Linkedin is a white pages directory of professionals, one of the most successful online. Here is a brief guide to how it works.
The slides below are taken from my ‘Why Take Your Network online’ presentation and provide an illustration to this article.
When you join Linkedin you are asked to enter your career history – what you do, where you have been and where you want to go. Set up a simple one – you can add to it later.
Linkedin then asks you who you know (you can enter names or upload email addresses). It will tell you who is using Linkedin, and if you upload a group of email addresses, it will let you know when your contacts join the service too. You will be surprised how many of your professional contacts are already using Linkedin.
Start Connecting to People you Know
I recommend you only connect to people you already know in real life, in the first instance. Linkedin operates on the principle that you know your contacts and could endorse them if you wished. If later you choose to be more ‘open’ in your networking, connecting to people you don’t really know, you can do this from a position of knowing how a more ‘closed’ arrangement can work.
So connect to the people you know. When you do, they will be able see each other’s profiles, and they find out they have you in common.
See your Contacts’ Contacts.
When you connect to people, as they can see your contacts, so you can see their contacts too.
In fact you can see their contacts’ contacts – to three levels of separation.
Also, because no. 2 is a trusted contact of my trusted contact no.1, I can see his profile, and check him out with confidence, and perhaps be introduced.
He becomes my contact too, and I can see his contacts’ contacts, again up to three levels of separation.
Remember your contacts are People
It is important to remember that each of these nodes is a professional, known to those who know you. When you are a member of linkedin you can write endorsements for your contacts, and they can write endorsements for you, each building credibility online. It may seem obvious to say that, but your network is your personal social capital, so use it wisely and build it strong.
This is how we build an online network with Linkedin. Its only the beginning, you can do a great deal more with the platform, but here is where it begins. Why not give it a try?