Five things you can do with LinkedIn

With over 70 million members, LinkedIn is THE networking site for professionals. As I have written previously, everyone should have a LinkedIn profile. 

The misconception is that LinkedIn is only for job seekers, and therefore companies are nervous about letting their employees use LinkedIn. The reality is only 28.5% of LinkedIn users are active job seekers and companies are missing out by discouraging employees using LinkedIn.

Everyone knows LinkedIn is great for keeping in touch with colleagues or finding contacts at a company, but here are five other things you can do with LinkedIn:

  1. Do your  homework
    LinkedIn is a fantastic source of information. Groups are great for having discussions or getting feedback question you might have from peers. I also use LinkedIn to get information on people that are speaking or attending a conference or event that I am attending, as well as anyone I am going to interview.

  2. Promote your event
    You can add any event to LinkedIn for free. As part of your event promotion, encourage speakers and attendees to add the event to their LinkedIn profile. There have been many events I have only known about because I saw someone I am linked to attending or speaking at that event. This is as cheap as event promotion gets.

  3. Tell us about your company
    A company profile is as important as a personal profile on LinkedIn. If your company does not currently have a profile on LinkedIn, stop reading and go create one (don’t worry, I’ll wait). 

    Have a company profile? Good, read on. 

    Anyone with a current @company email address can edit a company LinkedIn page. That’s right, for all of you scared of who controls your company’s profile, anyone that has a verifiable email address from your company can update the profile. The good news is that it is completely trackable and you know who made the changes, but still this is a lot less control than people are comfortable with for a public website. However, the benefits of having a company profile, far outweigh the risks. 

    LinkedIn's new feature to follow a company, allows users to stay on companies that are interested in. As part of the company profile, you can see who is following a company. Seeing who is a following you or another company can be a great resource to reach out to vendors, customers or potential employees.

    As a user, company profiles are quite helpful. They are a good substitute for pay services like Hoovers’s to find high-level company information. If you are looking for a PR or marketing contact for a company, looking at who last edited a company’s profile is a good place to start. The profiles can also provide customer, competitive and vendor information.

  4. Hit your target with highly targeted advertising
    If you read my blog entries, then you know my disdain for untargeted marketing. LinkedIn allows marketers to segment not just by location, but by company size, job title, seniority, industry, gender and age. This is a marketers dream because you know in general people’s profiles are accurate and kept up to date. As the advertiser, it shows as you filter, how many LinkedIn members you are targeting. I only wish you could also target by people with a certain amount of connections and education level.

  5. Use LinkedIn to “Never Eat Lunch Alone”
    If you are traveling (or even if you aren’t) use your LinkedIn connections to see if there is anyone in your network that you want to meet in person for lunch, dinner or coffee. As great as LinkedIn is, I still firmly believe nothing beats an in-person meeting to make a real connection.
This post was inspired by “The LinkedIn Guy” Chuck Hester’s PRSA presentation, a few weeks ago.