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How to Effectively Use LinkedIn

Andy Wilson, Founder & CEO of Graphight (www.graphite.com), discusses way to use LinkedIn effectively. LinkedIn can be a great tool for networking with people in your industry, while keeping your contacts organized.

  1. Research persons of interest
  2. Expand your network through introductions
  3. Actively manage your connections
  4. Use as a starting point

Business networking has become so important and I think what people think about, you know, the leading solution for business networking, top of mind will always be LinkedIn, and I love LinkedIn. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you around how I use LinkedIn and maybe they’ll be useful for you.

First thing I like to do is, when I’m in a meeting and, you know, a lot of us spend time meeting new people, it’s really helpful to go out and find out who will be in that meeting and go to LinkedIn. I tell you, that database has gotten so large, more often than not, people who will be there will be listed in LinkedIn. So you can start understanding who they are, like why are they relevant, what are their experiences, what are their roles in the company. So LinkedIn is great for that.

Secondarily, when I’m trying to accomplish something, LinkedIn is a great resource to say, “How do I get into a certain company? How do find a certain skill set?”

So if you have a LinkedIn profile, you can use your search function and look for people who are either in your network today or maybe one or two connections away and get those introductions so you can get in front of those people you really want to find.

Another idea, when I ask about LinkedIn, people ask me those questions, is about managing your connections. Should I connect to everybody? Should I accept all those connections? And I think you have to be thoughtful about that in the sense that you don’t want to connect to everybody. I think we only need so many friends in India or, you know, The Ukraine, who spam us so you want to turn those away.

I try to ask myself, do I know who that person is do they knew who I am, number one. And number two, are they relevant to me in some way? So if the person is, you know, a professional volleyball player and I have no interest in volleyball and this is really my professional network, I’ll probably turn that person away. You actually can just say, “I’m not going to respond”.

So be thoughtful – so you have a big network but is relevant and it doesn’t have spam in it.

And finally, as a real fan of LinkedIn, it is really great for doing research and establishing connections, but the connection is just the beginning of a relationship. So think about, once you connect with somebody, if they are important, what are you going to do to manage that connection so it actually becomes something valuable which is the relationship? So how do you follow up and nurture that connection over time so that person is useful and you could be useful to them?

So LinkedIn is great, it solves a lot of problems, I’m a huge fan and hopefully this advice would give you a sense of where it will work for you and maybe you got to look for alternative solutions.