Maybe I’ve missed this before, but my friend Bill Vick was just featured in and called my attention to these LinkedIn case studies. The examples include several areas, including hiring employees, finding a job, making deals, and finding experts.
I teach classes in conjunction with LinkedIn (we’re on hold at the moment and will start up after the first of the year). I also really use it. I used LinkedIn to find our literary agent, to connect with the person who’s writing our foreword, to find success stories for our book, to connect with experts in related fields, and to identify and connect with a critical contact for my next book project. I don’t use it a lot (rather, I don’t initiate a lot of requests), but that’s not the point — the point is that I have used it very successfully when I used it.
David Teten’s two companies both use it very heavily — for recruiting and for finding experts. I’m particularly interested in the aspect of finding experts, because I’ve often heard the argument that these sites are a waste of time because it’s just as easy to find people on Google. This is simply not true, either when you’re looking for extremely niche expertise or on a topic that a lot of people talk about, but that there are very few experts on.
My wife, who works for David finding these experts, has had several cases where there was simply so much information out there that it was nearly impossible to sift through Google to find experts. But on LinkedIn, the searches produced results that were much closer to a match. Structured search is valuable because it allows you to distinguish, for example, people who have actually worked in a particular industry from people who are consumers of that industry and just blog about it. Simply talking about something a lot doesn’t make you an expert.
What’s frustrating is that more professionals aren’t making their information available in these tools. Really — if you’re a professional and want to be found, list yourself everywhere possible. Copy and paste your information, and it only takes a few minutes per site. You don’t have to actively participate if you don’t have time — just make yourself searchable in a structured way. There really are people who are looking for you in these sites and want to find you. As Dr. Philip Agre says, “The most fundamental way of finding people online is to help them find you.”