On Saturday, #tweetdiner launched the “How to build your brand online” series with a discussion of LinkedIn. The first question I asked everyone was whether they felt LinkedIn was a necessary site to use if you are trying to build a brand online. There was quite a lot of debate about that issue, but the reason for the debate was very interesting. As it turns out, to a lot of people, LinkedIn is simply a resume site and nothing more.
I’m on the LinkedIn Fence
Three years ago, I had the great privilege of seeing Lewis Howes speak at the SummitUp conference in Dayton, Ohio. If you’ve heard Lewis speak in real life before, you know that he is engaging, funny, and a huge supporter of LinkedIn. That speech, in addition to a break-out session that focused tons on what a great tool LinkedIn is, convinced me that I really needed to dig in a bit more.
When I got home from the conference, I started filling out my profile, and just like on Twitter, I started looking for the big names to connect to. That didn’t seem to do much good though. I had a lot of uncertainties on my mind too. LinkedIn kept prompting me to get some recommendations to flesh out my profile. Well, that’s kind of awkward, especially if you’re just reconnecting with someone after years and years. Do you post status updates on LinkedIn the way you do on Facebook? I tried importing Twitter last year when I first started tweeting and discovered, after I started joining chats, that ALL of my tweets were being dumped into LinkedIn. That made me feel bad. Oddly, no one yelled at me. Was my profile that invisible?
For all of the raving and praise I had seen LinkedIn receive, I was not seeing much action myself. And in fact, that’s still the case today. As a person who loves online engaging, LinkedIn is quite the conundrum.
How to engage on LinkedIn
For people who are strong supporters of LinkedIn, nothing I said above really makes any sense. There are two super easy ways to engage with other people on LinkedIn.
1. Groups: Groups can offer the same kind of interaction that Twitter chats do, only you don’t have to worry about the information flying past your head at 90 miles per hour. You find a group that is relevant to your industry, you join, you start chatting. Boom. Done.
2. The Questions & Answers section: The Q&A section of LinkedIn is a bit hidden as it’s under the “more” tab. However, if you know that it’s there, it can be a pretty easy way to engage with people. There are questions divided up by all sorts of industries and then sub-divisions within your industry. Fly around in there, offer insightful answers, and you might even become the top consultant in that category.
What could be easier than that?
I don’t know about you, but so far, I haven’t found either of those options particularly easy to build on.
My experience (and keep in mind, this is just me talking) with groups has generally gone 1 of 2 ways. Either the group is essentially dormant (I think I saw tumbleweeds roll across one) or every thread is a promotion of someone’s blog. The groups haven’t really been places where I have found it easy to engage with people.
I know a lot of people have had great experiences in this segment of the site, so maybe it’s just the particular areas I’m interested in, but it seems like a lot of the questions are asking for huge chunks of information that aren’t really realistic for a venue like that. For example, one question I saw was something like, “Please outline for me all of the steps involved in creating a marketing campaign, including how you make your decisions, how to choose publications, and what the campaign theme should be.”
Um, no. I love ya, but I’m not going to give away what I do professionally.
So again, even though I know a lot of people love engaging in that part of the site, I haven’t had much luck with it.
So where do you fall in the LinkedIn spectrum? Do you believe it’s just a static resume site? Do you feel like engagement is possible but like me, you haven’t had a lot of luck with it? Or do you love LinkedIn and think I’m a total nut now?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This is post #47 in the Engagement Series. I hope you are finding this series useful, really and truly!
Image by S Brumley. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/LilGoldWmn