LinkedIn® is a professional business-oriented online network launched in 2003. It is kind of like a Facebook for professionals, but honestly the most powerful social web site for business. LinkedIn can be used by organizations of all sizes and it requires very little social media know-how. With over 20 million users, many public library directors and even all 500 of the Fortune 500 are on LinkedIn.
Remember the old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? LinkedIn encompasses this philosophy. That community member or board member who is anti-library? Well, maybe we have a friend in common that will allow us to break down barriers and start a conversation. Plus, have you ever Googled your name and found something unflattering or maybe there is simply NO information about you? LinkedIn gives us control of our online identities, it allows us to create credibility for ourselves and our libraries, and it gives our libraries another connection to our business communities and leaders
The first step is to set up a free profile (see mine) that summarizes our professional expertise and accomplishments, as well as our education. Once we have a profile, we create connections. When we find fellow professionals we know and respect, we ask to add them to our network. This creates a web of connections with a world of relationship possibilities. We can research people who are going to be at upcoming meetings, ask our friends to introduce us to someone we see is their connection, and do background checks on prospective employees.
Another benefit of LinkedIn is that it is low maintenance. Once we set up our profiles, we simply use it as a resource to manage our connections. All our connections' information is current and up-to-date, so we know how to contact them. Set up an account and check it out!