Did you know there are more than 350 million LinkedIn users? A new member joins every two seconds. Studies show Facebook growth has become stagnant, while LinkedIn continues to lead the way as the professional social network. Whether you are new to LinkedIn or a frequent user, I expect these tips will help you make the most of your time. The following are four LinkedIn tips the experts know and now you will too.
1. LinkedIn Advanced Search
Did you know LinkedIn has a powerful search engine? The search function is great, but the Advanced Search is the secret sauce; use it for even better search results. You can search by company name, location, title, school, industry, current or previous company. Advanced search allows you to narrow down your search to 1st Connections (those who you know), 2nd Connections (those who are connected to someone you know) and Group members.
2. Save search results
When you have created your search using the directions above, click the gear icon to access your settings. You will find a much over-looked Saved Searches option. Click it and save up to three searches (for basic LinkedIn users). You can set up email alerts and LinkedIn will automatically send them to you weekly or monthly. Saved searches are perfect for human resources recruiting and lead generation for sales.
3. Archive important messages
Your LinkedIn inbox can get unruly as you balance connection requests with personal messages and (those annoying) solicitations. Searching your messages isn’t easy. I recommend archiving your messages outside of LinkedIn should the service go down or you lose access to your account.
Under Account Settings, select Privacy & Settings. Scroll down to Communications. Under Email and Notifications, select the frequency of emails. Check your settings and make sure you are receiving messages from other members. This is important, because the messages will end up in your email inbox, where you can safely archive and find them again in the future.
4. Export connections
I applaud LinkedIn as the only social network that allows you to easily export (back up) your connections. Click Connections on the top of the screen and click the gear icon on the right side. Under the Advanced Settings, select Export LinkedIn Connections. Choose the file format you prefer to download.
Be sure you are exporting your LinkedIn connections at least once a month. Keep the exported list secure, since it is filled with the personal information of your LinkedIn network. I upload my connections to Contactually, so I can keep in touch.
This story originally appeared in The Tennessean by Dave Delaney, Futureforth founder.