LinkedIn should be your first resource for learning about business people
Many people I talk to remark that they see me all over LinkedIn. I am always posting blogs, recommending people, making comments, asking and answering questions, etc. I find the time because using LinkedIn has become one of my most valuable tools for gaining insight and information. And no we do not have LinkedIn as an account nor are we trying to attract them.
Most business people I know have at least a bare bones profile on LinkedIn. But not all. And that in itself is a bit strange in my view. In fact when I become aware of someone that I don’t know and find to be of interest the first thing I do is search their profile on LinkedIn.
Why don’t I ‘Google’ them first? Two reasons. 1) Google (or Bing for that matter) has too much noise going on for me to sift through to find some relevant information on someone. 2) LinkedIn’s information is self-reported. You get to see what someone has reported about themselves. It’s a bit like a D & B report for an individual (I always keep in mind that D & B information is largely provided by the company itself except for payment history and that information can be lacking if non-existent).
It’s actually gotten to the point that if I look to find information on LinkedIn about someone and they do not have a profile I am surprised and disappointed. But not completely puzzled. Ten years ago (okay maybe a lot less than that) I had the notion that I was ‘reveling in my anonymity’. The idea was that if people did not know about me/our company and clients they could not attempt to pilfer them. I could not have been more mistaken and starting in 2007 I have done a complete 180 degree turn on that idea.
Why the change? I realized that our clients and relationships will always be at risk if we do not continue to deliver the great work and service that is expected of our team every time. And LinkedIn offers an opportunity to not only help others (via answering questions, making recommendations and acting as a resource), at the same time it affords you the opportunity to build your personal brand the way YOU want it to be.
This year in particular I’ve seen people I am interested in meeting on television, read articles by them in various publications, or heard them on the radio and have reached out to them on LinkedIn. They don’t know me at all. The cool thing is that on a number of occasions these people have replied and we’ve begun a dialog. I’ve even met a number of these people after starting the relationship on LinkedIn. It does not work all the time nor do I have any expectation that it will work every time. And I am never put off if someone decides to ignore my request. You take your best shot and then move on.
I don’t accept every invitation but probably more than 90% of the time I say yes. Of course I do not want a new connection to sift through my contacts to bother/solicit people in my network so one has to be discerning to a certain degree.
But never before has the ability to reach people on a one to one basis been so readily available and LinkedIn (unlike Facebook) is the best way to help people, meet people, and build your personal brand.
Are you using LinkedIn to help build your network and personal brand?