Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 20, 2010
I’m two days away from my social media workshop, and I’m spending this week talking about social media aspects. Instead of linking to my sticky post about the workshop, I’ll link to yesterday’s post where I asked how social are you ready for.
Today I’d like to talk a bit about LinkedIn. I realized in looking back that I’ve never talked about it all that much before, and I think it’s time to rectify that one. After all, I’m of the opinion that if you’re either someone who works for themselves, are looking for work, or already are working and hope to work for some time to come, that it’s essential for you to be on LinkedIn.
Why? Because LinkedIn is the place where true connections can be made with business people from around the world. It’s another opportunity to post something about your business, about your background, no matter what you do. It’s another opportunity for both advertising and networking. It’s another opportunity to talk to business people about topics local and international, talk to people within your industry or people who shares the same interests as you just like direct networking.
It didn’t use to be like that. In the beginning, it was just a place to try to get business links, but it wasn’t overly friendly an application. So I connected to a few people; then what? Then they added things like groups and applications and suddenly it was a more vibrant place.
For instance, something I do at least once a week, if not more often, is to go on LinkedIn and, in the area where I have 120 characters, mention something I’m doing or did earlier in the day. Those messages get out to people who either check in on you from time to time, or through the weekly email that goes out to every person on LinkedIn, but most specifically the people who you’re connected with have the opportunity to see what it is you’re doing. I also belong to a few groups, one for my local chamber of commerce, a couple for consultants in general, and the others having something to do with some of the business ventures I presently do. I have the opportunity to comment on what others have written, as well as create my own topics of discussion.
The best thing, though, are the connections. You can find local people you know and if you know their email address you can connect directly to them if they approve. If you don’t know their email addresses, or those of other people you might seek out for whatever reason, you see people in your network who might be connected to those people, and you can ask for an introduction, of sorts. For instance, according to the site, I have 237 direct connections, which means I have almost 22,000 people I can connect to in within reach via one person, and just under 7.5 million people I could potentially connect with if I branched out to try to meet more people. That’s phenomenal!
The other side of that, however, is that you need balance. That seems to be a theme of mine lately, so let me explain. One, you really only want to connect with people who you either know or who are in industries you’re in; at least initially. That’s because those are the people who will do you the most good. Trying to connect to everyone “just because” not only wastes your time, but if people you try to connect to visit your site and don’t see you connected to enough people who could potentially benefit them later on, they’re going to ignore your request. Like networking in person, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
And two, even though you can do some minor advertising, you have to watch that you don’t go to far. Not only will people on this site object to being sold to, and trust me they will call you out (I haven’t been called out because I know the game, but others have been lambasted and reported for doing it), but you can get kicked out by LinkedIn for doing it. Since this is business and not pleasure, and it’s the best one around, you don’t want that occurring either.
Of course there are other sites which say they’re all about business, and they probably are, but if you remember yesterday’s post (did you follow the link?), to be effective you shouldn’t overdo it because there’s just not enough time to do it all. Of course, if you’re on LinkedIn, you can hook up with me there; just let me know how I know you if we don’t know each other all that well.
No matter what, if you work in some capacity, you need to be on LinkedIn.