly see the power of this feature if you use it!
TIP: Don’t use this feature to promote yourself! Solve problems for others – give “Answers” that will help. Then, if you develop a good rapport with someone through that exchange, you can connect via LinkedIn and include them in any offerings you have, but be sincere here – it’s not a backdoor into a sales pitch. It’s about making new connections that matter…
3. “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” – Let’s face it – a part of using social media is about “stalking” and I mean that in the good way. We all use social media to search out new business opportunities, but with LinkedIn, you can actually see who has been “stalking” you. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t use that term, but you are given insight into who’s interested enough to be looking you up on LinkedIn – even with the free accounts. Just click on the window from your home screen, and you’ll be able to “peek behind the curtain.” Pro accounts have more information, but knowing who is looking you up might give you some indication of how well you have written your own key information. If you’re getting picked up by the right audience, then it’s working for you. However, you may want to adjust some of the information in your Summary and Skills sections if you aren’t getting looked at by the folks with the greatest resonance with your business or niche.
TIP: This works both ways! Everyone who you “stalk” can see you, too! So as you do your searches and research, just remember that everything you do is visible on LinkedIn. (Wait, doesn’t that sound like our motto… “Everything you tweet, post, say or do online, speaks to who you are as a person and a person in business.”)
Do you have other favorite LinkedIn features?
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