LinkedIn is a disruptive platform and after Microsoft’s acquisition, it has become a disruptive warrior revealing various “use cases” and new features. In this post, I am sharing 21use cases” of LinkedIn.

  1. DÉJÀ VU: Opportunities are revealed when you meet people. Hence, “first things first” –  create your LinkedIn Profile. Your profile has five limbs i.e. a background profile image, your picture, title, skills, and summary peppered with three key skills sets. Your LinkedIn profile is not only your resume but your Digital Reputation. Ajay Singh, (name changed) a good friend, lost his job when his company closed down. He was highly talented but responding to vacancies did not help. Even his friends stopped taking his calls. 4 months later he began planning to return home.  On his friend’s advice, he created his LinkedIn profile and two weeks later a talent search executive spotted his LinkedIn profile. And just like that, Ajay Singh secured a lucrative opportunity with a leading firm.
  2. NURTURE YOUR NETWORK: “You cannot harvest before you sow”. Hence, nurture your connections. There is also an old saying “Engagement creates Visibility and Visibility create Opportunity.” Engage with Likes, Shares, and Comments. LinkedIn professionals receive around a 30% higher response to Inmail when they engage with intent data versus a less than 3% response rate for standard emails.
  3. GROW YOUR NETWORKPorter Gale authored the book “Your network is your net worth”. The title of the book sums up the meat of Networking. Grow your network; Invite your friends, colleagues, and alumni to connect. Send out invites to prospects and customers. Robert Kiyosaki author of “Rich Dad and Poor Dad says “The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.
  4. BUILD YOUR LOCAL AND GLOBAL NETWORK: “Build your network before you need it.” In UAE a majority of the workforce is expatriate (example NRI’s) and after a period of time they either return home or migrate to other geographies. Think about where you will be in the next 2 years or the next 10 years. Accordingly, begin building your network for the new geography, NOW.
  5. MENTORING: Find the Lighthouse who will guide you through your professional career maze. Choose a subject matter expert as your virtual mentor or someone who is ahead in your career journey. Treat him as your Lighthouse and begin dialogue. Ask them to mentor you. Once you have built trust, take your conversation offline, i.e., either on skype or face to face. Find your Lighthouse and give back by being a Lighthouse for others.
  6. COMMUNITY: Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with…” On LinkedIn, you have the liberty to choose the best connections and engage them. I recommend you choose to follow and engage between 20 – 25 SME (Subject Matter Experts) on LinkedIn. Build a Community of such SME and bring them together for a common cause (Meetup).
  7. APPLY FOR JOBS: “Job searches begin when you have a job not when you need a job.” LinkedIn started as a networking platform and evolved into a job hunt platform. There are over 6.5 million job listings as of April 28, 2016, and this number is increasing (Source DMR). 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to scrutinize CVs.  UAE signed an MOU with LinkedIn in April 2015 to onboard 90,000 federal government employees on LinkedIn.
  8. CAREER ROAD MAP: Are you planning on joining the Emirates Group – Dubai? Log on to the Emirates LinkedIn page and research career path of Emirates employees. Research how Emirates employees have grown, at what frequency, what qualifications they possess; does Emirates promote employees internally for key roles? This is your tentative career roadmap in the company.
  9. FIND SIMILAR PEOPLE: LinkedIn helps you search for similar people. For example, you are connected to a CIO in a bank and would like to discover CIOs in other banks. You can find similar people with a simple click of a mouse.
  10. FIND SIMILAR COMPANIES: Research and search are the most time-consuming task. LinkedIn helps you search for similar companies, making you, more efficient.
  11. EDUCATE AND EDUCATE: LinkedIn bought Lynda.com in 2014 for over USD 1.2 Billion. Join LinkedIn’s learning platform, educate yourself, sharpen your skills or acquire new skills. It’s a paid service. On the flip side, publish your blog’s post and educate your connections.
  12. PRACTICE SOCIAL SELLING: B2B buying continues to move online, hence, social networks are becoming important. LinkedIn is the number one social selling engine. Social selling is the art of leveraging your LinkedIn engagement to reach decision makers. Every Fortune 500 is practicing social selling leveraging on LinkedIn.
  13. GIVE & RECEIVE REFERRALS: LinkedIn is a master referral engine. Members refer people to people, people to opportunities and people to the business. LinkedIn’s 1st degrees are your connections and second-degree connections are your opportunities. Request meaningful referrals from your 1st-degree connections. Everyone knows that BNI is considered to be the world biggest business referral organization. BNI, with over 211,000 members has generated over USD 11.2 Billion worth referral business in 2016. Imagine what you can achieve with LinkedIn’s 500 million members spread across 200 countries and over 4 million company pages.
  14. PRODUCTIVITY: LinkedIn has introduced productivity tools such as Sales Navigator for business development and Teamlink to leverage your colleague’s connections. In 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn and announced numerous integration and productivity features. These include integration with Outlook, Office 365, Dynamics and others. LinkedIn is also launching an event feature (Meetups) that will enable members to create an event and coordinate meets.
  15. DEMOCRATIZATION: LinkedIn has democratized. It’s a platform for the people, of the people and by the people. You share this platform with Global Leaders such as HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of UAE, Narendra Modi Prime Minster of India and Bill Gates. Use this opportunity to publish meaningful content and engage with global leaders.
  16. BLOGGING: LinkedIn provides you with a platform to publish long form posts. You can choose to share them with the public, your connections, or individuals. It helps to establish your Subject Matter Expert status. And finally, you can convert your blog posts into a book.
  17. PSYCHOGRAPHICS: The footprints of your connections reveal their psychographics, such as, what topics interest them, and what time they log in. Psychographics allow you to position the right messages. And soon, third party tools will be available to automate exploring psychographics of members.
  18. ATTENTION MAGNET: Be an attention magnet. The attention span of humans is scaling down. It has scaled down to as low as 12 seconds. However, you can attract and retain attention through sticky content shared at the right time. The incremental attention span can be leveraged to position your products and services.
  19. BECOME AN INFLUENCER: You have the choice to write and share meaningful content and attract followers. Create content so good that LinkedIn is encouraged to include you in their list of LinkedIn influencers.
  20. CROWDSOURCE: Use LinkedIn to crowdsource decisions. For instance, if you are an author – the title of the book, cover page design and color scheme.
  21. PROSPECTING: LinkedIn is your new age prospecting tool. It’s easier, less time consuming, and a low-cost tool to identify your target prospects.

In sales, there is an old saying, “If I can’t find you, I can’t work with you! But, if I find your COMPETITION I can work with them! Which one do you prefer?” So be present and be alive on LinkedIn