If You’re Going to Use LinkedIn, USE IT!

By Communications

We’re in business development mode today, and that means researching potential partners and clients to assess the opportunities we might have to help each other. One of the steps in this process is to look at the company via LinkedIn–who works there, what positions are filled, what content they share, what open positions they are advertising, what their company profile looks like. After all, there are a gazillion benefits to using LinkedIn as a company now that social marketing and social search have gone mainstream. The network has grown over 45% in the past year, and has over 150 million users! Many of those are entrepreneurs who embrace social tools as a method of connecting to new opportunities.

So why, why why would you set up a LinkedIn account and then PRIVATIZE it so potential connections can’t reach you? Maybe you don’t want the “spam” emails, or you’d rather do the finding and viewing of profiles and opportunities, thank you very much. But if you’re going to bother building a profile on this network, it is disingenuous to expect access to information on others that you’re not willing to share yourself. People are looking for ways to connect because they want to grow their businesses, and presumably you want to do the same. Sure, you’ll want to make sure the profile is set up so your time is not being wasted, but setting it to private sends a message that you’re not that interested in connecting, not really.

Is that the message you want to be sending to potential customers, clients, partners, or recruits?

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Visualizing Your Professional Social Network

By Social Media

My friend Rachel Brozenske of Allison Partners turned me on to a fun little tool: LinkedIn Maps — a visual way to look at your business network and examine areas for saturation, room for growth and the overlap or gaps among you and your business development team.

Here’s my map — clickety to see the BIG version:

That great big blue cloud represents contacts I have in Charlottesville, Va. — the place where I’ve been doing business since January, 2006. The big orange cloud on the right are my contacts and clients from the time I spent with Standing Partnership in St. Louis, Mo. Other clusters represent client contacts or contacts from employers past.

Get your own map, and learn a little something about the connections you’ve made.

LinkedIn: Is Your Career on a Path of Continuous Self-Improvement?

By Communications

Pay attention.

It’s both the most obvious and most neglected discipline on the social web. As a business, it’s SUPER important to know what people are saying about your brand, your industry and your leadership online. As an individual, your professional appearance makes a huge (and sometimes first, and last) impression.

When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile? Have you looked at how many times OTHER people have been looking at your profile? Do you like what they’re seeing? Does your profile demonstrate the true path of continuous self-improvement you’ve been on?

What Has LinkedIn Done for You Lately?

By Social Media

Individuals and companies struggling with the plunge into the social media pool can consider this: try LinkedIn first. LinkedIn is a business network, first, foremost and always, and for the uninitiated, the perfect place to establish a social network for business growth that is easy to understand and not overwhelming.

LinkedIn is a constant resource for my business. Here are just a few ways I’ve used it in the last week:

  1. I connected with client contacts so they can have access to my network as second degree contacts
  2. I’ve reviewed who is interested in my profile, to see if there are any likely warm leads to whom I should be conducting outreach
  3. I researched client prospects and their businesses and sent messages to individuals I want to meet
  4. I posted news from my own company, as a way of sharing our growth and capabilities

LinkedIn is a very useful business tool — for companies that are not otherwise engaged in social networking tools at all, it is absolutely necessary to take advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer.

If we have a working relationship and we’re not already connected on LinkedIn, feel free to reach out: http://www.linkedin.com/in/marijeanjaggers 

6 Reasons Telling Someone You’d like to Add them to your Professional Network is Lame

By Communications, Social Media

You’ve all gotten this message: “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

Here are 6 reasons why you should never, ever send this default message.

  1. It demonstrates to the contact that you don’t really know much about social networking.
  2. It is a lazy approach — you should put some thought into it instead of using the default message.
  3. It doesn’t give the contact any context at all! You owe people in your network a reminder of how it is you are connected and why you should share your professional world. Tell them WHY you want to add them. You owe them that much.
  4. It makes me think that you’re just trying to build your numbers and don’t represent any value to my network whatsoever.
  5. It doesn’t give me any detail about you — I’d love to know that I’ll be connecting to you to help you find a job or endorse your work or introduce you to a connection of mine.
  6. You’re part of a professional network; act like it. Is a default message a professional invitation?

P.S. The image above is from an actual invitation I received from someone I’ve never met or heard of. I did not accept the invitation.