The Conquest of LinkedIn – Q & A
So you’ve got a decent presence on LinkedIn. Your resume is complete, searchable and easy to read. You’ve been networking, on and offline. Now what? What’s LinkedIn Q & A.
You may be seeing questions and answers coming up. Your contact feed might be dominated by notifications that Mary joined a group, or John answered a question. What does it all mean?
Once you’ve exhausted your basic set of contacts, the natural next step is to attempt to link to their contacts (e. g. convert your secondary and tertiary contacts into primary ones). And it may take you a while to make your way through all of these people. Or you might decide that some of them aren’t worth your time, perhaps due to simple geographic remoteness or their field(s) being significantly different from yours. So, how do you get a new and different crop of potential primary contacts? And, more importantly, how do you target the right people better, and spin your wheels less?
These can be found by going to the Groups page. Then just run a search on whatever interests you, say, Topeka or chemical engineering or Liberty Mutual, or even the Toronto Blue Jays. I would advise not to join any group under false pretenses, e. g. if it’s a group for Brown graduates, and you didn’t attend that university, don’t join that group.
By joining, say, a group about cycling, you’ve opened yourself up to more possible connections. But why would I want to join a cycling group on LinkedIn? Isn’t that what Facebook is for? Well, yes, if you want it for purely socializing. But here are a few reasons why you might want to join a LinkedIn cycling group:
- You own a company that sells cycling equipment and are looking for possible future customers, distributors and suppliers.
- You work for a healthcare company that is promoting proactive health initiatives, such as getting more exercise, and you’re looking for potential enrollees/customers or even physicians who share this outlook.
- You want to connect with someone and you know for a fact that this is an interest you have in common. So long as you aren’t faking the interest, this is a perfectly legitimate way to telegraph that commonality, or,
- You really like cycling.
That last reason might seem to be flip but there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing a little of your inner self online. Hiring Managers are often looking for little flashes of personality amidst all of the talk of tasks and company awards. And cycling, fortunately, has much less of a chance of turning people off, unlike being associated with a group devoted to the Tea Baggers, Catholicism or Gay Rights. Not that you can’t join any group that you like, of course, but do recognize that, just like joining such groups offline, there is a potential for some unintended consequences.
Keep in mind, too, that there’s a limit on the number of LinkedIn groups you can join. Hence your cycling group might have to be dropped in favor of a group of realtors in South Florida. So be it.
Answers can be another way to expose your profile to people outside of your immediate network. Answers may be accessed from here. There are any number of questions out there that are dying for answers. So long as you don’t try to hard sell your company, goods, services or yourself, and your answer is on point, your answer will be appreciated by the asker and/or by your fellow answerers, if any.
Or ask a question yourself. Give it a good, descriptive title and make it short. If it is answered, be sure to thank all of the responders, even if their answers weren’t very good, so long as the reply isn’t a spammy one (report spammy replies, of course!). And, be sure to select the Best Answer. When a responder’s work is chosen enough times as a Best Answer, he or she can get an Expert Designation on LinkedIn. I’ve actually gotten 5 Best Answers in Using LinkedIn, which I feel helps to showcase my approachability.
And you can be showcased, too, if you provide good responses to enough questions. Do that enough times, and people will ask to link to you because of that. They might even wish to hire you as an expert in the future, thereby fulfilling even more of LinkedIn’s promise.