Social media strategist Nate Riggs reveals how entrepreneurs’ investment in these LinkedIn social utility features will save them time in the long run.
There are a few things you come to accept after some time working in the startup and expansion-stage game:
- You wear a lot of hats, so your idle time becomes scarce.
- Building, maintaining, and leveraging your professional connections is absolutely critical for survival in this business.
- Early on, it’s easier to learn to beg for and borrow expert advice than to pay for expert consulting hours.
But fear not! You and I have the world’s largest and longest-standing professional social network, right at our fingertips.
LinkedIn, now a publicly traded company, was one of the earliest social networks to gain velocity toward mass adoption. With humble beginnings in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002, LinkedIn is now a virtual, professional home to more than 161 million members in over 200 countries.
As a company, LinkedIn currently operates out of more than 25 separate locations scattered across the globe, employing 2,447 full-time associates. Management at LinkedIn is made up of seasoned leaders from other tech giants like Yahoo!, Electronic Arts, Google, Microsoft, TiVo and PayPal.
What does all of this mean?
For one, it’s safe to assume that LinkedIn will probably be around for a while. Making an investment of your time and energy to learn how to take advantage of this professional social network is in your best interests.
Secondly, investing a little time and energy in learning how to apply some of LinkedIn’s time-saving features to your daily routine will help you steel back a few hours each week.
To help you get started, here’s a detailed list of three features you can start experimenting with right away.
1. Get focused, peer-recommended industry news delivered to your inbox.
In early March of 2011, LinkedIn launched a new feature the company branded as LinkedIn Today. This incredibly powerful media consumption tool was designed to meet the needs of LinkedIn’s busy professional users who like to stay up to date on the latest trends, popular articles, and industry news, but have little time to sift through all the noise and find the most relevant content nuggets.
LinkedIn Today provides a solution to by using a proprietary algorithm that automatically crawls your network of connections to determine what articles they are sharing. It then compares those results to what your industry peers are sharing and which of those stories are appealing to a wider outside audience. The results of the quieres can be set to deliver to your inbox in a weekly or daily digest, saving you time and making sure you are up to speed on the important news in your industry.
With LinkedIn Today, you have the ability to adjust your settings to focus your content by ‘following’ specific industries or publications. LinkedIn will also recommend new sources based on the filters you set up, much like Amazon recommends relevant products based on your shopping behavior. You also have the ability to save articles, share them across groups, profiles, and individual connections.
Recently, LinkedIn Today was given a facelift to make it even more user friendly. Staying true to the latest design trends, the new LinkedIn Today has an endless vertical layout allowing users to browse through content similar to how you would keep scrolling down when browsing boards and pins on Pinterest.
2. Search, track, and connect with top talent, partners and potential customers.
Back in 2009, if you wanted to get any value out of searching LinkedIn to find other professionals based on the keywords present in their profile copy, you had to use a specific set of search operators that would help manipulate and refine the results of your query.
Today, LinkedIn’s Advanced Search functionality might be one of the best iterations of search features that any social network (including Google+, ironically) has seen in quite some time. To put the shift in perspective, consider that almost 4.2 billion professionally oriented searches were preformed on the platform over the course of 2011.
LinkedIn’s Advanced Search allows you to filter results based on keyword data, relevancy against your personal social graph, industry, location and about a dozen other sets of criteria. All of this is provided in the free features and you can also have saved searchers delivered directly to your inbox.
If you’re in some way responsible developing new business or even securing investment funding, invest a few dollars paying for LinkedIn’s upgraded search. Access to the data housed on the world’s largest social network of global professionals will save you time and maybe even a few missed opportunities.
3. Get fast and free expert advice from other experienced professionals.
My third tip for you is best summed up in this video I shot a few years back with my friend and management consultant, Perry Maughmer.
While it’s a bit dated, the fundamental and counter-intuitive approach to using LinkedIn’s Answers feature is a brilliant way to both build expert connections and get free advice and guidance that can help your startup navigate the path to success.
The ball is now in your court.
While startup entrepreneurs might be some of the hardest-working and busiest folks around, try to make a point this week to invest a little time into exploring LinkedIn’s newer social utility features. I think you’ll find that you’ve been missing some valuable automations that will save you time over the long term.
And, when you’re clicking around and exploring the features, don’t be afraid to come back here and tell me what I’ve missed in the comments. If you have specific questions on any feature or how to best use LinkedIn, feel free to connect with me on the network.
Editor’s Note: This is the sixth post in a multi-week series on how to effectively leverage social media for your B2B Business. In the previous post, social media strategist and self-described “Corporate Comedian” Tim Washer explained Why B2B Brands Shouldn’t Be So Scared of Comedic Content and Social Media. Prior to that, social media and content strategist Jay Baer delivered Tips for Turning Your B2B Facebook Page Into a Beacon for Your Brand. Join us next week for another post in this series on social media, and in the meantime, find out how the most influential VCs are utilizing LinkedIn by checking out OpenVIew’s recent report, “The Top 10 Most Influential Technology Venture Capital Firms Online”.