LinkedIn has stepped up its presence on the social media scene. In March, they reached 100 million users. This may have something to do with a gaggle of new tools they have implemented in the past couple of months to assist individuals in branding themselves or their businesses.
“I see LinkedIn as a type of free career insurance,” says Neal Schaffer, author Windmill Networking: Maximizing LinkedIn. “From a business perspective, everybody is talking about Facebook and Twitter, but if you are a B2B company, those decision makers are all on LinkedIn. And even if they are on Facebook, they are probably not on Facebook to do business. LI is the social network where the world does business.”
Schaffer, who provides social media strategy consulting services, believes that having a robust presence on LinkedIn will open you or your company up for hidden opportunities. Take a look at some of the new LinkedIn features and how they can increase your job and business opportunities
• LinkedIn Skills –LinkedIN sells a software solution for HR departments and companies who want to search profiles to find talent. To help make this software more efficient, LinkedIN is providing a standardized set of keywords called LinkedIn Skills that you can add to your profile. These keywords should describe your training and responsibilities. Embedding skills keywords on your profile will make it easier for potential employers to identify you as someone they may be interested in.
LinkedIn will recommend skills keywords for you based on your profile, but you should also visit the section labeled “other associated skills”, says Schaeffer. This section might reveal skills you have that you didn’t think of adding or that you didn’t know were marketable. Also, look at the profiles of people who hold similar positions or similar skills to you. They might have identified other standardized skills that you should also add to your profile or skills that you might need to learn in order to stay relevant in your industry.
The skills feature will also list the top people on LinkedIn who have your same skills. “This could help you identify mentors, people whose blogs you should read, and people who are the thought leaders in your industry,” says Schaeffer.
• LinkedIN Today – Imagine receiving a daily newspaper that is tailored to you based on what your connections and industry peers are reading and sharing. In essence, that is what LinkedIN Today does. “LinkedIn Today can be the Wall Street Journal for your industry. It is personalized for your industry and it has already been vetted by your fellow professionals,” says Schaffer. It helps time-starved professionals cut through the clutter and get straight to top headlines that matter to your peers. It is customizable, since it allows users to filter news based on multiple industries and even companies.
The new feature also give users insight into who is sharing or tweeting what stories and the conversations that are forming around those articles. This can provide an opportunity for you to engage with thought leaders in your industry. “It really doesn’t take a lot to be perceived in your industry as a subject-matter expert just by engaging in a few discussions,” says Schaffer. LinkedIN Today is available as an app on iPhone and Android phones.