LinkedIn is where one really sees the value of online networking in terms of communication and relationship building. Whether you are a writer, entrepreneur,candle stick maker or model, you need this network to provide you with a presence and to connect you to like–minded professional and business people.
However, while the principle of communication and sharing is the same as for Twitter, LinkedIn has a different demographic in mind. This social network is not aimed at casual chatting or sharing news about your family. The LinkedIn learning centre provides the clearest description of this site. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts
and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals. (http://learn.linkedin.com/what-is-linkedin/)
So, this network has a more serious intention in mind and is aimed at making professional or work-related connections. For example, if you are the CEO of a company and would like to connect with other members of your industry and possibly create new business contacts, then this is the social network for you – and this applies to any profession or career path.
While LinkedIn may seem a bit daunting at first, remember that ALL social networks are just applications that provide ways and means of connecting and interacting with others. Here are a few quick and easy steps to start you off in LinkedIn.
After the registration process you can follow three easy steps to becoming connected to others and to establishing your dynamic network. Firstly, you should spend time on your profile. As mentioned above, your profile is your introduction to other members of the network. With this network the profile becomes even more important as you want to connect to other professionals and they will view your profile in order to decide whether to connect with you or not. Your profile should therefore include your education and work history, as well as referees, work expectations, skills etc. Luckily this site provides a very user-friendly profile building guide, which allows you to import your curriculum vitae. The site also provides guidance as to the quality and degree of completion of your profile.
TIP: After having explored this site for a while you may consider upgrading to the business package as this and other levels of upgrade provide many useful tools for expanding your connexions – including a system of internal mail
StepTwo: Making Connections
After you have set up your profile so that it is comprehensive you can move onto the next step, which to make connections with other members. It is also important to remember that connecting to others is not an automatic process as it is in Twitter.
The request to connect to another LinkedIn member of group is sent pending approval from that connection. This is the reason why you should not attempt to make new connections before you have made sure that your profile is optimized.
How do you make Connections?
LinkedIn provides a wide range of ways to send invites to connect to others in the network but one has to follow some basic rules before just inviting anyone you find interesting to join. The first rule in LinkedIn is that you make connections with people you know. To this end the site allows you to import your email contacts so that you can invite people you know who are already using LinkedIn to become connections. However, you can connect to others whom you don’t know by doing the following.
Firstly, make sure that the all-important profile is 100 percent completed, up-to-date and interesting. Then join some discussion groups in your industry or profession. These are available from your LinkedIn page.
TIP: Joining relevant groups – and there are hundreds on LinkedIn – is one of the best ways to increase your presence and to make connections that may be important to your business and profession.
Step Three. Getting Involved in Discussions
As you involve yourself in the discussions and contribute to these groups by, for example answering questions, people in the group get to know you and it is very often the case that you will soon be invited to join their network. In other words, once you have established your credentials via your contributions to the discussion groups, you can begin to build the contacts to extend your network of connections.
As noted above, joining and involving yourself in the groups in LinkedIn is a primary way of making new of connections with others in your business or profession. Youcan search for groups in a number of categories; such as peers, alumni,
geographical, existing organizations, interest etc.
There are many other aspects and areas of this intriguing social network that you will come to grips with as you explore the range of possibilities here. For example you can set up you own discussion group in LinkedIn by following these steps:
1. Go to Groups in the navigation menu and select Create a Group.
2. Fill in the form that will be provided. Enter your Group Name, type, description and
other required areas.
3. Once you have created your group you will need to publicize it or let others know
of its existence. LinkedIn provides you with the facility to send an invitation to join
your group group to your contact. You can also send an email announcement to all
your connections about the new group.
Social Network Interaction
Sharing and interaction between different social networks is also becoming a common way of increasing your social network presence. In both the two social networks discussed above there are ways in which the two networks actually
interact; for example, until recently it was possible to automatically post all your Twitter feeds to be displayed on LinkedIn. While this is no longer the case, LinkedIn As noted above, joining and involving yourself in the groups in LinkedIn is a primary way of making new of connections with others in your business or profession. You can search for groups in a number of categories; such as peers, alumni,geographical, existing organizations, interest etc. users can still create status updates and initiate conversations on LinkedIn and choose to share those posts on Twitter. There are many other instances of interaction and updating that can take place between different social networks. This is a topic that important as it not only saves time but allows one to share and communicate with a much wider range of contacts and followers. This aspect will be discussed in the eBook on advanced methods and techniques in social networking that will be published by Imaginet soon.
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