My association with LinkedIn began a long time ago. It was almost like a relationship. We both were excited to be with one another. Giddy from the newness, I immediately fell into LinkedIn land as I fully involved myself in ensuring my LinkedIn account was up to date and complete. At about 70 percent, I suddenly grew weary of LinkedIn. It felt as though I was putting far too much into this relationship and receiving nothing in return. It was then that I realized that I had had enough. It had to end. And thus, 70 percent into my relationship with LinkedIn, I let it go. No, I didn’t delete it. Instead I just stood around and waited for it to realize, it owed me back! However, that didn’t happen. In the bargain, my relationship with LinkedIn soured. And our relationship status? It’s complicated.
I’m not sure why, but I can’t really get myself around LinkedIn. It really is a like a man for me; I just don’t get it (or them with reference to men). But people I know, swear by it. They promise me that if I spend even 20 minutes a day on LinkedIn, I’ll make a world of a difference to my own career. I however, am a skeptic. Social Media of all forms are meant to help networking. To me, LinkedIn complicates it. There are all these rather foreign ideas, plus the thought of having to add someone you know because of XYZ reasons is rather frightening. What if I just want to add someone to network with? Why is that option not allowed? You need to actually know the person before they can be a part of your LinkedIn circle. It’s a bit cliquey if you ask me.
While reading the slides from LinkedIn: Best Practices, I realized immediately a very important and unfortunate thing: I was wrong; and how! See, I’m one for branding. I believe that if you can create a brand for yourself, you’ve won half the battle. And very quickly, through these slides, I learned that LinkedIn can do just that. More than often, branding requires you to network with the who’s who and what’s what of your industry. And more than often, you land up looking for people who are impossible to find. “Connects you to trusted contacts” one slide told me. That is exactly what I was looking for! A site that would help me find contacts who are in the field and yet ones who are able to help you move ahead. Through these “trusted contacts” one is always looking to do partake in yet another benefit of LinkedIn, “Create, develop and maintain business relationships”. We all know the importance of maintaining relationships for all the right reasons. LinkedIn apparently, can help you do just that.
Talking more about branding, the slide explained exactly what I wanted to know all this time. “Have a LinkedIn profile headline that properly brands you”. Bingo. Now that is some million dollar piece of advice. If we’re all about branding, then really, LinkedIn should allow us to brand ourselves correctly and thus, this piece of advice allows us to get stand out with our brand name the minute we start on LinkedIn.
What I’ve always secretly admired about LinkedIn, is how one can connect with people from all over the world – “70 million members in 200 countries” to be precise. So if at any point I decided I wanted to work in India, through LinkedIn, I could probably find a number of people in my desired field through LinkedIn.
Oh, what I loved more than anything was this fabulous rule of thumb: “Multiply your age by 10 and that is the minimum number of contacts that you should aim for”. Yes, basically, I have a lot of connecting and networking to do.
Okay so I was wrong about LinkedIn. It basically does have its advantages and yes, like most relationships, needs some work. Whatever you plough in, you’ll get out. I have lots of ploughing to do.