I love LinkedIn! I've been known to cry out in disgust when I come across a professional (of any kind) who doesn't have a LinkedIn profile.
WHAT?! How can you not have a LinkedIn profile? With almost 2 billion people around the globe using the internet, what is your excuse?
Though, I admit my immersion in technology and marketing may impose the slightest of biases when it comes to this digital landscape. But I know that LinkedIn, though slower in its development and adoption of new features and functionality than its social network counterparts, is undoubtedly a powerhouse that is not going away.
On occasion, LinkedIn may appear the wallflower of the bunch, but I like to think of it as the cautious friend telling you to slow down lest you get a speeding ticket.
Social Media is a fad. Or at least the amount of time we allow social media to consume in our day-to-day is a fad. It will change and evolve, and then hopefully merge and simplify. But what sets LinkedIn apart from the 'fad group' is that it travels outside instant and real-time gratification.
I argue that it is viable and valuable because of the extremely long shelf-life of its content. It is, perhaps, the good twin of Facebook (i.e. Facebook = evil) because its service is based in professional development. (By the way, Facebook is by no means "bad" but rather driven by personal impulse, personal ego, and personal connectivity.)
What does LinkedIn have to offer?
- Professional Network: LinkedIn is not for connecting with some high school acquaintance of yesteryear or last night's pub crawl participants. It demands a mutually beneficial relationship between two colleagues, peers, or professionals. I believe in order to use it well, you must establish LinkedIn connections with those who can enhance your professional know-how and reach.
- Profile: A detailed summary of the professional you. From specialties and skills to experience and education. That profile is a powerful indicator of not only your professional capabilities but also your professional brand. It is your online resume.
- Apps: Yep, LinkedIn has apps too! But if you didn't know about them that is certainly more LinkedIn's fault than your own. Events, Tweets, WordPress and an Amazon Reading List are amongst the heavy hitters. This is where that "brand" really comes alive in your profile. You get the chance to inject a bit of the real you.
- Twitter Integration: Beyond Twitter simply being an add-on app for LinkedIn, this integration helps to marry the real-time influx of info on Twitter with the more constant and cautious focus of LinkedIn. Maintaining a professionally-driven Twitter account is an amazing way to sync these two fantastic worlds.
- Ads: Just two weeks ago, LinkedIn threw its hat into the social network ad ring, joining ruler Facebook and its sickly protege Twitter! Still in beta (sadly), LinkedIn DirectAds (let's hope they drop the 'Direct' in Alpha!) offer what has made Facebook so successful in this realm: highly targeted online advertising that is cheap, simple and easy-to-use. I only wonder why it took them so long.
- Sharing: Again, following in the footsteps of its predecessors, LinkedIn launched a share button late last year. But if you have a company or professional blog, this button is perfect to get people in your LinkedIn network talking about you.
More Fun Stuff from LinkedIn: