I wrote this post for Women in Biz Network. I have been trying to cover the various platforms and aspects of social media……
When I first signed up with Linkedin, I felt very stupid and very unworthy. Here am I, a mere blogger with a pathetic resume….a resume that I really did NOT enjoy inputting into my Linkedin profile…put it all out there for people toSEE. People who I thought I really should be trying to impress. Needless to say, I did not do much with my Linkedin profile and it took me a while to see the benefits and best uses for the network.
Why the fear? Linkedin is set up so you really do have to ASK to be connected to someone. You can’t “connect” with someone you don’t know. You HAVE to be introduced. As soon as you click on that ‘I don’t know’ button, you are asked for an email – if you don’t know the person – how do you know their email? This drives me nuts. For me, and many others, it kills the whole point of the network. You can ‘INMAIL’ someone to ask to connect, but that service will cost you extra, and when starting out on networks, the majority of us prefer not paying until we know we like a network. The having to know a person or having to be introduced via someone else you do know on Linkedin can defeat the whole purpose of business focused networking.
Suffice it to say, it takes a bit more finesse in building up your connections on Linkedin. I used my Facebook and Twitter connections to build out Linkedin. I focused on mostly local people who were involved in areas that I was interested in career wise. My ‘in real life’ networking group made this job far easier. Connecting with someone you have met at an event is like getting that golden ticket for Linkedin connection building.
What I have learned is that business focused networking is different from social networking. Social networking can be used for business, but Linkedin works best when kept purely as a BUSINESS networking tool, in my opinion anyway. Thus, I do not have my twitter stream on Linkedin. This was trial and error for me. I had to grow into the services available on Linkedin. The more I was focused on career and networking building the better and more useful I have found it.
I have not been offered my dream job as of yet via Linkedin. I do love their job boards. Linkedin has helped me rethink and rejig my resume and reading other profiles gives me a great help in seeing how to market myself, my business and my skills. My profile is something that I am constantly tweaking. Getting to see how someone who IS in a position you crave or admire presents themselves online is a great teaching tool.
Another great feature is their groups. There are groups and lively discussions on almost any topic you can think about. It pays to be a part of these discussions as this is precisely what builds those connections and enables you to find more people. I have met potential speakers and people willing to share their knowledge on various topics I was interested in. Networking equals knowledge. Knowledge equals opportunities.
Their events page came in handy and for me really showed the power of the platform. That and their ad network, however the ads can be pricey. I posted the Women in Biz Vancouver event there and I did receive a fair bit of interest. It definitely helped open up my marketing to a wider audience that was not just my own networking circle.
The more focused you are on your business and business networking, the better a social media tool Linkedin can be. It is not another Twitter or Facebook. While potential employers can find you anywhere online, the first thing they probably will look at is your Linked in profile. Make sure that it projects the right image that you want to project to them. Think about that when you are posting, think about that when you want to connect your Twitter stream or blog posts. Do your personal blogs or tweets belong on your professional profile? Do they match your professional image? Linkedin takes a bit more care and upkeep than other social platforms. I find it is best to treat it like business and the rest as fun. Linkedin is work. Twitter is afterwork with your coworkers for drinks.