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December 13, 2008

LinkedIn, networking and the death of Web 2.0

I just read Peter Shwartz' column on the death of Web 2.0  And while I agree about Facebook in particular, I think tales of the demise of Web 2.0 are greatly exaggerated.

LinkedIn  is an example of a site that has been evolving a lot. Beyond the trusted communications tool, and beyond the online CV tool, LinkedIn has been upgrading their site a lot lately, and they could easily become a center of relationship management and marketing for many consultants globally.

First the LinkedIn profile...

Of course every profile should have the standard CV type stuff on there. Summary of how brilliant you are, and a range of roles that you have worked in prior to today. You need to update this regularly. At least every three months to make sure your "Annual Report"  accurately reflects where you are today.

You can tell the old timers using LinkedIn. They're the guys with just one position, their current one. They don't want to look even the slightest bit disloyal by posting anything there about their past.

In fact, they seem to want to give out the impression that didn't have a life or carer before now!

The world isn't like that, don't make it hard for people to learn about you - make it easy. And if you still think loyalty is vertical  then you are sadly mistaken.

This is a phenomenal waste of opportunity. The people who check out LinkedIn are just potential employers. They are clients, future prospects, partners, investors and a range of other interested parties.

LinkedIn is quickly becoming your stamp on the world. Your coherent story of where you went and how you made a difference. In fact, it isn't just a statement about what you have is a statement about your authenticity as a scarce and valuable resource.

Collect recommendations: Not fake ones, real ones. From people who really want to give you a recommendation, and from people who other prospects/clients and partners may think of as authentic.

How do you do that? Easy, do a good job of course. Over deliver, be extraordinary, and make sure everyone knows about it. People appreciate professional  help, the world doesn't really have a lot of truly good consultants in it.

A good strong track record, vouched for by strong and respectable people, is one of the pillars of trust. And people buy from people that they trust.

Enough on the profile, everyone knows this. What else is there? Glad you asked...

LinkedIn and Modern Marketing

Groups: Have you seen the groups on LinkedIn? great feature. We run one here  for Consulting and I also run one here  for engineering.

They are great stuff, filled with good people and whats more they give you a real powerful chance to interact with other people.

Remember when LinkedIn started and there were all these "linkers" sending out anonymous invitations? Who could you have ended up connected to? Well today areas like groups gives you the chance to get to know other people.

Participate in the discussions - but don't use them as your personal sales channel okay! This is a room filled with professionals. You want to be extravagant and pick off a few of them? Or do you want to be a bit more classy and develop relationships with a lot of them? Your choice...

News Items: What about news items? This is a fantastic development. if you belong to a group that will allow news items then you can submit posts from your own blog. Again, standard stuff applies. More information than sales, soft marketing looking at developing relationships as a colleague, not sniping for clients as an interloper.

If you write about stuff for consultants, or on marketing or something like that and you would like to post them to our Group at Consulting Pulse  you are most welcome.

The good thing about news items is that they are sent out to everyone who has chosen to receive daily / weekly digests of whats going on.

So not spam, relevant stuff for people who want to receive it. And if they are browsing the site they get another chance to want to read it and so forth. I really like this feature. Whether it degenerates into Spam or not is really dependent on the group manager and how they choose to run their group.

If a group will not allow you to post any news items, then I won't join. This is a great way to interact with others, and a great way to get discussions going. Any attempt to silence it is more about protecting turf than creating a network group.

Events: Found these yesterday. Great application. Searched for all events relating to consulting globally and turned up pages and pages of great events. Not only that, but it also told me who in my network would be speaking, who would be attending and all sorts of good information.

In fact, I pitched for two of them while writing this post! And you can add your own if you like.

Slideshare: I like this site anyway. The fact that it is now in LinkedIn as well as an added bonus. I get to put my favorite slide decks on my profile page so that anybody who sees my profile can see them.

I also have links to Trippit so my contacts can see where I am going and maybe even catch up. And I have links to the books I am reading, just so people can see what sort of things I am interested in.

The possibilities are expanding every day with this site. Jobs / Answers / Surveys / recommendations, you name it. I for one intend to stay tuned. It is great to see a Web 2.0 site that is not subsidized solely by Google Adwords.

I should write a guide to LinkedIn you know....