Can using LinkedIn get you out of visiting the gym?

Well, not exactly. But, for many professionals, using LinkedIn is like a gym membership – the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. LinkedIn is a professional social network with more than 175,000 users in 200 countries. I’ve been using LinkedIn for ten years and am continually amazed at the results I can garner with the platform. Unlike other social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn is focused on your professional career, your experience, who you know, and what you know.

It’s not the size, it’s the quality: Unlike other social networks that are significantly larger, LinkedIn is focused in quality of networks, and their relevance to your professional life. The most powerful statistic about the user base of LinkedIn is that 50% of LinkedIn users are the decision makers at their company. If you’re in the business of selling to other businesses, LinkedIn users are the ones that can write the checks. That’s money right there. There are also more than 13million small business owners on LinkedIn, which provides an immense opportunity to connect with peers from around the globe.

How can LinkedIn help me find a job or further my career?

Gone are the days of choosing what pretty paper to send your resume on. And references? Many of today’s employers would say #dontneedem – because they can find what they want to find about you by looking online. Personally, I haven’t sent a resume in years, preferring to send interested parties to my LinkedIn profile (http://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonkinney), because not only does it list my professional background like a resume would, it also includes recommendations, testimonials, and illustrates my connections within my industry. It is a living, breathing, continually updated representation of my professional background. If you’re seeking a job, be sure to create a LinkedIn profile and fill it out as completely as possible and work to build your network of colleagues and contacts to reach optimal results.

If you are not actively seeking a position, consider utilizing LinkedIn to stay in touch with colleagues, and follow companies you are interested in to stay abreast of their latest activities. If you go to a conference or networking event, follow up by connecting with people you met on LinkedIn as a way of solidifying your professional connection.

LinkedIn also offers an active answers area, where you can ask (and answer) questions from your peers globally. Finally, check out the groups section to join and participate in groups of your peers on thousands of industry topics, associations and more.

You get what you give: Recently at Dream Local Digital, we were engaging in marketing activity around our service to newspaper publishers to coincide with a series of presentations I was giving around the U.S. at industry conferences. Believing that testimonials are often the best way to tell a story, I devoted some time to touching base with several members of my LinkedIn network. Rather than sending out a blanket message to my network asking for references and testimonials, I took the time to look through my network and find peers and former colleagues that I had yet to give a reference to and write a meaningful recommendation. Then, I sent them a message alerting them to the new recommendation, and if they had yet to give me one I requested one in return when they had the time. This small effort built stronger relationships and resulted in scores of kind recommendations of my work.

Want to learn more about how to use LinkedIn for your career or business?

Dream Local Digital has a series of presentations and posts on how to leverage LinkedIn, and works with businesses every day to maximize the value of the platform. Submit your questions to dream@dreamlocal.com and we’ll send you information!

 

This article was written by Shannon Kinney – Founder and Client Success Officer at Dream Local Digital. Shannon has over 17 years of experience in the development of successful Internet products, sales and marketing strategies. She has worked on the teams developing successful Internet brands such as cars.com, careerbuilder.com, and over 60 online media properties for newspapers all over the U.S. and Canada. Prior to that, she spent over 10 years in media sales and sales management in Maine. She is an experienced speaker, trainer, and consultant, and has worked with small and large companies alike. Shannon is considered an expert in the field of online marketing and social media, and speaks regularly at conferences on the subject. She founded Dream Local Digital in 2009 to assist small businesses with online marketing, and partner with Agencies and Media Companies to add social media and online marketing services to their clients. You can follow Shannon on many of the social channels @shannonkin

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