I seem to accumulate piles of them. Many sit sadly on my desk or in drawers gathering dust, unused yet only occasionally unwanted. Finally, when I do manage to file them, they are replaced by a new set after the next show, exhibition or networking event, often to suffer the same fate.
I am of course talking about business cards.
I’ve always known that I really ought to get more organised and productive with them, perhaps sorting and filing them by level of interest or speciality or even by event.
The trouble is that it would be impossible to manually keep in contact and up to date with what they are doing even for a consummately organised networker – and I’m really not one of those.
So, to be brutally honest, in the vast majority of cases they are stored away for a rainy day only to be forgotten about or, when I do think “Yes, I remember talking to someone who did that!”, all too often I find the details are no longer accurate anyway.
No longer the case. LinkedIn to the rescue. (more…)
No matter what size of organisation we work for, a local market is going to be important to us. Our individual versions of “local” will vary of course – it may be a town, a county or even a whole country, but it is our home market and one that needs to be considered. For many smaller organisations, it can often be their only market or, at the very least, the mainstay of their business and hence a key area to nurture and develop.
With LinkedIn, perhaps more so than any of the other major social networks whose scope are after all global in nature, we have the chance to tap directly into our local marketplace, so it’s important to make sure we know how to use the tools at our disposal to do just that. Making ourselves visible and easy to refer is one half of the equation, the other is to use the facilities on LinkedIn to proactively identify, approach and market to this key group of people.
Here are 10 ways in which we can use LinkedIn to do just that:
There’s long been an (often) animated debate as to the “right” way to approach networking and particularly to building your network.
In the red corner: there are advocates of a quality based approach where you only connect with people you either know well or who are directly relevant to you and what you do;
In the blue corner: over here, the watchword is ‘quantity’ and so the aim is to connect with all and sundry and rely on the idea of serendipity, that’s to say that these people are bound to know someone (who knows someone) who will be interested in what you do or offer.
LinkedIn of course supports both approaches and seemingly takes no sides in this.
However, there is a caveat to this because of the way that LinkedIn structures and displays its search results, which may influence your thoughts on this. This is particularly relevant if you are looking at this as a (new) business development tool (more…)
*** UPDATE: Unfortunately the Events section was removed by LinkedIn at the end of 2012 and is no longer available ***
The events section in LinkedIn is a great place to promote events – I’m guessing that might not come as too big a surprise to you? However, just in case you weren’t even aware of its existence (shame on you – or should that be shame on LinkedIn?) then you will find it hidden away under the ‘More’ button on their main menu.
Hopefully that may well change but, in any case, it doesn’t take away from all the benefits it offers. And what are they, Mark, I hear you ask?
[Update: December 2012 – I’m afraid that as of November 2012, LinkedIn has decided to drop this very useful feature. While we are trying to get in re-instated through weight of requests, only time will tell.]
Well, the bits that I personally find most useful are:
Just to be clear up front, I’m not about to list 10 groups that you just have to join on LinkedIn. But I make no apology for that – this is going to be more useful in your search for good, relevant LinkedIn groups to join and participate in than any list I could have put together for you would have been. Trust me! 😉
The reason I say that a list of 10 groups to join would be as much use as a chocolate teapot is that the ones you decide to join and participate in on LinkedIn need to be aligned with your goals (and / or interests) and so will be specific to you … or to take it a step further … you at this particular moment in time. They have to be, I know that you simply don’t have the time to spend in ones that just might be of interest – this is a business network and we need to focus accordingly.
Sorry, lecture over I promise …
Now it’s true that you are “restricted” to joining only join 50 LinkedIn Groups at the moment, but, let’s be honest, the most you’ll be able to participate (more…)