Over the years, LinkedIn has become one of my favorite social networks to use. The site has allowed me to meet some great people in my niche, find unique content, and most importantly, be recognized at my real value.
At first sight, LinkedIn is rather unappealing and difficult to figure out. Like Google+, you need to spend some time looking around to really understand how you can leverage the site.
Here are five features that should definitely check out.
LinkedIn Today is LinkedIn’s magazine, tailored to your interests and needs. It delivers content based on what your connections and industry peers read and share during the day. You can also customize your news by following specific industries (Marketing & Advertising, Online Media, Public Relations…).
The thing I like about the service is that it lets you see who the sharers are. And you can interact with the content and people directly within LinkedIn.
In October 2012, LinkedIn introduced a new feature that allows people to follow their favorite influencers on the social network. You can access the leaders’ status updates and original posts (which also include videos, photos, and Slideshare presentations) directly from the comfort of your own homepage, and then like / comment on the content and share it with members of your network.
If you are not interested in following anyone, you can still find all the articles written by thought leaders on one page: Original Content.
LinkedIn Signal is a monitoring tool that allows you to search for specific keywords, topics, and LinkedIn members. You can refine your search by network, company, location, and more, and save your real-time results for later perusal. The tool also mines shared links on status updates and shows you the most popular links.
Note: To access LinkedIn Today, Original Content, and Signal, mouse over the “News” tab in your menu section. You will find them all there.
Despite being considered a major LinkedIn feature, only a few people truly take advantage of LinkedIn Groups. These are great places to network with like-minded professionals in your niche, discover and share great content and thoughts, and establish your expertise.
The best way to be taken seriously in any industry is to gather testimonials and credentials from partners and clients. LinkedIn allows you to do just that with Recommendations and Endorsements.
Endorsements give you the opportunity to vouch for your favorite peers by endorsing the skills and expertise listed on their profiles, or suggesting ones that the latter may not have thought of adding. Unlike recommendations, which require members to write testimonials, endorsements are done in a couple of easy clicks.
You can endorse your connections by looking at the top of their profiles or checking out the new ‘Skills and Expertise’ section. Once the process is completed, these people will be notified by email and on LinkedIn.
Many people have criticized Endorsements, stating that LinkedIn now provides members with an easy way to cheat their way to the top. While it is true, there is also a good lesson to learn: Do not just add anyone to your network. Take the time to look at their profiles to make sure that you really want to be connected with them.
Have you tried the features in this article? If so, what do you think?