Networking Site Offers Far More Than You Could Imagine, Part 1 of 3
A little more than a year ago, I dedicated this space to the wonders of LinkedIn and all it can do for you in the business world. At that time I was a beginning user. But I’ve learned a lot since then, and there are many more advanced functions. In fact, LinkedIn recently added some killer networking tools that, when harnessed in this economy, can really help anyone out.
My dad was a C.P.A. who worked for the same accounting firm for 35 years. He had a typical career path: He started at a low-level manager position, worked hard and eventually became partner.
These days, that’s anything but typical. The average employee stays at a company for about two years. Climbing the corporate ladder is now acceptably done by frequently switching jobs.
In essence, there’s no loyalty anymore between employees and their companies — and vice versa — which is a shame. Business continuity, team spirit and other vital relationship ingredients that can provide a positive effect on businesses are all but lost. But businesses are better served by nurturing long-term employees.
Building Your Personal Rolodex
I recently read that the goal of business today is about adding new and influential contacts daily to your sphere of influence — i.e., building your networking Rolodex.
Stir in our current economy, with its impersonal, almost random, premature “because we can!” layoffs, and the need for business networking becomes more evident daily.
Which is why business networking Web sites, especially LinkedIn, are becoming the way of the future. LinkedIn is an amazing tool, and if you’re not currently a user, I suggest you join (it’s free). Right now, you can probably find 70 percent of the businesspeople you know using it. Over the next few weeks, I’ll delve into some of the basic and power user features of LinkedIn to help you prepare your network.
Where to Start (Even if You’re Already a User)
Consider this: There are people who are on LinkedIn (they’re listed), and then there those who are proactive in taking advantage of its many powerful features. Regardless of which type of user you may or may not be, I suggest you do three things immediately:
1. Contact everyone you’ve worked with in the past — as well as present — and request to be endorsed.
2. Join as many LinkedIn groups as you can. You’re allowed to join up to 50.
3. And if you haven’t done so already, add “send link” requests to all your contacts.
You also can link to me at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert. And if you aren’t a LinkedIn member already, by all means spend a few minutes to join.
Check back next week for tips on how to become a LinkedIn power user.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.