Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog written by Jon Moss. Jon and I first connected on twitter and then “IRL” while having coffee at Social Slam 2011. We re-connected after his excellent LinkedIn presentation at Social Slam 2012.
“Are you IN?” That was the question I asked attendees at Social Slam 2012. While a lot of people who embrace social media as a means of marketing may be on LinkedIn – meaning they have a profile – the percentage of those who actually dive in and use the myriad of features it offers is far less.
One of the misconceptions about LinkedIn is it’s for finding a job, or posting a resume or profile. While it does offer robust features to accomplish all that, it is so much more. Let’s take a look at some of what it can do for you.
1. SEO-ize Yourself
Back when I was learning of the importance of ranking high in Google searches I realized I had a problem. When searching my name pictures of Boy George always came up on page one. Turned out we had something in common. The drummer for Culture Club (Boy George’s boyfriend at the time), and I shared the same name.
One had to go several pages deep into Google before anything related to me came up. Not good. What was good for me was that LinkedIn profiles rank very high in search. Thank you LinkedIn for putting me back on page one of Google! To borrow from a Culture Club song, “I’ll tumble for ya, LinkedIn”
2. See Who’s Checking You Out
LinkedIn has a cool feature that allows you to see who’s recently looked at your profile. Sure it may seem creepy, but it’s so cool when thinking about what you can do with that information. Imagine you’ve been trying to get in the door with a certain company only to find out they’re checking you out. How about you sent your resume off to a recruiter and now they’re reviewing your profile. A well thought out email or phone call while you’re fresh in their mind could do the trick.
Just keep in mind this works in reverse too. People can see when you’ve been looking at their profiles so be careful when stalking your competition! There are ways to go around this though. You can disable the feature in settings, but you lose the ability to see who’s looking at you. For now, when you browse people from the smartphone app, LinkedIn does not register that you’ve looked at their profile.
3. Signal & LinkedIn Today
Get news on your sector aggregated by your industry connections. It’s like an online industry publication crowd sourced by your peers. Keep tabs on people in your network. Reach out to them when appropriate. If information is power, then this is your source.
Places for like minded professionals to hang out. Most flock to groups geared towards their industry, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Go deeper by diving into groups where your customers hang out. If you sell insurance to doctors how many leads do you think are waiting for you in the “Underwriters of America” group? Got the point? Now get yourself into the groups where they hang, but don’t jump in and start selling. Restrain yourself young salesbuck. Get a feel for the group. Respond to questions by others when you have something of value to add.
Groups can be industry specific, geographic in nature, or centered around activities. Whether avocation or hobby, find the ones where the people you want to meet are in. If you can’t find a group that tailors to a specific group, go ahead and create it yourself. As a group administrator you’ll be in a better position to connect with members.
5. Company Profile
You have a profile on LinkedIn, and your company can have one too. Like Facebook Pages, an LI company profile lets you post products and services, have customers provide reviews/ratings and make recommendations. It’s a great space to claim. People are researching companies just like they are people on LinkedIn nowadays.
6. Pimp Your Blog
Want more exposure for your blog? Pin it on your LinkedIn profile. Imagine all that good stuff you’re writing being seen by everyone checking you out LinkedIn. A prospect quickly comes to realize you’re the expert they’ve been looking for. Your future employer see you’ve got a knack for writing. A competitor realizes they can no longer compete with you and throws in the towel. You are still blogging, right?
7. Add Video
If only you could add video to your LinkedIn profile, then you could show everyone how awesome you really are. Wait, you can. The technology is available. Queue theme from The Six Million Dollar Man. It just takes adding the Slideshare application and embedding a YouTube video. You do have a YouTube channel, no?
This could very well be the most overlooked feature on LinkedIn. Imagine a place where you can have your questions answered by professionals anxious to display their depth of knowledge. Why pay $300 an hour for legal advice when you can get it for free on LinkedIn?
We’re not talking random generic answers, rather insightful thought out responses to your questions. LinkedIn Answers ingeniously allows professionals to ask and answer questions on a wide variety of topics. I know what you’re thinking. Why would someone bend over backwards to give “free” advice to someone they’ve never met before?
When you provide an answer, the “asker” of the question gets to pick who they felt gave the best answer. LinkedIn, in return, awards a “star” to the “askee” for providing the best answer. Earn enough stars and you show up as an expert in that particular topic.
I can personally attest to the power of having lots of stars having picked up new clients by demonstrating expertise, having my competition actually recommending me, and receiving phone calls from national publications wanting to interview me all because of the answers I gave to questions on LinkedIn.
9. Don’t Cross The Streams
On the surface it seemed like a good idea. Connect your Facebook to Twitter and LinkedIn, post to one and you’re done. Right? Wrong! Don’t do it. LinkedIn is the only platform that’s strictly business. Leave the puppies, the Instagrams of your lunch and everything else you wouldn’t share in person with your employer, client or prospect at the door. Muddy your LI status with hashtags and Foursquare checkins and risk losing relevance. If you don’t believe me, listen to these experts.
10. Go Mobile
LinkedIn’s iOS apps are amazing. With calendar integration the iPad app could become the killer app from which to run one’s schedule. If you’re in sales or run a business, chances are you’re not chained to desk. Packed full of features, the LI mobile apps let you carry your network on the go. Lose the Rolodex, and get down to business with real information at your fingertips. Anywhere. Anytime.
It’s amazing when I think back years ago when my company paid thousands of dollars to Dun & Bradstreet and Hoovers for access to business information and personnel. A lot of it is now available for free thanks to LinkedIn. Gold awaits those who seek it. Are you ready to go mining?
So there you have it. Some features of LinkedIn you may have missed. It’s not just the oldest social networking platform, it’s the most powerful in terms of business and professional networking — for those wanting to get down to business.
Here’s video of the presentation and slideshow I did at Social Slam – http://mmlabs.biz/2012/05/talking-linkedin-at-social-slam-2012/