I like the idea of LinkedIn. There are good “general” social networking sites but I like having a business-focused site where I can visit with the intention of doing business. For the past couple of years, LinkedIn has been part of my business plan but my participation has waxed and waned.
Recently, I started looking for some resources and tools that might help me use LinkedIn better. Twitter has a bunch of downloadable or web-based tools so I was hoping that LinkedIn would, too. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot (although I have added the LinkedIn toolbar to my browser). I’d like to see more in this area.
So, from all of the thinking I’ve been doing about how I can use LinkedIn more effectively, I’ve developed these 6 ways to gain value from my network:
- Article ideas: I write business articles for magazines so I’m always on the lookout for a good story. By reviewing some of the LinkedIn questions, or a group discussion, I can find common questions people are asking. And chances are, if they’re asking them, someone else might want to know, too.
- Article sources: I’m always looking for an interesting source to quote. In the past, I mined my email list for people to talk to but now I have a much broader community to approach.
- Article reserach: Gaining a different perspective on an article is very helpful. So reviewing answers to related LinkedIn questions and discussions can give me that different viewpoint.
- Business examples/studies: As a business writer, I want to find businesses that are doing interesting things, trending in certain ways, or are relevant to a pre-defined topic in some way. LinkedIn’s various search functions, along with my own ability to review contacts in different ways, can help me to find the businesses I want to connect with.
- Strategic analysis: In applying the Business Diamond Framework™ to businesses, LinkedIn offers a valuable place to gather data-points on numerous aspects of an organization.
- More stickiness: As a business owner, I want to find new ways to connect with my clients and keep them thinking about me and deriving value from me. LinkedIn helps me do that. Connecting with clients seems like an obvious one, but connecting with the intention of adding value takes it to a new level.
In my search for tools, I didn’t find much in the way of downloadable or web-based stuff, but I did find a lot of ideas about how to use LinkedIn. Guy Kawasaki’s post is one of the more popular posts on the topic, but then I stumbled across this page: Linked Intelligence: 100+ Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn. There is a lot here! If LinkedIn is in your marketing plan, take some time to read it.