5 Steps to Thrive on LinkedIn

I posted this video as one of the last Linked Intuition posts.  Unfortunately the URL was corrupted and left out the .com in the URL.  So Here we go again.  This is an interview in which I talk about the 5 Steps to Thrive on LinkedIn.


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The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide

90% of the users on LinkedIn are still trying to figure it out.  Many of these people won’t take the time required to develop a solid foundation.  My new eBook, “The LinkedIn MBA” is available based on the price you set.

linkedmba_smallThis is the book I wrote to explain to friends the purpose and use of each page and link on LinkedIn.  I like to say its “Painstakingly Detailed”.  If you have laser focus, read it cover to cover.  If you’re like me, periodically focus challenged, you may be better of using it as a reference guide.

If you have a question about Answers, read the Answers chapter.  Need to know something about Account Settings, read the Account Settings chapter.  The book’s chapter structure is based on the navigational structure of LinkedIn.  No appendix needed.

It’s the guide that I wished I had in June of 2006, 2007, and 2008.  For those of you still trying to get up to speed this book is for you.

There is also a number of people who are on LinkedIn that have not been able to take that next step to making LinkedIn a productive tool.  How do you go from connecting to monetization?  It’s not a short step.

It takes a strategy which has been the missing link in just about every LinkedIn book.  There are some folks who have connected into opportunities, reconnected into opportunities, and found business, but it’s been hit or miss.

LI_marketing_secret_formula_smallThe LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula” seeks to change the dynamic by laying out a strategy that you can use on a daily basis to communicate your message to tens of thousands of LinkedIn members.  It shows you how to get under the sales radar.  You’ll learn how to conduct ongoing marketing activities to drive activity.

Some people will argue that there’s no place on LinkedIn for sales or marketing.  I agree and disagree.  There’s no place for up front direct sales pitches and SPAM.  There is a place for using the available LinkedIn tools to provide value and communicate your message indirectly.

Some stress that it’s a networking tool not a lead generation tool.  My response is that I like my connections but I love my new client’s.  It should be both.

While typing this post I received two calls from people needing help with their health insurance.  One was from a Chamber friend (offline networking is still important) passing on a referral; the other was from someone who I have never spoken to before.  Because of the strategies detailed in the “LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula” I was top of mind when she had a health insurance need.

If you’re still trying to understand LinkedIn and the available features download a copy of “The LinkedIn MBA”.

If you’re ready to take the next step and learn how to strategically use LinkedIn to grow your business get a copy of the “LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula“.  The book is regularly $39.95 but for the next seven days I am offering a 40% discount, so the end price is $23.97.  To get the discount use the following Discount code:  x40sbsbr

I also detail in the book how I used LinkedIn to drive traffic to my blog growing from 2,200 visits in March to over 20,000 in May.

For those of you who have read the Linked Intuition blog over the last 17 months, thank you.  It has been my pleasure to be part of your LinkedIn experience.

9 Ways to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

enhance answersYour goal on LinkedIn is to first “be found”, and second “be found credible”.  With that in mind, you want to do everything possible to enhance your profile.  This includes the content you place on your profile page and the ways that people find your profile.

Here are 9 ways to create an effective profile moving from the top of the profile page to the bottom.  These simple changes can make a difference in the effectiveness of your profile.

1. Replace your Title with a Tag Line

At the top of the profile page just under the member name most people include their title…project manager, insurance agent, president.  While I guess your title says something about you it likely doesn’t say anything about how you can help others.

My job is to help people find the best health insurance plan for them in terms of coverage and price.  It’s what I do that provides value.  My title is Insurance Broker.  It’s what I am but doesn’t necessarily catch anyone’s attention.   Each time I answer a questions, post a discussion question, or add a news article in a group a mini profile is displayed including usually my name and title/tag line.

Let’s take a look at using a title verses using a tag line.  Which is more likely to be noticed:

Sean Nelson
Insurance Broker

Or

Sean Nelson
Helping individuals and small businesses in Atlanta save up to 60% on their health insurance and employee benefits

Using a tag line is a great way to communicate a quick message to anyone viewing your profile.

2. Personalize Your Web URL’s

If you look at many profiles you will see that many people add a link to their website to their profile.  Most often you see this listed as My Company, My Website,  or My Blog.  You want to make sure if you list your websites that you personalize the name

To personalize your web URL’s click on the [ Edit ] link next to your websites.  On the drop down box for type of link there is an option for “Other”.  Choose this option and you will be able to add a customized name for each link.

3. Personalize your LinkedIn profile URL

The first thing to do is to update your profile URL.  The default URL consists of random numbers and letters.  Change this so that it incorporates your name.  There are many people with the same name so you may find that your name is not available.  Use your middle initial or some other variation. Continue reading 9 Ways to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

10 Part Series: Can LinkedIn Work for You?

In November I wrote a post about the ways you can use LinkedIn.  From that post I followed up with a post on 9 areas of using LinkedIn.  Part 10 was released last week.  Even though all 10 post are on the blog I still tend to get a couple of requests for links to the other articles.

Here are all 10 parts of the series.  LinkedIn has changed since this series started, but most of the articles should still be very relevant.  Enjoy.

LinkedIn Part 1: Can LinkedIn Work For You? – November 29th, 2008

LinkedIn Part 2: Enhancing Your Networking – December 14th, 2008

LinkedIn Part 3: Establishing Credibility – January 15th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 5: I Highly Recommend Recommendations – February 17th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 4: Connecting Your Offline and Online Brand – February 2nd, 2009

LinkedIn Part 6: A Stage to Engage Your Audience – March 3rd, 2009

LinkedIn Part 7: Research Potential Partners and Alliances – March 8th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 8: Find a New Job – March 10th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 9: Be found – April 20th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 10: Providing Value to Your Network – April 27th, 2009

LinkedIn Part 10: Providing Value to Your Network

In the original article in this series the last three ways I noted to use LinkedIn were to share knowledge and expertise, introduce connections, and recommend worthy individuals.  Each of these is a way to provide value to your network, so I thought I would cover them together.

While you might argue whether it’s better to give than receive, the two are equally important.  In a perfect networking world you would receive equal to what you have given.  In real life you often have to do a lot of giving to get the “receiving pump” primed.

Share Knowledge and Experience
The average LinkedIn member is 41 years old and has a household income of $109,703.  80.1% are a college grad or post grad (37%).  Clearly there is a wealth of knowledge and experience available among its users. (Stats provided by Nathan Kieveman, of Linked Secrets).

One of the most important ways that you can provide value to your network and fellow members is by sharing your knowledge and experience.  LinkedIn provides several ways to do this:

LinkedIn Answers is a great place to answer questions posted by other members.  The most important part is to answer questions where you provide value.  It’s not about answering as many questions as you can to try and obtain expert status.  Well thought out answers add to your credibility, flippant or silly answers subtract from it.

Since online credibility doesn’t exist in a vacuum, a well thought out answer could provide value (from those who agree) and subtract value (from those who disagree with your point).  My perspective is that if your answer is sincere, the positives will far outweigh the negatives.

Within groups there is a tremendous amount of information shared through discussions.  Groups have the advantage of being somewhat more targeted, since membership is based around a common factor.

Finally, you can share information through applications.  The statistics above were shared by Nathan using the Slideshare application.  Incorporating your blog into your profile is another great way to share information.  The Amazon application allows you to share what you are reading.  Take a look at the available applications to see how you can share information with your fellow members.

Introducing Connections
Each of our networks is made up of people that are from different backgrounds, industries, experience levels, etc.  Each network is unique and you are at the center of your network.  You likely have people in your network that you know very well, people that you know of, and possibly people you don’t know very well.

For those you know well you probably have an idea of the people they are trying to network with.  You can be of service by introducing them to those in your network that they are seeking out.

For those that you don’t know well you may be able to introduce them to people you would expect them to want to get to know.  Real estate agents and Mortgage brokers are two types of people that would benefit from being introduced.  Financial planners love introductions to CPA’s.

For those you don’t know you can still provide value by paying attention to what they ask for.  It might be that in their profile they state who they are seeking.  It might be a status update that states that they are “looking to connect with small business owner, or maybe attorneys.

LinkedIn makes it simple by including a “Forward this Profile” text link on each profile page.  Clicking on it allows you to choose a recipient (actually up to 200 recipients) and to create your message to the recipient (like invitations avoid the sample text and create a personalized message).

Providing Recommendations
The ability to give and receive recommendations is one of the most powerful features of LinkedIn.  Most people are uncomfortable with tooting their own horn.  In most businesses, though, what set them apart are the people doing the work.  You can have the best system in place, but if it’s not backed by quality people its success will be limited.

As you look through your connections try to find those in your direct network who have provided a product or service.  If the value received was great don’t keep them a secret.  If someone has gone out of their way to help you, let others know.

A good rule of thumb is that if someone asked you about a particular person would you say they’re a “Good Person” or a “Great Person”.  If the answer is “Great”, there’s likely a recommendation waiting to happen.

There will be times when another person asks you for a recommendation and you do not feel comfortable providing one.  The service may not have been that great.  You may not know the person well enough.  In these cases a good rule of thumb is to respond with a quick message detailing why you’re not comfortable providing one at this point.

Receiving a recommendation is something that should be earned.

Wrap Up

As you go about providing value to your network you will begin to receive value in return.  It may simply be a link back to your profile (such as when asking / answering a question or providing a recommendation), it may result in a visit to your profile (added exposure), and it may be returned in the form of a new client or connection.

Most people share value because they simply want to help others.  Any value received is simply gravy.
________________________

This is the last part in this 10 part series.  Next week I’ll post a link to all 10 parts.  Since things change fairly quick around LinkedIn I will review each article to make updates.

LinkedIn Part 9: Be found

linkedin_billboardPop Quiz:  Who is more likely to be found on LinkedIn?

A.  Has 60 connections B.  Has 500 connections
A.  Never answers questions B.  Answers 3 questions each week
A.  Never gives recommendations B.  Provides recommendations
A.  Rarely updates Status B.  Updates status 3 times per week
A.  Has minimal info in profile B.  Detailed profile with photo
A.  Has not listed interests B.  List several non-work related interests
A.  No Applications B.  Has 4 applications on profile
A.  Belongs to 5 groups B.  Belongs to 50 groups

I could continue with the list but I think you get the point.

Think of your profile as an interactive billboard.  The billboard has been erected but you’re waiting for traffic to drive by it.  You can wait and hope that someone takes a wrong turn and sees you, or you can try to detour traffic past your billboard.

The majority of billboard owners simply wait for something to happen.  Everyone has told them how great LinkedIn is and it cost nothing to put up their billboard.  Periodically they link to other billboards hoping that something will happen.

When you first put up your billboard it’s on a lonely two way road out in the country.  Your goal should be to move it towards a busy traffic filled interstate.  That takes time and activity.  If you wait for it to happen it may never do so.  If you take control and determine that you will have traffic, it can be done with a little elbow grease.

Here are some ways you can drive traffic (really pull) to your billboard:

Design it Well:
Its words and pictures presented in a cohesive effort.  You need to make sure that when someone sees your billboard that it effectively tells your story.  Having a profile photo that supports what you do is important.  Doing keyword research on your industry and product or service, and then listing these wherever possible on your profile is a huge part of the equation.

Customizing your URL’s isn’t much but it matters.  The same goes for listing hobbies and interests.  You never know how or why someone will find your billboard, it just matters that many people do.

Try to update what you are doing at least three times a week.  I prefer business related updates, but I’ve seen some who post everyday like on Twitter.  PingFM is a good resource that will allow you to update micro-blogs at several sites.

Finally applications allow you to take your profile from two dimensional to three dimensional.

Your profile should be a work in progress.  Each time you update a piece of it your network is notified on their Home page that you have an updated profile.  This will drive traffic.

Answers:
Asking questions allows you to tap into the knowledge resources of other users.  Answering questions allows you to share knowledge.  Both are part of the credibility building process.  And both result at a minimum in a link to your profile.

Doing both will drive traffic to your billboard.  It’s not necessarily targeted traffic, but once again you never know where the next opportunity will come from.  Whenever I see an answer that captures my attention I always view the profile of the person providing the answer.  Sometimes that’s all, but in some cases it’s led to new connections or opportunities.

Try to answer 5 questions a week and commit to asking one question per week.  The caveat is that you have to provide value when answering a question and generate interest when asking a question.

Recommendations:
Recommendations given are a way to provide value to someone who has helped you or someone that you think highly of.  Recommendations received are a way for your network to provide value to you.  In both cases a link is created back to the giver and the receiver’s profile.  It’s another great way to be found.

Recommendations from clients go a step further.  It gets you a listing in the LinkedIn Service Providers directory.  This is probably one of the least utilized features of LinkedIn and that’s a shame.  Service Providers used to be one of the main LinkedIn sections but when the Companies section was launched it was moved within the new section.  The only reference you will see is a text link on the Companies home page.

Often I will be asked to help someone with their insurance in another state that I’m not licensed in.  I always search through the Service Providers directory to find a resource to help the person.

You should strive to have at least 10 recommendations and provide at least 15.  Once you hit those numbers keep it going.

Groups:
On a webinar last week one of the moderators mentioned that they thought the real value to be found on LinkedIn was within groups and not your direct network.  That’s a bold statement, but I think they may be on to something.

Within your personal network reaching out to 2nd and 3rd degree connections is cumbersome, unless you have a paying account and have access to InMail.  With groups the barriers to communicating with anyone are removed.

I have about 490 direct connections and close to 4.5 million total people in my network.  I can only easily contact those 1st degree connections.  Within my groups there are close to 250,000 members.  I can reach out and contact any at any time.

When I update my profile my 490 connections are notified of my action.  But with groups, when I participate in a discussion question or post a news article I can potentially reach 250,000 people.

If I choose my groups wisely then I have the ability to market to a specific target.  You can also create a group to develop a target group.  I do a lot of business in North Fulton County in Georgia.  About a year ago I started the North Fulton Business Group and the group has grown to close to 300 people.  With my group I have the ability to communicate with business professionals in a defined area.  That’s powerful.

Disclaimer: Starting a group is easy.  Getting member to join isn’t.  Use your connections and other groups to find your first 100 members.  After that it will start to grow on its own.  The larger your group grows the easier it will be to add new members.

You can be a member of up to 50 groups and you should focus on finding groups that are filled with your target customers or alliance partners.

Wrap Up
There has been an explosion in the number of people talking about social networking, but often the point is missed that what LinkedIn really provides is social marketing.  By actively participating in all of the features of LinkedIn you will help drive traffic to your billboard.  Visitors can choose to stop and read your billboard, and then can initiate contact, through connecting or engaging in your product or service.

In the movie Field of Dreams the unseen voice is heard to say “If you build it, they will come”.  On LinkedIn that’s not enough.  Listen close and you’ll hear “If you’re active, they will come.”

The LinkedIn Light Bulb is Flickering

 

It could be argued that much of your LinkedIn experience derives from your LinkedIn strategy.  Do seek to connect with pretty much anyone, like a Lion?  Do you only connect with those that you know very well, like a Turtle?  Or do you connect with those you know and those you would like to know, like a Hound Dog?

If you read this blog on a regular basis you’ve noticed that I keep coming back to these three strategies.  There’s a reason for that.  I find my self changing strategies after almost three years on LinkedIn.

Here is what I used to believe.  I believed that protecting the value of your network required that you know or have plans to get to know those that you were connected to.  I believed that it only made sense to add new connections as I met people within my chamber or other offline networking events.  Since my prospects are in Georgia I believed that there was limited value in connecting to others outside of the state.

Here is what I believe now.  I believe that opportunities are not constrained by boundaries.  I believe that those in my network can benefit from connections that I do not know or have never met with or spoken to.  I believe that there are opportunities out there among people that I do not know.  And finally, I believe that 99% of the time a larger network will provide more value than a smaller network.

It wasn’t one particular thing that changed my perspective.  It was a combination of things and the change occurred fairly quick.

1.  I actually started prospecting using the LinkedIn Companies search to prospect.  My target was simple; companies in Atlanta with 11 to 50 employees, in creative or technology industries.  In my search I identified about 150 companies that fit my profile and realized that I was connected to less than 50% of these opportunities.  Clearly with more of the right connections I would have a higher percentage with employees in my network.

2.  LinkedIn made significant changes to Groups.  Adding the ability to have discussions and post news articles immediately expanded my reach based on the number of members in the groups I belong to.  Each group represents a collection of individuals with a common interest.  In essence they are a specific target.

The next logical step was to identify the groups that my target market belong to and join these groups.  I can now participate in discussions and post news articles to introduce myself.  And I can contact these individual and extend connection invitations without having to use InMail (which is only available on paid accounts and the number available is minimal)

Today I connected with three individuals in my target market.  One was the President of one of my target companies and the other two are simply connected in the target industries.  The first will allow me to have a warm approach to attempt to secure a meeting.  The other two help me connect further into my targetted industries.

In my invitation to all three I simply let them know that I was looking to build my network within the creative community in Atlanta.  I included the names of some common connections.  And I mentioned that I wrote a LinkedIn related blog and that if I could ever help them with LinkedIn to let me know.

The worst thing that can happen is that my connection invitation is ignored.  While I know that I will not have success with every connection invitation, there are a couple of things that are working in my favor.

First people want to help where possible.  Second, people are looking to build their own networks.  Third, the use of common connections established a baseline of credibility.  Fourth, by writing a LinkedIn blog and offering to help them I’m providing value.

About a year ago I started a group based around the county that I do most of my networking.  Over time this group has grown to about 300 local business professionals.  This week I sent an invitation to connect to each member of the group that was not in my direct network.

In this invitation I introduced myself as a fellow member and manager of the group.  I simply stated that I started the group to help people connect and in that spirit I was extending an invitation to connect.  Then I added the value.  I let them know that I was organizing an offline networking meeting for the group and would appreciate any suggestions for a location.

In two days I’ve added over 100 new connections, had several ask me to help them with their health insurance, and received numerous thanks for reaching out to connect.  Each of these connections is in Atlanta.

Little by little I’m building a strong local network.

I had lunch with a new connection that I met in another group (I’ll post the story next week) who is an active open networker.  He doesn’t post his email in his profile, but he uses groups to actively connect to folks all over.  Last week he launched a blog and posted a link to it in each of his groups.  He had over 300 unique visitors in the first day and his blog has grown to over 800 visitors a day.

His content is good and that keeps people coming back.  But it was the membership and participation in groups that allowed him to gain exposure and the initial visits.

I used to believe that there was no right or wrong strategy on LinkedIn.  Now I believe that if you’re not actively growing your network you’re missing the point.  The point is that opportunities are out there and the more connections you have the more likely you are to find them.  Or have them find you.

Detail your profile, join groups, and expand your connections.  A simple strategy to make LinkedIn more effective.

The Average LinkedIn Network

Numbers are always interesting to consider.  Take for instance the 40+ million users on LinkedIn (not an official number but an educated guess).  That’s a pretty impressive number.  But, more important is the number of people that are active.  The value of one member in your network is not equal to the value of another.

But how do you place a value on each member?  A person in your network with 50 connections could be more valuable then one with 500 connections.  That being said, the likelyhood is that the person with 500 connections is more active and thus will provide more value.

This thought got me to thinking about my network so I decided to take a look to see how active it was in terms of connections.  My network has grown over time primarily through networking, so I think it’s breakdown is representative of the average member network.

Here’s a breakdown of my network based on the range of connections each person has:

  • 0 – 99:  54.4%
  • 100 -199:  23.2%
  • 200 – 299:  9.3%
  • 300 – 399:  4.2%
  • 400 – 499:  1.8%
  • 500+:  7.1%

77.6% of my network has less than 200 connections and more than half have less than 100 connections.  I would argue that with the number of people on LinkedIn and the ease of connecting, if you have less than 200 connections you’re not that active of a user.  If I take these percentages and apply them to the 40 million LinkedIn user base, I can assume that LI only has about 9 million active users (members with more than 200 connections).

Some people will argue that basing value on the number of connections is missing the point.  They would say that the value is based on how connected you are to your network.  I used to agree with this perspective.  Now I don’t.

Over time I’ve come to realize that opportunities are not determined strictly by those you know.  Opportunity also exists with those you don’t know.  You just might not have discovered the opportunity yet.

I started becoming active on LinkedIn when a member that I did not know contacted me based on my profile to help some client’s of hers.  And that’s the point.  You never know when opportunity will knock, but I can tell you that the more active you are, the more connections you have, and the larger your network, the more probability of success you will have.

If LinkedIn is a way to get your message and brand out to others, then it’s really a marketing vehicle.  I sell insurance and if I only worked with those I know, I wouldn’t be very successful.  Granted it’s an easier sell to those I know.  But it doesn’t benefit me to restrict my message.

Each new connection is a new set of eyeballs available to review my profile to determine if I can help them.  It’s a new set of eyballs when I answer a question, post a recommendation, add an application and when I update my “What are you doing now” micro-post.  They are also potential opportunities to my network.

Even better, as these folks hopefully become more active and add connections, my network and reach grows with them.

Too many people are waiting around for someone else to tell them how to use LinkedIn.  You can definitely learn from others, but in the end you have to take what you learn and apply it to your unique situation.

Have you started using LinkedIn productively?  Have you figured out how to take it from a nice social networking tool and convert it to a money making opportunity?

On the Path to Lionhood

In my last post I described the three types of networkers, or networking strategies on LinkedIn:  LION, Turtle and Hound Dog.  For the last 18 months I’ve pretty much considered myself a Hound Dog.  I connect to those I know and those I would like to know.

My job is helping people find the best option for their health insurance needs.  Specifically in the state of Georgia.  While connections outside of the state might help my network in terms of size, it really wasn’t that relevant to business.  Plus I figured that the more connected I was to my network the more valuable it would be to my connections.

I’m beginning to think that while the thought was well intentioned, it was also flawed.

Here’s why.  “How do I know that my network would only benefit from those that I know?”  From an introduction perspective it would definitely be more valuable if I knew the person I was being asked to pass an introduction request to.  But isn’t there some value in simply being connected to someone and being able to pass on an introduction request.

I’m going to assume that in the history of LinkedIn there have been introduction requests accepted even though the person passing the request on did not know the end recipient.  Therefore there is value in connecting to those you don’t know.

Let me make it simple.  I connect to Tom Jones who I don’t know and who lives in another state.  Bill James, who I do know and is a connection, searches his network for someone with Tom’s skills.  Tom comes up in the search and I am Bill’s only connection to Tom.  Bill asks for an introduction to Tom.  I pass the introduction on to Tom and this leads to Tom finding a new client and Bill solving an issue he had.

The end result is that from a connection I did not personally know I will have helped two people.

I have not gone on a connection binge.  And I have no plans to post my email address in my profile or with my name.  But I have become more receptive to connecting with people I have not met.  A new connection in Los Angeles will likely never need my help with an insurance plan, but they might need the assistance of a one of my connections.  And they might have another connection in Atlanta who sees my profile and needs help with insurance.

LinkedIn’s philosophy is that you connect with those you know.  I can appreciate the thought behind their position.  But where I’m beginning to find new value in LinkedIn is in finding or stumbling upon the hidden opportunities that would never have been available had I not connected beyond my natural network.

I admit I’m still getting used to the idea of going from a dog to a cat (LION) in terms of my connection strategy.  One thing that might make me more comfortable with the idea is the connections tagging function now being beta tested.  This would allow me to classify my connections as a friend, a client, a business partner, and who knows what else.  I am not part of the test users so I don’t know what any of the tags are.

Let’s hope that when it’s released that it allows your connections to see how you classify the relationships of each of your connections.  That way, they’ll know beforehand whether or not you know the person they’re asking you to help introduce them to.

How about you, what’s your connection strategy?  Do you find that it’s changing over time?

LinkedIn Benefits Don’t Follow a Straight Line

Most of us joined LinkedIn because we hoped that it would somehow impact our bottom line.  That at some point down the road we would be rewarded with some economic return.  I’ve been fortunate in that it has generated business for me.  Just as important, it has helped me provide value to those that I have connected to.

Straight line benefits include developing new partners or alliances and developing new client’s.  Crooked line benefits include introducing connections, writing recommendations, and simply helping others.

Two weeks ago I received a request from Tom Mickell to join my North Fulton Business Group on LinkedIn.  This is a group for people that live, work or network in North Fulton County, Georgia.  I am pretty strict about only letting local folks in.  Tom lives in Detroit, so I promptly sent him a thanks but no-thanks email, but added if he felt there was a compelling reason he should be able to join the group to let me know.

Tom replied that his company was planing to open an office in Alpharetta and he was looking to hire someone in the area.  He had just joined LinkedIn and found the group.  I’m open to anyone hiring in Alpharetta so I approved his membership, made some suggestions on improving his profile and connecting locally, and sent him a copy of my LinkedIn eBook.  I also let him know that if he was going to be in town that the North Fulton Business Expo was coming up.  Plus I let him know about the upcoming chamber meetings.

Thom made the trip down and attended the Expo and a chamber alliance meeting.  While in town looking to hire a sales person he was introduced to Ross Coleman, a fellow chamber member and a great guy.  Ross, as he likes to say, is in transition looking for the next opportunity.  Ross and Tom hooked up and at a minimum Ross was able to sit down with Thom and talk about the opportunity.

When Tom and I finally met in person and I learned he talked to Ross, I was able to add my endorsement of Ross as a person and valuable asset to any organization.  I don’t know if Ross will end up working for Tom’s company.  I do know that a simple offer to help a new LinkedIn member, may in the end help an old friend.

We all want to personally benefit from LinkedIn, but often it’s the crooked line benefits to others in my network that make it a good day.  Find ways to help your network and you will prosper.

How about you, have you noticed any crooked line benefits to your network?