You’ve heard about LinkedIn, and you’ve been told that you should be on it, but you’re not quite sure what it is. Let me see if I can help. LinkedIn is the premier professional business networking site with over 250 million members and growing. LinkedIn is probably most utilized by job seekers and recruiters, however, there’s a growing number of small businesses that use the site to reach out to their clients and other businesses.
What’s Kevin Bacon got to do with it?
Remember playing the Kevin Bacon game? What if you were to play it today? Something tells me that if you really think about the people you know, and who they know, you may be able to create an association with Mr. Bacon. LinkedIn is built on that same premise, except rather than 6 degrees, it focuses on 3.
- The first degree are the people that you know directly.
- The second are those that are connected with the people that you are connected with, but may not know you directly.
- And finally the third are those people that are connected with your 2nd connections.
Sound confusing? It’s not. Here’s an example, you know me, therefore you and I would be connected as the first degree. Then, my colleague, who you may not know, would be a second degree connection for you. Then there’s my colleague’s friend, who neither of us know, would be considered a third level connection.
The Santa Clarita Valley Jaycees (JCI) made t-shirts long ago that said [Tweet “”We know someone who knows someone who knows someone to get the job done.” www.smallbusinessbreakthrough.com”] This is what LinkedIn is about. It’s about knowing someone who knows someone who knows someone – 3 degrees of separation.
How do I get started?
Creating an account on LinkedIn is pretty easy. All you need to do is go to www.linkedin.com and look for the words “Join Today”. Once you click the Join Today link, it will take you to a sign-up form. If you have more than one email address, decide which email address you want to use as your primary email and type this in. This will become your user ID and primary email for the account. Once you complete the sign-up form, you’ll begin to complete your LinkedIn profile, which will include a photo, a headline or title that best describes your professionally, your industry and your location. You can complete your profile by adding your experience, accomplishments, affiliations, projects, award, etc.
What Can I Do with LinkedIn?
You can do a few different things once your account is set up.
- You can connect with colleagues, clients, partners, vendors and suppliers.
- You can get testimonials from your clients to solidify credibility and appeal to other members who may want to do business with you.
- You can join groups and network with industry peers and gain valuable information that can impact the way you do business
- You can continue to cultivate relationships with people you’ve met at networking functions
LinkedIn Dos and Dont’s
- Remember what the purpose of LinkedIn is. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. The things that you share on LinkedIn would be things that you would be willing to share in a business environment. LinkedIn is not the place to post your mood for the day, or your child’s photos. It is for business.
- LinkedIn is accessible to people and businesses that are looking for you, so make sure that only the information you want to share is posted.
- Invest some time in LinkedIn. As with anything, the more you use it, the more benefit you will derive from it. If you create an account, but never utilize it, you’re missing out. It would be like going to a business mixer only for the food. Commit to spending at least 10-15 minutes a day learning from others, reaching out, and cultivating relationships.
I know that you’re probably thinking – oh no, not another social media account, but the truth is that every social media outlet has its purpose. Evaluate your purpose and decide if LinkedIn is for you. If not, no hard feelings, but if it is, then you may consider getting your LinkedIn profile set up and active. If you need any help, feel free to reach out, I’m here to help.