LinkedIn is a social networking service for the business world. An essential service for any business person. We’ve mentioned it before briefly on this blog, but now go into more detail.
LinkedIn is easy to use and feature rich, even just for the free version. Indeed the majority of people I doubt need the current paid offerings (unlimited searching and more). Some key features of LinkedIn:
- Find old and current contacts on the service and connect.This enables you to stay in contact, regardless of new contact details and changes in locations.
- Invite people to join LinkedIn and connect with you.
- Provide recommendations and receive recommendations from contacts.
- Ask the community questions on many subjects and provide answers.
My list of features probably doesn’t do it justice. There are also other features such as looking for jobs and there are many recruitment people and execs using LinkedIn as a recruitment database.
Do you need help or want to answer a question or two?
The question and answer section of LinkedIn is a key feature. It allows you to easily ask the community questions covering many different categories such as marketing, telecoms etc, there will be a business category you will find interesting. It is also a great way for people to connect with others, but be aware that even if someones answered, their advice could be biased or incorrect.
The LinkedIn main screen is very well layed out. You will notice they have advertising (dark blue box on this screen in the above example), but it never takes away from the user experience. You will find that LinkedIn doesn’t require much of your time to learn how to use and become beneficial.
LinkedIn does by default make people searchable via search engines, but this is limited information and you can easily turn this feature off. Also you can share as much or as little education and work history as you want in your profile. So you can setup your LinkedIn account quickly and then add to it when you have a free moment. Once I had initially setup LinkedIn I found myself spending anything from five minutes to twenty minutes a day for a while updating my profile, adding contacting and primarily reading and answering community questions. Then once in a while I write a recommendation also.
So LinkedIn can mean many things to different people. A simply way to stay in touch, a means to recommend colleagues or generate opportunities. Perhaps be offered an interview for a job or participate in the excellent Q&A section…and more. If your not signed up to LinkedIn take five minutes to get the ball rolling today. www.linkedin.com
Stephan Spencer wrote a good post on LinkedIn also. Well worth a read: http://www.stephanspencer.com/community/deriving-value-from-linkedin