If you are like me you think of LinkedIn as a place to keep your resumes and maintain contact with past employers and co-workers. In recent months though LinkedIn has transformed their site into a full-blown business-networking site SMBs should really invest time in. As a member of the site you can join groups and get involved in discussions. I am a member of the Small Business Network, Social Media Boot Camp, and HP Business Answers to name a few.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great but LinkedIn may be the best time use for a business owner no matter what the size of your business. LinkedIn claims over 135 million members in 200 countries and one of the largest Internet marketing research companies listed them as the #2 social networking site online.
I found a great article on Small Business Trends offering a few tips to get started.
If you want a simple introduction as to how and why to use LinkedIn check out this user-friendly, 8-minute video by Jim Kukral on SmallBizTrends. Even if you have used the site before this video provides great reminders about how to participant in the site.
The New User Starter Guide is really simple to use and explains setting up your account in getting started in 3 easy steps. The site also provides a short video on Small Business use on the site. Additionally, as small business entrepreneurs, you may find the section explaining benefits to your group particularly helpful. Some of the items covered on this section are making important personnel decisions, filling hard-to-fill positions, and generating awareness for your business.
Recommendations are an amazing tool LinkedIn provides. Check out Elements of a Good LinkedIn Recommendation for tips on what to say and how to ask.
I found a good article on the subject from the Washington Post. I have the highlights here but check out the full article or read the new Google policy for yourself.
The new policy will unify up to 60 services under one policy, enabling those services to share information about you. The only sites excluded from this are Google Books, Google Wallet, and Google Chrome, due to regulatory and technical issues. Should the regulations permit or the technical issues be resolved I’m sure they will bring these into the fold as well. If you sign in to a Google product other than these three, you must agree to this policy. If you do not want your data shared you must close your Google accounts; all of them. Collecting all this data in one place will help them get a fuller picture of who you are, what you are interested in, and how you spend your time online.
The information they collect is anything from calendar appointments and location data, to contacts, information about your smartphone, and what you search for. Google’s stated purpose for collecting your information is to create a more intuitive experience for you. For example, the ads you view will be based on the data they collect. Additionally, lets say you are driving in traffic and your Android phone knows where you are by GPS. It also knows you have a meeting and the traffic in the area, so it sends you a reminder so you will not be late. Sounds helpful as long as you don’t mind the technology keeping such close tabs on you.
Some people will see the changes as progress enabling them to do more from one resource. Others will view this as an invasion of privacy. It’s up to each individual consumer to decide and opt in or opt out