I have always appreciated Linked In as a tool for my business, so I went along to the Blackpool and the Fylde ICT Cluster Meeting to hear ‘Mr LinkedIn’ speak.
Mark Williams is widely regarded as the UK’s foremost LinkedIn expert and trainer, recognised in 2010 when Mark became the first and only certified trainer approved by LinkedIn in the UK.
It shows as well! I never have heard someone speaks with such enthusiasm and knowledge about their subject. I have found the presentation Mark gave and embedded it below, but I’ll summarise and throw in how I use LinkedIn as well.
Mark made the excellent point that LinkedIn only works if everyone uses it, as the network grows so does the potential grow.
I joined LinkedIn in 2008 introduced to it by a business partner who loved social media. I built my connections that I had, encouraged others to join but then sat back and waited for something to happen. This is exactly what Mark described as the typical experience of the new user of Linked In… which made me feel ever so slightly special!
I found this video back then that explained the basics to me…
It was interesting to hear some facts that Mark gave and I’ll share them with you. In March 2011 there were 100 million registered users of LinkedIn. The fastest growing network in the world is currently Brazil, with France taking centre stage as the fastest growing network in Europe. I have to confess I didn’t know LinkedIn was that big…
Mark described how LinkedIn works for you and why it shouldn’t be ignored.
- You are judged by your profile; the painfully obvious but not realised fact was mentioned that the first contact you will probably have in business is online… either by a search on LinkedIn or a search on Google. Chances are your profile will pop up and that will be the first impression people have of you. Take a moment… are you happy with how your Linked In profile reflects on you? I was a bit smug as I had gone through my LinkedIn profile on the weekend and made sure it was… some people in the audience however, shifted uncomfortably…
- You can find new contacts through your network. I have always described LinkedIn to people as a networking event you can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and only speak to the people you want to speak to… that usually sells it!
- You can gain information… I use LinkedIn personally to research potential business partners and leads, there is literally a wealth of information on there.
- Raise profile. I am probably a little guilty of lurking on LinkedIn, I’m on it a great deal but I don’t engage as much as I should. Something I took away as something I could do.
Mark gave a fantastic idea regarding point 4 and one that is typical of experts in a particular field. So blindingly obvious that it should have already been done. Join groups. Not just one or two but lots, you can join up to 50. I have avoided doing this as it inevitably leads to distracting irrelevant emails during the work day.
Mr LinkedIn pointed out that you can adjust the settings not to send emails but you still become visible to the people in the groups, if you select groups that are relevant to you then the information you do receive should be irrelevant. He clarified also that you should select a few groups and then actively engage.
Not to be smug again but this was something I was planning on doing but with the addition of a rotation of groups to ensure that I could engage with more.
Mark went on to say that by building a persona with your profile and a presence with your activity in your status as well as in the groups you create a magnetic pull as people on LinkedIn become drawn to you. Another point that Mark made was that recommendations are a powerful thing, especially on LinkedIn… it can be used as a criteria for search and high recommendations from real satisified partners and clients do translate into pounds.
At the end of the day people buy from people. LinkedIn is probably the best way to increase the surface area of your professional identity and get seen by the right people. The relationship is up to you.
Hope that helps.