Getting the Point About LinkedIn

LinkedIn professional social networkWhenever I get up to speak to a group about LinkedIn, I’m conscious that there will almost certainly be some people in the group who have decided they don’t like the platform and others who may not feel strongly for or against it, but just don’t see the point.

Because let’s face it, for many people, the word “LinkedIn” just conjures up the image of messages, including from people they may not even recall having met, declaring they would like to add the recipient to their “professional network”. Those people probably think of LinkedIn, if they bother to think of it at all, as at best a mystery and at worst an annoyance.

Which is a shame, especially for anyone in business or wanting to promote their brand or career, because there is so much benefit to be derived from LinkedIn. And I for one believe the network should be an essential part of a social media strategy for just about any business, and especially for any business in the broad field of professional services.

So I see it as a key part of my mission these days to show people how they can most effectively use LinkedIn.


  • LinkedIn with its more than 120 million members, gives us a valuable key to managing our online identities, both for our individual careers and for our brand or company, and
  • I’ve spent more time than I care to think of learning about how LinkedIn works and I love sharing from that experience

So in this post I’m basically:

  • promoting the idea of LinkedIn being good for all or most businesses and
  • doing a bit of shameless, but hopefully not excessively intrusive, self-promotion of my LinkedIn-related services.

A Must for Business

It’s my belief that just about any business, from large corporations to solo professionals, should have a developed, optimized presence on LinkedIn.

As the Chief Marketing Officer for industry giant HP, Michael Mendenhall said recently:

“LinkedIn is a pioneer in harnessing the power of social media and brands can benefit tremendously from participating in this networking of leading professionals.”

And indeed I see increasing signs that business people are recognizing that LinkedIn may well provide fresh opportunities for market development, reputation-building and even real live deals.

One of those signs is that over the past eighteen months or so I have been getting – and accepting – invitations to speak about LinkedIn for business, such as a webinar for the Australian Businesswomens’ Network and as speaker for a sold-out networking breakfast in the nearby city of Brisbane.

Much, Much More Than a Resume Posting Site

For all the growing interest in LinkedIn among business people, I have to acknowledge that there are still some who ask me questions that show they do not understand the power of the network.

Questions like “Isn’t LinkedIn just a site where you put your resume if you are looking for a job, and maybe somewhere recruiters check to see who is available? I’m not looking for a job and I don’t need staff, so what use would LinkedIn be for me?”

Well of course it can be, and indeed is, a job-seeking/candidate-sourcing site. But it is much more.

That “much more” is why every business owner and executive needs to pay attention to LinkedIn, and especially to the ongoing efforts by LinkedIn to enhance the site’s features as a key social media site for business.

For example:

  • Company profiles: as well as the individual profiles many people (over 100 million actually) have on LinkedIn, you can also add your company profile and to that you can add information about products and services
  • LinkedIn Groups: there is a plethora of groups for all sorts of professional and personal interests and some people use those very effectively to promote themselves and their companies – and if you want to set up your own group, you can do that with a few keystrokes
  • LinkedIn Answers: I am continually amazed at how much information and business wisdom is shared through responses to questions posed on LinkedIn Answers – and asking as well as answering questions there is another way of building your profile and your company’s.

Linked Leverage

The short story then is that LinkedIn is an effective way of gaining leverage in the marketplace, a way of standing out, especially – although not exclusively – for professional services companies and practitioners.

But after doing a lot of presentations, webinars and individual coaching about LinkedIn, I do understand that some things that seem clear enough to me are not at all clear for people new to the platform.

That’s why I produced my short, complimentary ebook, 5 Simple Steps for Getting Started with LinkedIn.

And for people who want to get real value from their LinkedIn membership I cover all the main issues and share tips and guidance, in my range of LinkedIn coaching and workshop packages, under the headings:

  • LinkedIn profile makeover
  • LinkedIn profile Done For You
  • Personal LinkedIn strategy
  • Corporate workshops on LinkedIn

It’s hard to find good case studies

As a speaker and a coach, I’m always on the lookout for case studies showing how companies, especially in the field of professional services, have been able to use social media to good effect. I’ve had some success in terms of social media generally, but it’s been a harder call for LinkedIn specifically.

When Bill Vick and I wrote the recruiting industry guide, LinkedIn for Recruiting, we were able to find and share a number of case studies for that industry. But that was several years ago and those stories were specific to recruitment.

Right now, I am especially interested in stories from the financial services and legal sectors.

So if you have a case study from one of those professions or some other that you can point me to, or share here in the comments (or send me the info via the Contact page) – or maybe not even a “case study” but just a success story, that would be very much appreciated.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).