Social Networking for Professionals
Depending on your industry and your individual level of awareness of social media sites, you may or may not have know what Linked In is about. If you have not heard about or are not using this site, it is time to get on board so that you can make the most out of a very valuable tool.
In the simplest sense, LinkedIn is a social networking website that is aimed at professionals rather than purely social connections. As of May 2009, the business-oriented networking website had over forty million users and spanned more than 170 industries, making it a great resource for today’s professional.
Some basics to know about LinkedIn
In order to make connections on LinkedIn, members can only contact other members if they have already linked themselves to that member or if they are introduced through a mutual contact. This provides a greater sense of community and accountability between members, giving more validity to relationships formed and introductions made on this website than on most social networking sites.
The first steps to getting involved in this innovative networking tool are to establish a profile and reach out to friends, coworkers, and former coworkers or classmates. Once you create a profile and begin to build a network of contacts, you can move on to groups which will allow you to find others that can help you professionally and benefit from the knowledge pool available from the other members.
Additionally, you can introduce friends or associates who you feel may have common interests, encouraging them to do the same for you. With these simple steps, you will be in a great position to start making LinkedIn work for you.
Listen, learn and interact
The biggest mistake most people make is jumping into social networking and starting to sell. So with that, my recommendation is to start the other way which involves listening and learning. Join in and make a few connections and groups. Then check back regularly to watch and learn how the discussions take place, how endorsements are done and what the etiquette is.
Once you have the basics down, you can begin to engage others with the goal of giving something back instead of just selling.