LinkedIn is a Goldmine (Are you on it? Using it?)

LinkedIn seems to be overlooked in the social media realm in favor of other more popular sites, such as Facebook and twitter. LinkedIn is literally a gold-mine of potential connections for the forward-thinking professional. Consider this:
  • All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. In fact, 499 of them are represented by director-level and above employees.
  • People with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.
  • LinkedIn has over 85 million members in over 200 countries.
  • A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S. 
 While most people who are using social media visit their other sites every day, LinkedIn is the one I hear they are not on "very often." After using LinkedIn to find valuable connections in cities across the U.S., I think it's time this changes. Here's why and how:

Increase your visibility.
By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition to appearing at the top of search results, they will be able to read your recommendations. In truth, people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust and are willing to put it in writing.

Improve your connectability by creating a full profile.
Most new users put only their current company in their profile. By doing so, they severely limit their ability to connect with people. You should fill out your profile like it’s an executive bio, so include past companies, education, affiliations, and activities. You can also include a link to your profile as part of an email signature. The added benefit is that the link enables people to see all your credentials, which would be awkward (if not downright strange) as an attachment.

Enhance your search engine results.
In addition to your name, you can also promote your blog or website to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Your LinkedIn profile allows you to publicize websites. There are a few pre-selected categories like “My Website,” “My Company,” etc. If you select “Other” you can modify the name of the link. If you’re linking to your personal blog, include your name or descriptive terms in the link, and voila! instant search-engine optimization for your site. To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to “Full View.” 

A full profile tells a lot.
When someone takes the time to fill out their job history, interests, education, non-profit and volunteering efforts, that allows you to see possible points of rapport. You may have a city, school or cause in common. This can be the basis of a great conversation. 

Find new work and even make your interview go more smoothly.
You can use LinkedIn to find the people that you’re meeting. Knowing that you went to the same school, plays hockey, or shares acquaintances is a lot better than an awkward silence after, “I’m doing fine, thank you.” 

Ask for advice, give advice, start a discussion.
You can use your status box to ask a powerful question to get the input of your fellow professionals, tell them something valuable they might not know, or even start a discussion. Search for a join groups and then use those platforms to the start conversations that ultimately can be the start of some valuable relationships. 

Find Valuable Connections.
Connecting to your connections is one way to expand your network. People will most like link to someone with whom they have a connection. When sending your invitation, be sure to note those connections and ask to link. You can do a search for categories of professionals across LinkedIn in it’s entirety, or in a specific area. If you are in search of marketing directors, do a search, ask to link, and begin a dialogue. Some won’t bite, but some will and those conversations can be the start of something big.

I hope you'll begin to use LinkedIn to do all of the above!  

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