Why you might give LinkedIn another try

“I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn,” reads the email. It’s an easy message to blow off. But before you ignore it, consider what social media experts are saying about the value of this particular platform.

“A lot of people judge LinkedIn today by what it was five years ago, or just one year ago,” says Blake Killian, director of social media at Zehnder Communications. “There’s what you think you know about LinkedIn, and then there’s everything else that it is. It’s one of fastest growing social channels.”

Killian says LinkedIn is often perceived as a electronic bulletin board for a résumé and a place to collect connections. But the site’s real value, he says, comes from allowing users to be their own publishers.

“It has this ability to show how you think,” Killian says.

Every LinkedIn member’s home page includes a link to “Publish and Post,” a feature that users should take full advantage of, says Killian. Short blog entries on topics that can demonstrate expertise help a LinkedIn member stand out from the crowd. They also help forge new connections.

“The posts are access points for other people to consider you as a thought leader,” Killian says.

Moreover, joining groups of other LinkedIn members can give you access to targeted audiences, says Killian. These audiences could be colleagues in the same sector who are grappling with common issues. By posting informative blogs, you can become an expert sharing knowledge, says Killian, much like people do when they meet in person and present information at conferences.

Killian cautions that it’s important to post meaningful content.

“The goal is to be relevant and add value. You don’t want to be an echo chamber,” he says.

Killian also points out that a growing number of companies are using LinkedIn for proactive recruitment. The better defined your profile is, the better results you’ll see.

And while many of your LinkedIn connections are people you’ll never meet in person, Killian says it’s important to fortify face-to-face connections with a follow-up on LinkedIn.

“In-person networking should lead to digital networking,” he says.

Killian continues: “I hear people say, ‘I never log in to LinkedIn,’ but the thing to remember is that while you may not, most LinkedIn members are logging in three to four times a week. You don’t want to miss that.”

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