Social Networking for Businesses, Professionals and Career-Minded People

An Introduction to LinkedIn

Social Networking for Businesses, Professionals and Career-Minded People

The landscape of social media is a crowded one, but each social network has its own personality and performs its own functions. LinkedIn is no different. In this introduction to LinkedIn, we’ll take a look at the self-proclaimed “world’s largest professional network.”




So What is LinkedIn?


LinkedIn is a social media network designed to connect businesses, organizations and career professionals. Basically, it’s a giant online networking event. You join to connect with professional friends and colleagues or to others working in your industry and get news, updates and insights that might benefit you your occupation or career.



These days, with 94% of job recruiters using or planning to use social media in their recruitment efforts, LinkedIn is also where you go to research potential candidates you may want to hire for a job or to bolster your own profile to find a new, better or simply a different job for yourself. After all, with 250 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe, including executives from all Fortune 500 companies, the possibilities are endless.




How Does LinkedIn Work?


If you were on a computer sometime in the late 90s, then you might have been part of one of the earliest iterations of social networking called SixDegrees.com. Built on the concept that everyone and everything is just six steps or fewer away from being connected, the now-defunct SixDegrees.com allowed users to list friends, family members, acquaintances and colleagues and then gave users access to people in their first, second and third degrees. Those in the fourth, fifth and sixth degrees were then invited to join those networks.



LinkedIn works in much the same way. Establish your network by connecting with the people you know.  You can then see the members of the networks of people to whom you’re connected. You can request introductions through the lines of that network or you may find connections to people you didn’t know you had in common. You may even find Kevin Bacon.




The Benefits of Using LinkedIn


Is using LinkedIn right for you, your company or your business? If staying connected to the people, businesses, news and developments related to your career or industry is important to you, then the answer to this question is almost undeniably “Yes.” There are some caveats, though.




As with any social network, it benefits you greatly to know what you’re signing up for. Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of LinkedIn. And only get involved if you can really commit to participating. You will undoubtedly get out of LinkedIn what you put into it.



·      Stay Up-to-Date in Your Field: By making the right connections, joining groups and customizing your news feed, you can get immediate access to professional articles, industry reports and educational opportunities that you might not otherwise be aware of, all centralized in one place.



·      Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Field: Want to raise your professional profile? Then you’ve got to “show and prove.” Join groups to share your content, participate in conversations and answer questions others may have about your work or industry. Or start a new group of your own to really lock in a niche market or field.



·      Get Others to Vouch for You: With LinkedIn’s endorsements functionality, you can let your network work for you by allowing your connections to act as professional references without writing long lengthy letters or fielding phone calls. How does it work? You declare your skill set in your profile, and those connections in your first degree network can “endorse” you for them with a single click.



·      Find a New Job: One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn is its role as a giant international job board. Companies with open positions to fill or projects to work on post them on LinkedIn. If you’re looking to advance or change your career path or are a freelancer with services to offer, LinkedIn is a great source of opportunity.



·      Find Your Company’s Next Superstar: The same goes for if you have an opening in your company and are looking for a candidate. Not only will you get the eyes of qualified individuals, you can vet them directly online by visiting their professional LinkedIn profiles. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.



In a future installment, we’ll take a look at some of the best practices for maintaining a successful LinkedIn account and ensuring you get the most out of the professional social networking site.


Categories: Marketing Mojo

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