Why putting a little extra work into LinkedIn is well worth the effort

I tend to think of LinkedIn as “Facebook for Grownups”. Now I know this isn’t “technically” correct but it’s what springs to mind. For me at least.

Undoubtedly, LinkedIn is an extremely powerful networking and business tool, yet it’s astounding how many LinkedIn rookies there are roaming around social cyber space.

I’m certain a thought running through many people’s minds is Linkedintowhat? Or who? Or How? Maybe this will help.

Unlike Facebook LinkedIn is slightly more awkward to navigate. Although people and brands still have their own pages, my experience is that many people don’t know how to optimise the platform.

Yes they have X number of connections, but they don’t know what to do with those connections or how to use them to their business advantage.

The trick is to connect with the right people. It’s true what they say, it’s not what you know but who you know, and that’s what LinkedIn is all about. Having that one connection with the right influential person can open doors to unimaginable business opportunities.

Ask me, I know. It was thanks to LinkedIn that I connected with someone prominent in my area of expertise and thus the door to my current job was opened. Often it takes a hopeful whim or ‘a stab in the dark’ to make a connection. In good old Jewish terms, one just needs chutzpah.

Don’t just take my word for it — the stats speak for themselves:

The Value of Being LinkedIn
[Source: Online MBA]

What’s crucial to LinkedIn is to identify key people who you think could be valuable to you, or you to them and connect. Once connected, unlike Facebook the newsfeed doesn’t just keep you up to date with the goings-on in their lives, like, dislikes, or new accounts they’re about to sign which could impact your business, or new innovative marketing campaigns they’ve just launched that are about to blow you out of the water.

LinkedIn requires a little more work. Well at least in my opinion. It’s about keeping tabs on people in a professional capacity, following their movements and judging to see whether they may just open an avenue worth pursuing. It’s also about sussing out the contacts of people you are already connected with, and incorporating them into your own network so as to extend your reach.

Where Facebook is based on “personal connections” — and by that I mean accepting a friend generally means you actually know the person in some form of real life capacity (most of the time) –LinkedIn is slightly different. For example, I have many connections on LinkedIn whom I have never met; however, they, or I, have identified one another as useful allies and hence extended the invitation to connect.

People’s profiles are also very different on LinkedIn. A friend on Facebook might update their status with every passing minute of their newly born child’s life, or upload pictures of last Friday night out on the town. LinkedIn is specifically reserved for business related updates, topics and news. You could have the same friend (or connection) on both platforms but get an entirely different perspective of them from looking at their different profiles. Sometimes, one could question whether they are in fact the same person.

I think that’s the danger with Facebook. Today more and more people, brands and companies are turning to Facebook as references before looking to interview, hire or connect with them.

That’s saying something. That’s quite a scary statistic and makes one think twice before pressing update on the status bar — do you really want your future employer to know the things you get up to after hours, that you just broke up with your boyfriend, or that you’ve just achieved a new high score in Farmville?

Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn and the opportunities it could reveal. You’ll just end up kicking yourself in the shin, and that’s really not much fun for anyone, besides the guy who managed to capture it upload it to YouTube and post it on Facebook.

Here’s a helpful inforgraphic to guide you on your way to a successful LinkedIn Strategy

And remember — everything and everyone is Linked. In. one way or another.



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