Communications professionals can use LinkedIn in a variety of different ways—many of which they may not be aware of. The site is useful for researching and networking with journalists and bloggers. It can also be an effective tool for uncovering new clients. By using LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Groups, PR pros can build their credibility and expand their expertise. Below, Krista Canfield, senior manager of consumer PR at LinkedIn, offers some tips and stats that you might not know about the world’s largest professional networking site:
1. LinkedIn has more than 120 million members around the world. The site is growing at a rate that is faster than two new members per second.
2. 92% percent of journalists are on LinkedIn—more than any other social network. LinkedIn Advanced People Search helps journalists easily uncover sources. They search by fields like company name, keywords, title, etc. to find exactly the source they need. Make sure your executive spokespeople have complete LinkedIn Profiles so they come up in relevant searches. Have them include the topics or issues they feel comfortable discussing with the media. If your client has been on CNN, make sure they note that they have experience doing broadcast TV and link to that clip.
3. Add a photo. Professionals with a profile photo are seven times more likely to be viewed than professionals that don’t have a headshot. Adding a photo also makes it easier for a reporter to find you during a busy conference.
4. You can join up to 50 LinkedIn Groups. Join the PR News LinkedIn Group, but also venture into other groups that might be relevant to you outside of your industry. Join a group like Green so you can show your support of green business practices and network with other people who are passionate about those issues. Join a group like Moms Extraordinaire and chat with other working moms. You’ll meet other professionals and potentially open the door to new opportunities. Look at groups like mini conferences, where you can learn about business topics you're interested in or curious about.
5. More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. When you follow LinkedIn Company Pages for companies like Apple and Louis Vuitton, you'll automatically get updates when people leave that company, join that company and when that company posts jobs.
6. Update your profile regularly. Your LinkedIn Profile comes up high in Google search results for your name, so make sure your online first impression packs a punch. Update your profile when you nab a promotion or switch jobs. Have you learned new skills in the past year? With LinkedIn Skills you can add relevant expertise to your profile in just a few clicks.
7. Bind your LinkedIn account to your Twitter account. That way you can update both networks at the same time.
8. Do an Advanced Answers Search on LinkedIn for “reporter” questions and help journalists out. Browse the Public Relations section of LinkedIn Answers to see if there are questions you can answer. You never know—providing someone with advice on how to optimize their press release could lead to a new job opportunity or a new client.
9. Download the LinkedIn for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone or Palm apps for free. Running late to a dinner meeting with a client and want to see who you know in common with the other attendees? LinkedIn Mobile is like your own personal assistant who's ready to get you info whenever and wherever you need it.
This article was written by Krista Canfield, journalist program manager and senior manager of consumer PR at LinkedIn.