My Favorite LinkedIn Features
If you are in marketing and not on it, you are missing out. Given that my audience on this blog is undoubtedly more electronically connected than the average person, I am probably preaching to the choir. Still, I run across business executives who are not LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has been around for roughly five years. In that time, it has grown to be a very feature-rich networking site. I am continually uncovering features that have either just been added or I didn’t know existed. Here are some of my favorite ways to use LinkedIn.
1. Research people I will be meeting with ahead of time. Anytime I am going to meet someone or have just met someone, I take the time to look them up on LinkedIn. I can review their profile to see their career history. Most people who blog have a link to their blog in their profile. I can even see details of where you went to school, awards you have won, and personal interests that you have. Assuming you have an updated profile, of course. All of this helps me prepare to for a meeting that will make effective use of your time and mine.
2. Let people know who I am. LinkedIn tells me how many people have reviewed my profile in the last ten days. With the basic setting, you can see a description of the last five people. These descriptions tell you the job function, the city, and the industry of the person who previewed your profile. While it doesn’t give the name, I often have a good idea of who the individual is – especially if I’ve been trying to reach out and make a connection with someone new.
3. Jobs Insider. I think this a new feature. Employers have been able to post jobs on LinkedIn for some time. Job seekers can review those listings and apply for jobs of interest to them. That’s all fairly standard. Jobs Insider is a handy little sidebar that shows who you know at that company or who you know who knows someone at that company.
4. Connect with the people and company driving the industry. If I see something interesting happening at a company and I want to make a connection, I will use the Advanced Search feature to see who I know who knows someone at that company. I can ask them to introduce me. Since I have a business account I can also send an InMail directly to that individual if they have their profile set to receive InMails.
One word of caution. Please use this feature for networking. If it starts getting used for unsolicited sales pitches, it will ruin it for everyone. LinkedIn is for networking, not for cold calling.
5. Taking care of the recruiters who have taken care of me. I have a handful of recruiters that I have accepted into my network. Usually they are individuals that I have worked with and that I trust. Many of my LinkedIn contacts are connected to my industry and the recruiter who is connected to me can see who I know. If they want an introduction to one of my contacts, I am happy to pass it on.
6. Recommendations. William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson at the Reach Branding Club talk about career karma. Writing unsolicited recommendations on LinkedIn is a great way to build it. It makes your colleagues feel good because they feel appreciated. I hope it makes you feel good to do something for somebody else. Usually, after writing a recommendation, you will receive one in return. If you don’t, that’s ok too. The laws that govern karma are not usually that direct.
There are many other features on LinkedIn that I haven’t had a chance to dig into yet such as:
News articles – I just started reading the articles served up to me. Good stuff, but my Google homepage is even more tailored to my preferences.
Chat – I don’t know anyone else who uses it either. Like many aspects of social media, it takes time to reach critical mass.
Service providers – If you are a service provider you can list your company. If you need a service, you can see details, including any recommendations, for the providers on LinkedIn. You can also see who you know who knows them. While I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, this seems very promising.
That’s my LinkedIn universe. I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface of how this tool can be leveraged. I’d love to hear how you have used LinkedIn to open doors and uncover opportunities in your world.