Let’s face it, Facebook gets all the love and attention these days. As it nears the coveted 1 billion member mark, Facebook got the A-list Hollywood treatment a few years ago with The Social Network along with Zuckerberg becoming the second youngest person ever to named as Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year back in 2010. Yeah, whatever. But there’s another highly popular online networking outlet that I’m hoping most of you eager professionals out there haven’t completely forgotten about: Linked In. Remember that one?
Unlike Facebook, which often gets bogged down in inane rantings, silly games like Farmville or Mafia Wars, and other ‘scraps’ of posted information that’s frankly a waste of time, Linked In is a community of professionals whose mission, in their own words, is to “… connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Composed of over 100 million individuals from nearly 200 countries with an international scope (fully half are NOT from the U.S.), Linked In is the place to potentially get a ‘leg up’ in the professional arena of your liking. Don’t let it slip away . . . Linked In is perfect if you’d like to do any, or all, of the following:
-Build Your Network: Use the three ‘I’s’ and you might be surprised at how large and link-solid your personal army of business contacts can become. Invitations, Introductions, and Inmails. All you need is an email address to send someone an invitation, or if you don’t have the person whom you’re searching for but another contact does, then he/she can offer up an ‘introduction,’ provided said person isn’t more than three degrees away from you. I would also recommend you reach out to past colleagues, business partners, college chums, or former
bosses . . . In this way, your ‘past’ can possibly do a lot to boost your ‘present’ and even ‘future.’
-Ask Questions/Share Expertise: Remember the saying: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question?” Or how about this one: “If you don’t ask, how will you know?” Two of the truest statements ever in my opinion, and Linked In agrees. Just set-up the ‘Answers Application’ at the bottom right hand side of your homepage for the categories you’re most experienced in. Then when you see a question pop up that fits your profile, answer away! Perfect for connecting and you never know where that could lead.
-Host An Event: Posting on Linked In about an upcoming event you’ve got planned is perfect for spreading the word to not just your ‘contacts,’ but depending on what types of platforms you utilize, you can invite as many as you like in the Linked In universe. And because of the viral nature of Linked In, whenever someone RSVP’s to your event, it shows up on the profile of everyone that person is connected with too.
Linked In is also ideal for finding the next big gig, locating a possible hire of your own, researching a company you’ve got your eye on, or scanning your news stream so you can keep up to date on whatever your colleagues are doing, the latest industry trends, and whatever the hot topic of the day is. While it is true that maintaining a certain level of activity on any Social
Media platform is time-consuming, instead of checking your Facebook account six times a day (okay, maybe you only do it five times), try filtering a few of those jaunts onto Linked In instead. The time ‘balance’ may just pay off somewhere down the line.