Social networking is about building your personal brand. That’s why many people are on LinkedIn, the social networking site known as the world’s largest professional network.
On Facebook you’re likely connected with friends, classmates, and family — and likely some coworkers or people you’ve done business with. Heck, I just connected with my grandpa two days ago (born in 1922)! These connections are more social in nature. LinkedIn is more like your online resume and the site is more professionally valuable. From my experience, some of the biggest users of LinkedIn are headhunters and recruiters. Might as well let your experience catch some attention.
The same goes for organizations. Your presence on this site can provide value to the demographic that uses it. Here are 5 steps to get started.
1. Create Your Profile
You’ll need to complete your profile first. Add your education history, your current and previous employers and jobs. For younger professionals, I also recommend adding any ongoing volunteer items.
All these things will help YOU be found. Ultimately, the connections with organizations happen through relationships with people. If you are setting up your personal profile with the intend of building a community on LinkedIn for your organization, you should include the email address that you use for work or in your volunteer communications (Read on to find out why!).
While people join organizations, the organizations exist because and for the personal relationships that are created. So connect personally.
2. Connect With Your Members
LinkedIn makes it easy to find people you know. Simply upload your Gmail account or one of several other services to find existing contacts on the site.
Like Facebook you have to add friends and they have to accept to connect with you. When you send the request, select how you know them and include a PERSONAL note or something about your organization when connecting.
3. Start Searching For Connections
I’ve had a good amount of success finding people through the search feature of LinkedIn. This is particularly helpful if you are looking for people from certain businesses, colleges, or cities. You can also search members of certain Groups.
What are groups?… Glad you asked.
4. Know Your Networks
Being able to see who your friends are connected to is incredibly helpful. It also takes all the guess work out of the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Knowing where those connections are will help you navigate the relationships.
Maybe you are looking to connect with a certain business to sponsor an event but you don’t have any contacts there. You’ll likely find that one of your friends has a connection. It’s a small world.
5. Get Grouped Up
I join groups related to my membership in certain organizations like the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, the National Eagle Scout Association, my fraternity (Sigma Alpha Mu) and other professional associations that I belong to.
That being said. Does your organization have a presence on this site? If so, join up an connect with the group’s moderator/manager. If not, depending on who you’ve been able to connect with on the site, determine if building a community here will benefit your organization.
In addition to these groups, I also belong to some groups that are topic focused. Many are related to nonprofits and technology. Go figure!
So there you have it.
“It’s not WHAT you know – it’s WHO you know.” If organizations can facilitate positive outcomes toward their mission while helping friends, volunteers and fans connect in ways that of personal benefit, then we can say we’ve succeeded with LinkedIn.
I’m here to connect at www.linkedin.com/in/hust0058.
Do you have a LinkedIn success story?