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June 13, 2009

What is LinkedIn?

"What is LinkedIn?" is starting to become one of the more frequent questions I get as I travel around the place.

First of all, it is not Facebook. If you go there expecting to just collect connections like you do on Facebook then you have another thing coming. 

But...the short answer is another question, what is a network? 

If you are an executive, middle manager or operative in any of the fortune 500 companies then your network is the key to your future success. It is the place you can go to to get inside industry information, seek referrals on people and companies, find out about the latest technologies, and trade ideas about how to improve aspects of your business.

It plays a major factor in your companies performance, your career prospects, your ability to be seen as an expert, and your ability to tap into the pulse of whatever it is that your business does. 

If you are in the business of B2B services, then it literally means the difference between life and death. If you are in this game and you have not yet realized that it is all about relationships...then I am sure that business is hard right now. 

I think of LinkedIn as the 24/7 trade show that everybody came to. It is the only place where you could find the LinkedIn profiles of people such as:

  • Group Vice President and General Manager JD Edwards Enterprise One at Oracle Corp
  • SVP Bank of America eCommerce
  • CEO, President and Board Member at Alpha Sintered Metals, Inc.
  • VP Synthetics at Exxon Mobil Corp
  • Vice-President at Exxon Mobil Russia
  • Senior Vice President at Saudi Chevron Phillips Co
  • President & CEO at AIG Rail Services
  • VP Human Resources at Ford Motor
  • Vice President Francisco Partners (Venture Capital)
In fact, when used right, LinkedIn will provide you with the ability to expand your professional network to reach further than it could have at any other time in history.
And it will do so without opening you up to spam, uninvited targeting and a range of other common internet problems. 
For those of you in the sales and marketing fields within the B2B industry I have posted some useful information on how to grow and use your LinkedIn network here. 
And for all of us here is a light hearted view of some of the ways you could get it really wrong on LinkedIn
I hope this sheds some light on things. 

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