The LinkedIn Bible: If Your Profession is Your Religion, This May Be for You

June 17, 2009

Today’s entry comes from our friends at CIO.com (http://www.cio.com) and, in a summary fashion, claims to include everything that you need to know to market yourself on LinkedIn, to build a massive network of professionals, to manage connections and recommendations, and much, much more.

Why a LinkedIn article in the middle of Twitter’s massive impact on the Iranian elections (check out #IranElection) and the mass scramble to participate in the Facebook landgrab?  Well, it is always good to be focusing on resources that are presently being underutilized by significant numbers of people.  Right now, LinkedIn fits that category.  It is one of the original and probably the best known social network for working professionals.  I my self have ignored my LinkedIn account often enough.  But I’m learning from my mistakes and reasserting myself in the LinkedIn community.  And I’m experiencing a lot of success from the results.

I’ll leave it to the experts at CIO.com and C.G. Lynch (the author of the article) the delve into the details.  Highlights include:

  1. Five dos and don’ts of LinkedIn etiquette;
  2. Building strong network profiles;
  3. Managing LinkedIn connections;
  4. Utilizing LinkedIn company profiles;
  5. Getting the most from LinkedIn recommendations;
  6. Using free LinkedIn applications; and
  7. The ins and outs of open networking on LinkedIn.

This list is a good overview and, while the additional information is not “in-depth” by any stretch of the imagination, it serves as an excellent starting point for those learning how to use LinkedIn and how to use it successfully.

I’m going to add an eighth category to the list.  It is: “Using questions and answers to establish yourself as an expert in any given field or on any given issue.”  Here are the steps that LinkedIn suggests for establishing yourself as an expert in a particular field:

When you see a green box with a white star on a Profile, you know that person has proven their expertise by answering questions posed in the Answers forum. They have had answers selected as the ‘Best’ answer and are given expert status. Answer experts can be found at the bottom of the Answer home page. To earn expertise:

  1. Find questions in the areas you know.
  2. Browse questions to find categories familiar to you and answer those questions.
  3. Every time the questioner picks your answer as the ‘Best’ answer, you gain a point of expertise in the category of the question. The more points of expertise, the higher you appear on lists of experts. Private answers don’t count toward expertise

See [Earning Expertise in Answers]. And suddenly, you are an expert.  Well, maybe not suddenly but, if you have valuable information to contribute, your opinions will soon be respected and you will find yourself fielding and answering more and more questions.  My success in this regard has only recently begun but I have been amazed to see the amount of interest it has resulted in.  I get several phone calls and emails a day from people with employment law concerns.  As a management side attorney, I can’t take a lot of these cases, but I can help people out and, at the end of the day, if your number one goal as a lawyer is to help out each and every person you can, you will either find success or it will find you.

One additional quick tip.  I’ve added some of LinkedIn’s Q&A RSS feeds to my Google Reader (and other RSS Agregators).  This way, I get an alert anytime a question is asked in a category or field in which I am interested in promoting myself, my experience, and my knowledge.  The prime example of this is the Employment Law Group.  I subscribe to all the questions and therefore can quickly determine whether I can answer and whether I have time to provide an answer that is actually substantive and helpful.

Always remember, if your answer doesn’t take long to compose or if you are simply cutting and pasting from Google, Bing, Wolfram, or any other search engine, the answer probably isn’t too valuable.  Most people know how to find basic information on the Internet.  But as a working professional, LinkedIn allows you to utilize your expertise to help others and build your network.  You should do it.

Make sure you promote your LinkedIn profile in additon to all your other social media endeavors.  It takes time to become involved and it takes even more time to start seeing results.  But if you sew the seeds now, the harvest will eventually come.

View Tyson Snow's profile on LinkedIn
http://www.linkedin.com/in/tysonsnow

If you are not in my network, you should be.  Feel free to add me or you can always catch me on Twitter if you have additional questions: @tysonsnowhttp://twitter.com/tysonsnow

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