Tips on Using LinkedIn
by Mary Shafer
I’ve begun using LinkedIn, the network designed to let professionals from around the world find, be introduced to, and collaborate with others who can help them accomplish their goals.
I’ve joined as a book publisher, but some of my content leans in the direction of my alter ego as a freelance marketing consultant. This is mainly because my marketing clients are also on LinkedIn, and they find me that way.
Joining is free, and when you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional expertise and accomplishments. You can then form connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you. Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to a vast number of qualified professionals and experts. A premium (paid) version will help you exchange information, ideas, and opportunities with appropriate people, whether or not they are in your network.
One of the very best parts of using LinkedIn is that you can teach yourself how to do it quickly and easily, using resources provided right on the Web site.
The LinkedIn Learning Center (via a text link at page bottom) offers a two-and-a-half-minute video that will familiarize you with the basics, plus sections with brief overviews and detailed tips to help you learn about profiles, find ways to get a new job, use LinkedIn on your mobile phone, and get answers to questions.
A New User Guide available in the Learning Center shows how you can build up your profile, recreate your “real-world” network online, and then leverage the knowledge, ideas, and opportunities that come from it, all in about 10 minutes. Several separate user guides are available for certain types of people who use the service for specific purposes, including business development.
In addition, the Learning Center offers links to dedicated Training Resources, including:
• a series of e-learning modules (videos) that you can watch online at any time
• a series of regular Webinars you can participate in interactively (i.e., ask questions
of the moderators and presenters)
You can register for any of these Webcasts by clicking provided links in this area. Some, by the way, are only for premium subscribers.
Extending LinkedIn’s Usability
I also like the fact that several productivity tools are offered in the LinkedIn tools area, although I haven’t yet tried them all myself.
Outlook Toolbar builds your network from frequent contacts and helps you manage contacts and stay connected to the network.
Browser Toolbar lets you quickly access and search LinkedIn anytime, from anywhere.
Email Signature is useful for customizing email sigs.
Mac Search Widget lets Mac users search LinkedIn anytime from Mac Dashboard; OS 10.4 (Tiger) or higher required.
Google Toolbar Assistant lets you optimize your Google Toolbar by installing the LinkedIn search button; Google Toolbar required.
LinkedIn Applications, developed specifically for use with this site and available under “Site Features” in the Learning Center sidebar, may prove useful too. Applications extend LinkedIn’s functionality in many ways, from sharing reading lists and digital slide presentations to linking to your blog or monitoring mentions of your company:
Blog Link by SixApart connects your blog to your LinkedIn profile.
Reading List by Amazon provides a way to extend your professional profile by sharing books you’re reading with other LinkedIn members, and a way to get suggestions for your own reading by following updates from connections, people in your field, or other LinkedIn members of professional interest to you.
Polls by LinkedIn is a market research tool that allows you to collect actionable data from your connections and the professional audience on LinkedIn. You can create and distribute one-question polls with up to five multiple-choice answers for your audience to vote on. And you can target your audience in terms of your own network connections or by segmenting to reach only those professionals in your network who have the expertise you need. Then, when you View results, you can analyze and share data.
Box.net Files by Box.net is designed to manage all your important files online, and to let you share content on your profile and collaborate with friends and colleagues.
Company Buzz by LinkedIn shows you the Twitter activity associated with your company, and lets you customize your topics and share with your co-workers.
SlideShare Presentations by SlideShare Inc. provides a way to share presentations on LinkedIn. You can upload and display your own presentations, check out presentations from colleagues, and find experts within your network.
My Travel by TripIt, Inc., shows where people in your LinkedIn network are traveling and when you will be in the same city as your colleagues. Users can share information on upcoming trips, current location, and travel stats.
Google Presentation by Google lets you upload a Microsoft Powerpoint file or use Google’s online application to embed a presentation on your profile.
Huddle Workspaces by Huddle.net gives you private, secure online workspaces packed with project, collaboration, and sharing tools for working with your connections.
WordPress by WordPress lets you connect your virtual lives and sync your WordPress blog posts with your LinkedIn profile.
Mary Shafer is the publisher at Word Forge Books, a small independent press in the Philadelphia metro area (wordforgebooks.com). She has written three historical nonfiction books, contributed to two published anthologies, and edited dozens of other titles. She runs The Word Forge, a marketing consultancy and copywriting firm, to support her publishing habit (see thewordforge.com).
LinkedIn Overview for Publishers & Authorsby Mary ShaferPg.PAGE 1