Why and How LinkedIn Works for Business Professionals

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LinkedIn wasn’t always one of the social networks known for having all the bells and whistles. In fact, only until recently, it didn’t have an applications platform, an ad network, or other features that make sites like Facebook and MySpace so popular.

Yet LinkedIn has still had a strong subscriber-base. In fact, it is often cited as the network of choice for business professionals. Perhaps the lack of the aforementioned features played to LinkedIn’s advantage in that respect, alienating a potential reputation for being a haven for teenagers and adolescent goofery. The fact is that LinkedIn users make money. Last week, Mike Sachoff reported on a study looking at the correlation between LinkedIn use and personal wealth. He wrote:

LinkedIn Users Make More Money

The study found a direct relationship between the number of connections and high personal income. Those members with personal incomes between $200K-$350K were seven times more likely than others to have over 150 connections.

The survey found that senior executives, who make up about 8.4 million members, have the highest average personal income with $104,000. Savvy networkers, also described as consultants have the second highest averaged income with $93,500 and consist of 9 million LinkedIn members.

Business Owners Prefer LinkedIn

Another study I reported on a couple weeks ago from FaceTime Communications showed that 62% of business owners consider LinkedIn to be their preferred network. "Over 30 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities," reads the tagline on LinkedIn’s home page, and such data appears to confirm LinkedIn’s reputation as the "professional" social network.

LinkedIn Tagline

A Potential Outlet for Business News Coverage

Social media content has been working its way more and more into mainstream news coverage, and LinkedIn is no exception. Business news establishments see LinkedIn as a potentially relevant information source. A couple months back, LinkedIn struck a deal with CNBC that sees LinkedIn content on CNBC’s site. Janet Meiners notes that it makes for a good source of quotes from business professionals to use in feature stories as is often done on news television, radio, or (of course) the web.

LinkedIn on CNBC

 "CNBC.com could run a feature article on how the recession is affecting workers and quote from some of the best answers," says Meiners. "If you were featured in the article, it should show up somewhere on your LinkedIn profile with a link and recognition that you were quoted in a story. In could help build the reputation of members of LinkedIn, which could in turn help their job searches and careers."

Benefiting From the Network

To benefit from LinkedIn, you’re going to have to "develop a network that lasts," and LinkedIn VP of Marketing and Advertising, Patrick Crane has shared some tips on how to do just that:

1. Upload your address book.

2. Focus on nurturing your network by seeing what questions their asking and helping them when you can.

3. Check your network updates frequently.

4. When you find someone you want to work with, pick the strongest connection you have to introduce you. (try advanced search).

5. Write recommendations for the people you trust and respect.

"The great thing about only connecting to people you know, trust, and have experience working with, is that when you need to find that expert, get that answer, reference check a potentially great hire, get that introduction, then the trusted network of people you’ve proactively created on LinkedIn can help you out," writes Crane. "I find that a simple but useful analogy is a tapestry.  The stronger and tighter the individual threads, the stronger the overall piece of cloth becomes."

This is likely the strategy that all of these wealthy LinkedIn users are applying. When it comes down to it, it’s just good old-fashioned networking. LinkedIn is just a convenient tool that eases the process. The fact that LinkedIn is geared toward business professionals, makes it an attractive network for those looking to enhance their professional relationships.

Sidenote: Dave Taylor has a potentially helpful article about adding LinkedIn search to your company site.

Why and How LinkedIn Works for Business Professionals
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  • http://www.wecando.biz Ian Hendry


    Do you know, it would be nice to read one day someone looking at what LinkedIn doesn’t offer before leaping on he bandwagon of encouraging everyone to blindly run towards LinkedIn.

    For example, I read very little of the futility of connecting again to people you already know.  Or of unloading your resume if you are actually hapy in what you do.  Or the time it takes to trawl the questions section and contribute, only for someone to shoot you down so they can prove they know more than you.  Or the way those sections are abused for other forms of self promotion.  Or of how few tools there are for brokering valuable new relationshps with people who may actually want what you market.  Or how odd it is that a "business network" punishes you with account restrictions if you attempt to connect to people not already known to you.

    Does no-one question these things and start to expect a little more from the time they give so-called professional social networks?

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ


    • Chris Crum

      I’m not trying to encourage everyone to “run blindly” toward LinkedIn. I’m happy for you to expose any flaws, because I want readers to be as informed as possible. If you have any other issues with the network, please feel free to vent them here. That goes for the rest of you too.

      So you clearly don’t care for LinkedIn much. What social networks do you recommend for business professionals and why?

      • Paul

        ConnectBuzz.com  is my  preferred business network – fast, fun and user friendly

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    “The great thing about only connecting to people you know, trust, and have experience working with, is that when you need to find that expert, get that answer, reference check a potentially great hire, get that introduction, then the trusted network of people you

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