As a Business Woman, LinkedIn Gives You More Options
LinkedIn offers options, period. LinkedIn is an amazing forum for researching yourchosen industry, connecting to people who can help you improve your skill set, and then share your knowledge with a strategic audience. Because your profile is user generated, you can create any presence you want. Once you have the knowledge, skills and ability, even if you have never had the opportunity to express these assets, LinkedIn gives you a forum to do so.
I have a history of working with women, both professionally and privately. Many of the women I have counseled have complained that they feel their position in life has been limited – because of their families, education, and marriages (or lack thereof). I’m sure men also feel the same restrictions, perhaps for different reasons.
One of the reasons I am passionate about LinkedIn is because it levels the playing ground and I think, creates more opportunities for those who know how to utilize it effectively – which is exactly what we are sharing at AccessLinkedStrategies.com
Option One: Researching serious information through LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.
One of my clients, we’ll call her Ms Jones, is the CEO of an online training company in a specific industry. The first thing we did was an advanced search using industry specific key words to find out what, if any, competition she would have in regards to a new programs she wanted to develop. (Of course we started with Google, but that lead us to numerous websites that didn’t answer our specific questions about her competition.) We discovered only two people who were also training in Ms. Jones’ industry, and only one of those people really had the “legs” to compete with her. That let us know that we definitely had a viable option to move forward with the specific type of training she wanted to develop.
TIP: Make sure you use the advanced search option when doing a strategic search. If you have a relatively small network, and your search is turning up a lot of “out of network” profiles, simply ask one of your more connected friends to do the search for you and forward the profile to you. (This is one reason to be an “open networker”. Open Networker is one who accepts invites from everyone and does not IDK or I Don’t Know them.)
Option Two: Connect to potential mentors.
I will be the first to admit I AM NOT a Facebook expert. So I did an advanced search on people who were. Fortunately it was early enough in both of our careers that I was able to connect with Mari Smith, “The Pied Piper if Facebook”. She has been an invaluable resource for me, and I in turn feed her as much business as I can. But when Mari is not available, I have a whole “stable” of Facebook experts I can call upon (made even easier thanks to LinkedIn’s new Profile Organizer). Another rich source for expertise are groups and “answers”. The advanced Answers search allows you to put in key words – and I can usually find answers to questions I haven’t even asked yet (because if I have a question – chanced are someone else has too!)
TIP: Create a “stable of experts” using Advanced People Search and Advance Answers Search to help flesh out your skill set or offer. I have found most people in LinkedIn to be abundantly generous with their time.
Option Three: Share your knowledge to strategic audiences.
I like to say that “Groups” has made LinkedIn a more social Social Medium. For a long time it was just an expanded business card attached to an exponential network. But with the onset of a usable groups directory, suddenly people are communicating and sharing knowledge more powerfully on LinkedIn. You can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn; it would behoove you to do so. Join groups in your own industry, in your client’s industry, alma mater groups, etc. And then participate. When you join a group you can choose to receive, via email, a daily, weekly or no digest of the group’s discussions. When you are first starting out in a group I recommend checking off the daily digest. And when you receive it, quickly glance through the discussions. If the group consistently “discusses” their own business – i.e. if every discussion is a sales letter of someone trying to sell their crap, you might decided to stop following that group. On the other hands, if the group has discussion that you find useful, and that you can contribute to, you might plunge in and start responding to some of these discussions. Thereby building your relationships with other LinkedIn members. Through groups discussions I have attracted various paying clients as well as several PR opportunities. Some of my clients, using this very tool, have found jobs, increased participation in their seminars and webinars, attracted consulting work, etc.
TIP: When active in a group, choose the new “follow” option that allows you to follow a particular discussion or person. This will allow for ample information to create a relationship, which might bloom into a working relationship.
Remember, this is your profile. You can optimize it how you want. If you feel you are lacking in an area of expertise for your industry, connect with people who can fill that gap for you. If you do not have enough connections, reach out and create relationships. If you need more clients, find out where your typical client “lives” on LinkedIn and join them there. LinkedIn gives you an enormous amount of tools and applications for reaching out and connecting with the people who can help you find success. All you have to do is position yourself as someone knowledgeable, helpful and successful. Use LinkedIn to create more options, more partnerships and more awareness for yourself and your company.