LinkedIn is today to working professionals what Facebook was to college students when it first launched: a networking tool with a specific audience and purpose in mind. Facebook has since degenerated to an all-inclusive social media outlet for friends and family, but LinkedIn still retains its reputation as an online social networking service for the working world.
As of last year, LinkedIn reported an astounding 500,000,000 members, with a good percentage of entrepreneurs. While many users leverage LinkedIn during job searches, the users who really derive the most value from the network are:
Salesmen and women
In fact, LinkedIn benefits anyone whose livelihood depends on staying current with new technologies and trends, and keeping an open line of communication with a powerful network of successful peers. Here’s how you can leverage the power of this huge professional network.
One of the features that keeps professionals connected on LinkedIn is the Groups feature. The membership base is a veritable ocean of users, but with Groups, you can shrink that ocean down to small pools of relevant people with whom you can:
LinkedIn is unique in that it allows senior executives, professionals with decades of experience, to connect and discuss practices, new strategies, or anything else important. Leaders from every industry and the brightest minds in academia and consulting are on LI, and with Groups, you can develop a context to start a dialogue with members.
Group discussions will generate some of the best ideas out there, ideas that wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration that LI Groups offers.
Within Groups, you also have the opportunity to interact with members of the industry community in new and targeted ways. As a group moderator you have the ability to:
- Build specific member communities with corresponding or complimentary perspectives and prompt discussion about important topics.
- Joining in these conversations will give you access to experts and others who often can give you the edge you’ve been looking for, just in conversation.
- Highlight and direct attention to conversations or members you think are noteworthy or especially insightful. By positioning yourself as an essential link between two important people, you will form constructive relationships with both parties.
- Generate a following that grows as rapidly as LI itself. Especially in conjunction with other LI features, such as publishing articles- you can really engage your audience and begin great conversations.
When someone in your group leaves a particularly great comment, or if you come across an article that you think would be great conversation fodder, you can share that content with the entire group instantly. Getting feedback on shared content, and encouraging group members to search for and share content as well is a great way to develop new ideas, again made possible by the Groups feature.
So join a group, start a group, moderate a group — whatever you do, get involved and get the ideas flowing in your professional network.