There is a terrible misunderstanding some company managers and owners are making about LinkedIn. The problem isn't with the social network specifically, but rather, it is a problem with their misunderstanding of what LinkedIn is and how it works. I was reminded of this misconception recently, which sparked the idea of writing this article for you and hopefully said managers.
I recently had the great honor of being the keynote speaker at the LinkedIn Live Conference in Nashville. Brian Huddleston and his team at the Nashville Technology Council (NTC) did an amazing job bringing together a group of 250 people to learn from LinkedIn pros like, Matthew Hall, John Maddox, James Soto and Jennifer Way. Renee McAllister, LinkedIn's Senior Marketing Manager, also shared the stage and presented eye-opening statistics about the impressive growth of "the professional social network".
The NTC was kind enough to organize a post conference social hour, so attendees could mingle and continue networking. It was during this event that I was reminded of the misunderstanding that is causing frustration, lost business, and poor morale.
Banned from LinkedIn
A gentleman pulled me aside at the mixer and confided in me. He explained that all of the information he received about LinkedIn from the talented speakers was great, but he couldn't use any of it. I inquired why this was and he explained. This story isn't a new one, and it continues to happen across many firms.
It turned out his manager had banned his staff from using LinkedIn. Why? The manager feared that his team members were using it to look for new jobs! It was the manager's own ignorance that created a massive obstacle for his company's sales, marketing and human resources departments.
While LinkedIn certainly can be a great place to spend time when you are seeking employment, it is also an essential tool for human resources, sales and marketing departments. The following are a few examples of how these departments can benefit from using LinkedIn:
Human Resources use LinkedIn to research job candidates. They review their profiles to see if they are qualified for their open positions. In addition to this, they review candidate's recommendations to see what their previous employers, customers, and associates have written. Human resources can advertise their open positions using LinkedIn to receive applications and fill vacant positions faster.
Sales teams use LinkedIn to research leads before they make their initial calls. They use LinkedIn to find connections to people they seek to meet to request introductions. When they have a meeting set up, they use LinkedIn to learn more about the potential customer. Information about where they went to school, organizations they belong to, and articles they have shared or written, help sales learn about leads to make their sales pitches more personal and successful.
Marketers use LinkedIn to set up their company and showcase pages. They use these sections to promote new blog content, products and services. They belong to industry-related groups and use their time to grow and nurture their professional networks. They can also assist with the aforementioned departments in developing and executing strategies to optimize their efforts.
These are just a few examples of how each department use LinkedIn. If a manager is so concerned that his or her staff is using it to seek new employment, perhaps they should consider why this would be and address it.
In chapter four of my book, New Business Networking, I write at length about ways you can use LinkedIn to improve your professional networking efforts. I even include my own similar example of dealing with an ill-informed manager. You can learn more about LinkedIn from my blog posts on the subject.
During LinkedIn Live, I learned that LinkedIn now has more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second! These are sure signs that the professional social network is invaluable to its users. Smart management - take notice.
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