I was asked by a friend recently, who is very much into business networking in person and on the ground, why his members should think about adding LinkedIn to their toolkit and accept those invites that they'd been receiving from time to time but didn't really know why they should accept a connection from a colleague, to join them on LinkedIn. Here's my response.
Why You Should Be On LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the pre-eminent professional business networking platform and provides a great way to create a means of keeping track of, and in contact with those business contacts that you have made in recent times, in times to come, and even those people who you've known throughout your working and school life.
For many people the idea of joining a network group like LinkedIn seems to be a strange thing to do and really, they don't understand why they might want to be involved. After all, they have their contacts in their address book already right? They know where they can reach those people they want to talk to, and that's all they need...isn't it?
Here's the difference. LinkedIn does itself become a database of your contacts, a 'back-up' of your business contacts and useful in that respect. But it is far more. What it really is, is a door to opening your opportunity to meet those people of influence in the lives of the people with whom you already share a connection, and a set of tools to enable you to access the collective wisdom of this super-extended network.
So how can you use LinkedIn?
There are many ways to use LinkedIn and each person will find a way that suits their own needs at the time. This may start out as a simple collection of your contacts, but may develop into quite different uses over time.
Some other ways that people use LinkedIn...
• Your business contact database backup
• Introductions to people you want to meet
• Identifying the decision makers in the companies with whom you want to do business
• Getting feedback on ideas or questions that you may have from specific industry specialists
• Expanding your professional network
• Growing your understanding of the things that are important to people you know
• Being visible to your market
• Prestige of being prominent in your profession
• Online endorsements of your work, by those who know and respect you, are available to all to see online
• Opportunity to give to those individuals, whose professional expertise you regard highly, a written endorsement, is a great gift to extend to your contacts, and is at the heart of "Giving First"
• Show that you are up-to-speed on current networking methods using technology to spread your name further
• Access new work or business opportunities
• Recruit new staff
• Check out people you want to learn about
• Connect with potential business venture partners
• Meet people in new markets that you might want to develop
• Reconnect with professional people with whom you've lost touch.
• Share your expertise
Every day, there are many people, as a result of LinkedIn, signing new business, hiring new people, getting new jobs, meeting new people of influence, and getting answers from specialists, expanding their own circle of influence and helping others in their network to achieve more.
As you think about it now… How might using LinkedIn help you achieve more?
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