Why and How LinkedIn Works for Business Professionals

    November 11, 2008
    Chris Crum

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.