How to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn
Making Connections and Capturing Opportunities on the World's #1 Business Networking Site
Authors: Eric Butow, Kathleen Taylor
Pub Date: August 2008
Your Price: $19.95
Page Count: 256
Format: Paper or Softback
Chapter 1: About LinkedIn and Using It to Your Advantage
You may have heard about “social networking” sites on the Web. If you view a list of social networking sites on Wikipedia, a popular reference Web site, the page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites) contains links to more than 100 networking sites available from around the world for every taste from general sites, including the very popular MySpace and Facebook, to sites focusing on different topics such as photo sharing, wine, and music. LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) is a Web site designed to connect business professionals together to share information, get answers, and promote themselves and their businesses.
Though LinkedIn was founded in 2003, LinkedIn has only experienced explosive growth since 2006. For example, according to Nielsen Online rankings from October 2007 (http://www.webpronews.com/blogtalk/2007/11/19/linkedin-growing-more-quickly-than-facebook), LinkedIn subscribers jumped from more than 1.7 million users to more than 4.9 million users, a jump of more than 189 percent, between October 2006 and October 2007. In terms of percentage growth, that made LinkedIn the fastest growing top 10 social networking site, beating the growth even of Facebook and MySpace. What makes LinkedIn so popular?
LinkedIn is designed for business professionals and business owners instead of for the general public. You establish yourself on LinkedIn by creating a profile that summarizes your professional and/or business accomplishments. Without a profile you can’t link to anyone else in LinkedIn and no other LinkedIn users can learn more about you. Therefore, creating a profile is one of the first tasks you need to complete. For example, when I joined LinkedIn I set up a profile for my business and linked to several colleagues.
Penelope Trunk, a syndicated career columnist for the Boston Globe who uses LinkedIn extensively to network with others, pointed out in her April 24, 2007, blog entry about ten ways journalists can use LinkedIn (http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2007/04/24/ten-ways-journalists-can-use-linkedin/), the text that you include in your profile is searchable so if you’re looking for work in a particular area such as telecommunications, then be sure to add this information in your profile. You’ll learn more about creating your profile in Chapter 3.
Grow Your Network Fast
When I joined LinkedIn, some colleagues asked to link with me and I asked to link with some of them. By degrees I expanded my link network to hundreds of LinkedIn members because my 14 linked members have links to hundreds of other connections. And those hundreds of connections have thousands more connections. In a very short time you’ll have more connections than you ever thought possible. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes it easy to search for other LinkedIn members who share your interests, including the company you work for (or people you worked with at a company sometime in the hazy past) and people you went to school with (in the even more hazier past).
Guy Kawasaki, former Apple evangelist, managing director of the venture capital firm Garage Technology Ventures, author, and LinkedIn user, noted in his January 4, 2007 that if you make your profile available to everyone and customize your public profile URL (also known as a Web site address) to be your actual name, you make your profile information easier for search engines to index. This is especially true when people use Google to search for you because your site will have a higher Google PageRank, and so your profile will come up more quickly in search results when people search for your name, thus giving you more opportunities for people to network with you.
You’ll learn more about customizing your profile name in Chapter 3, searching for people in Chapter 4, and adding new contacts in Chapter 5. As you connect with people, you’ll also learn more about the appropriate methods for introducing yourself to other LinkedIn members in Chapter 10. If you’re trying to reach someone on LinkedIn but can’t get through, you’ll learn about managing non-responders in Chapter 11.
Get a Job, Man!
When a friend of mine told me recently that he was looking for a job, one of the first things I told him was to sign on LinkedIn and let me know when he logged on so I could not only link to his site but also write a recommendation for him. When you write recommendations for another user, that recommendation appears in the user’s profile so others can read about the greatness of your contact. Not only are other LinkedIn users searching for fellow users with similar interests, but recruiters and business owners also use LinkedIn to find great employees by posting job listings. And your LinkedIn home page will show you who people in your network are hiring.
LinkedIn is not only a good way to check to see who’s hiring, but as Guy Kawasaki notes in his January 4, 2007, blog it’s also a good way to perform “reverse” checks on your prospective manager as well as the company you’re thinking of working for. You also can use LinkedIn to see who has worked at the company previously, get feedback from those people, and find out about the current rate of turnover at that company.
You’ll learn more about finding and recruiting for jobs in Chapter 6 and about placing references on your LinkedIn profile in Chapter 8.
Give and Get Inside Information
LinkedIn also is a great place for members to collaborate with one another. You can ask questions of people only in your network or you can expand your quest for knowledge in LinkedIn Answers, which is a section for asking and answering questions. You can ask a question in as many as 16 different forums, from issues about business administration to using LinkedIn. You also can participate in discussions and answer questions from other users.
What’s more, as Penelope Trunk notes in her April 24, 2007, blog, you can get ideas for topics and trends in the industry you’re in. For example, she notes that if you look for information about the iPhone, you will get some of the buzz about the product from other LinkedIn users. If you’re looking to work or start a business in a particular industry, Guy Kawasaki’s January 4, 2007, blog points out that you can use LinkedIn to find out who worked for your competitors and see who’s starting up businesses in the same industry.
The more questions you answer, the more you’ll be recognized as an expert in the LinkedIn community, and that leads to more opportunities for you. You’ll learn more about searching for answers, answering questions, and raising your profile in Chapter 9.
Compare and Contrast
LinkedIn is not the only business networking site around, but it’s become the most popular because it’s easy to use and it’s free. Like many sites that offer free services, LinkedIn relies on advertising revenue to help pay the bills and employee salaries. You’ll see these advertisements in many places on the LinkedIn site from companies that are targeting professionals like you.
And like many free service Web sites, there is a catch: The free service LinkedIn provides only gives you so much. The LinkedIn free service provides a network of unlimited size but a limited number of introductions to other members. LinkedIn offers (at least as of the time of this writing) four “premium” plans that give you more powerful communication and search tools as well as enhanced access so you can hone in on the people and resources you need. These plan prices range from the Personal Plus plan that costs $60 per year to the full-blown Pro account that costs $200 per month or $2,000 per year. As the trite commercial says, your mileage may vary, so view the LinkedIn Premium Accounts page at http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=customer_service_premium to view the latest plans and decide which one (if any) is right for you.
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