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A Beginners Guide To LinkedIn.

Believe it or not LinkedIn dates back to before Facebook and Twitter, which is old in social media terms. However, recently it has come of age and has been growing in stature and now is considered the most important social network for business. So I thought it appropriate to help some of our visitors who may not be fully aware of the features and possibilities of LinkedIn.

I appreciate there is a lot of opinion out there regarding social networks, what they do and how you should use them; and I will be one of those. However, right here and now I just want to base this article on the facts and highlight what can be done with the number 1 business networking tool, put simply if you’re in the business-to-business sector then LinkedIn is a must. One of the best features of LinkedIn is that it actually involves some work to search and find people you have done business with or worked with. You either need to have worked with someone, have their email address of have been recommended by another user. This means you can’t simply go about adding anyone you wish in the hope of building a network, but it does mean everyone you add is probably more likely to listen to you (it is a business network, after all)

In recent times LinkedIn has evolved and it now allows you to post articles, links and updates much in the same way Facebook or Twitter does. According to TechCrunch, the demographic is about 64% male and the average age is 41. I would imagine over time this may balance as the current teens grow up accustomed to social networking.

So what can I actually do on LinkedIn other than connect and communicate with other professionals? Well in the recent past they added a group function which makes a lot of sense. There are examples I have seen of groups being set up on Facebook and not being that popular, but the same group subject or title has been set up on LinkedIn to great success.

In large part, this is down to the members willingness to take part in business discussion and networking, the whole ethos of LinkedIn right there. Similar to other social networks, LinkedIn allows you to like to your profile from your website or blog. A tool which I think is particularly useful given it is a professional networking site. Some members use it their profile as an extension of their online CV and it has worked very well for them.

So what else can we do on LinkedIn? Well for me there is an obvious answer, following companies. Following companies can be very useful for research regarding new business ventures, partnerships or recruitment.

Below are just a few of the details you get when you follow them.

  • Company employees in your network.  LinkedIn shows who from your network works at that company now.
  • Recent new staff at the company.  Allowing you to look at the type of people they are hiring and understand what and who they hire.  Connect with these people and ask them what their experience has been like with the company.
  • All company employees.  Yep, if an employee of that company has Linkedin, then they will be listed here.
  • Latest Tweets, blog posts and more.
  • Recently posted jobs.
  • Recent company activity.

So in a nutshell, when you follow a company on LinkedIn, it really is not the same as following on Twitter, or liking them on Facebook. Nor is it the same as checking in on FourSquare. LinkedIn has raw recruitment potential, and the power is obvious. Whether you chose to harness it or not is another matter.

Do you use LinkedIn? Are you currently employed by a business who hired you through the site? If so, we’d love to hear from you!