On April 20, 2010, I had an opportunity to listen to Mike Gamson provide a general presentation on LinkedIn at the Highland Park Library in Highland Park, Illinois. Mike, who is a VP of Corporate Solutions at LinkedIn, gave a brief overview about LinkedIn and the company’s direction. I’m enclosing a brief overview of this presentation: the first part includes general aspects of LinkedIn. In the second section, Mike addresses the Corporate Customer business.
GENERAL ASPECTS OF LINKEDIN
According to Mike, if you serious about professional networking, your only option is LinkedIn. You increase productivity by connecting to people. Mike said something that I think has been said before. He said, “If you use LinkedIn you save time, whereas, with Facebook, it’s all about wasting time.”
LinkedIn was founded in 2003, and it took 471 days for their first million clients. Today, it may only take a few weeks to add one million clients. As of April 19, 2010, there were over 65 million LinkedIn users. They will continue to try to grow, improve, and increase their brand. According to Mike, no IPO is scheduled for the near future. LinkedIn estimates that up to 500 million people may eventually consider LinkedIn. Therefore, their goal is to have 500 million people throughout the world join LinkedIn.
There are many users joining from India and countries in Europe. In fact, Holland has the highest per capita user rate with LinkedIn of any country. On the other hand, there are countries with a much lower percentage of users. This may be due to societal values and norms where it’s less acceptable to present yourself in this manner. Many parts of Asia fall into this scenario.
Of those who use LinkedIn, 1/3rd are business travelers. Some other demographic data. The median age for LinkedIn is 43; median income is around $107,000. Information Technology professionals comprise the largest group of users on LinkedIn. Over 35% of all LinkedIn users are in management. In terms of employees, there are currently about 700 employed at LinkedIn. As they continue to grow, Mike stated LinkedIn will hire about 150 candidates in the next few months.
Advertisers are using non-traditional means of reaching customers. Blend advertising with content wherever possible. You may complete a survey about a service you may be interested in, and that company may be able to capture your attention or brand you with their service. Because some company’s see value here, this type of advertising will continue.
Mike has reiterated an approach I’ve heard in other networking circles, it is a good idea to only connect with business people you know. If you meet someone for the first time, he does not necessarily reach out to him or her through LinkedIn. That way, you build your network among people that you know with whom you have a business relationship.
There are no advertising dollars used at all for LinkedIn. They rely on viral marketing to help produce brand awareness and to achieve other marketing objectives.
Add comments to your groups will increase your chances of being found. Those comments will not go outside of LinkedIn to help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but they will improve your brand inside LinkedIn.
There was talk about LinkedIn providing 24-by 7-phone support in the near future, which is currently under discussion. Mike cautioned the group about the economic sense by providing this support to a service, which is free to the majority of users. A cost-benefit calculation will need to be looked at very carefully before LinkedIn decides to provide costly support for a product free to most users.
You can use your Status Updates to keep your network notified of what you are doing. You’re able to pitch your expertise or market your group or skill through this tool. Remember, there’s a 140-character limit. Regarding the ‘People you may know’ section. There’s a complex algorithm used to display people you may know or those to whom you’ve lost contact. Using Status Updates and LinkedIn is a good way to control your professional identity. Being the author of the way the world views you.
Mike talked about using LinkedIn as a secret means of learning more about a job being advertised. In other words, if you’re a Business Analyst (BA) interested in a job at Company Y with a limited job description, you can go to that Company Y and add BA to the search filter to see people who are currently doing that job at your target company. Those qualifications and skill sets will help determine what skills they are looking to hire.
In addition, you can use LinkedIn to find the Hiring Manager for your target company. If possible, work your network to find contacts who know someone at your target company. Organize an informational interview with one or several contacts. After the interview, try to learn the hiring manager’s name. See if it’s Ok if you forward your resume to them. By doing this, you are bypassing the screening process.
To improve your LinkedIn and your search results, you can answer questions posed by group members. The more you answer, the improved name recognition you receive which may help with your Internet search results. In addition, you’re advertising your knowledge and expertise by answering questions in LinkedIn.
There are many sites where there’s the anonymity without accountability and the social discourse is not always acceptable or social. According to Mike, Yahoo Answers comes to mind where so-called experts are answering questions without knowing their name or qualifications. With LinkedIn, there’s no anonymity, therefore, people’s reputation is on the line so people are civil and accountable to their online professional profile.
Even though most people join public groups for networking and learning more about a given field, Mike prefers the private groups. He finds them particularly helpful within the LinkedIn organization.
Another tip Mike suggested was to see what profiles are returned if you use certain keywords (associated with your background) with your zip code. The results might help you learn for what positions you may qualify.
CORPORATE CUSTOMERS-This is valuable tool for those searching and doing recruiting.
There are approximately 2000 corporate customers.
Many of these customers are active (looking for work or promoting their company) along with passive candidates. Passive candidates are considered those who work it a little but not as time involved as active. Many corporate customers may target those passive candidates for positions before other companies hired them.
Sometimes, it’s useful to have a complete profile. There’s certainly no disadvantage to having a complete profile. Moreover, if you ensure key words are used with your complete profile, you are increasing your LinkedIn profile too.
The use of in mail (private) from a client perspective can be very useful when recruiting prospective employees. This produces a high response rate where it’s common to have a 40% success rate using in mails. Therefore, this is a very common tool for recruiters to use during their search process.
If you’re looking for a Project Manager with 5-10 years of experience, who attended University of Michigan and speaks Russian, your query may get 20 results. You can “tweak” or add additional filters to get results of 5 or so candidates. This helps companies who can be much selected in their search process among professionals.
My LinkedIn profile