After much networking over the last two years I’ve now reached LinkedIN’s 500+ connections. I’ve followed up every new meeting with a personally edited LinkedIN connection email. Was it worth all the time and effort? It was. The time investment has demonstrably helped our startup more than once. It’s also re-connected me with many long-lost colleagues.
Many people have said to me that LinkedIN‘s only good for recruitment. They’re right, it’s great for that. However its great for other things too. LinkedIN has help us find freelancers. We needed a web developer and designer last year for our Web site monitoring application startup Aware Monitoring. Without my LinkedIN connection to the lovely Mel Kirk, made after meeting her at the FOWA conference in 2007, we might never have found Luc Pestille. And Luc did a wonderful job for us 🙂 Before choosing to work with Luc we looked at 11 other developer designers, many found via LinkedIN.
LinkedIN is excellent for helping to understand and profile people. Whether they are business partners, suppliers, competitors or potential customers. The information brings great intelligence quickly and effectively. It’s now so easy to find out who’s the CTO or CEO of a company. A very useful tool to identity new contacts within potential customers. LinkedIN also helps maintain weak tie relationships and friendships when people change jobs. I’ve spoken, emailed and met-up with many old friends and colleagues since using LinkedIN.
LinkedIN have cleverly made it worth your while putting the effort into growing your network. More connections brings a greater visibility to 2nd/ 3rd degree contacts. Your loose tie network grows! In theory I now have over 5million 3rd degree connections.The founder and former CEO Reid Hoffman has tapped really well into the ideas of ‘six degrees of separation‘, ‘network effects‘ and ‘business social networking‘. Hoffman and LinkedIN have done great job in making a useful business social service!
UPDATE: Ian Brodie and Webex have carried out a poll on ‘How to Use LinkedIN to win new business: poll results’ – these interesting and useful results echo my personal findings.