Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to Effectively Use LinkedIn

I'm a big fan of social networking applications.  There are only a select few that I use, but it fascinates me how interconnected we are through the associations we keep. Whether through friends, family, colleagues or people we have randomly met at business and social functions, tools like LinkedIn help us manage those connections.

One of my favorite sites, BNET, has put together an excellent piece on how to use LinkedIn.  If you haven't used LinkedIn as part of your consulting work, now is the time.  Everyone has their reasons as to why they haven't jumped on board the social networking train.  Truth be told, many of those reasons are rooted in myth.  Nevertheless, it's worth a try.  The beauty is you can always quit using it if you find that it is not for you.

As you review BNET's piece on how to use LinkedIn, keep in mind that the network you build is only as good as the people you choose to connect with.  Personally, I have a problem with LinkedIn users who are what I call link collectors.  They comb the web and the LinkedIn directory looking for anybody to connect with who might have a connection with them.  These connections are very loose and have very little significance.

When it comes to building a professional network, online or otherwise, it's quality over quantitiy.  I connect on LinkedIn with people that I have met or worked with personally and have at least had a meaningful conversation with them.  In the end, I think they would be more likely to help me out than someone I link with who has a loose connection to me.  Just because I worked at Albertson's in the Education Department and another person also worked at Albertson's, but in the Accounting Department doesn't mean we have a solid connection.

The advantage of online social networking is that you can operate within an additional space to build your professional network.  As I've advocated many times in this blog, the more circles your run within the greater your network and the potential to build your business.

No comments: