5 Ways That LinkedIn Rocks.

LILet me state my bias upfront– I think LinkedIn is a phenomenal business tool. I am in awe of its power and seek to use it every day.  I am always in search of new ways to unlock the power of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a tremendous success and it has an even brighter future. The term “next play” is often used by LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, and is used by sports coaches, notably Coach K of Duke, meaning to look forward to the next play and don’t linger on the past. Good advice.

LinkedIn has recently passed 2 important hurdles—200 Million members and $300 Million in revenue for the latest quarter. While these are impressive milestones, they will soon be milestones in the rear view mirror. Next play.

I had the opportunity to visit the LinkedIn offices last March with a group of business leaders, Lessons From LinkedIn. I heard Jeff Weiner their CEO speak. I was impressed. He seemed smart and focused. In fact focus must be one of his favorite words. He used it often and more importantly, I suspect he lives it. When he spoke about “members first” he clearly meant it, not merely the “Quality is Job 1” mantra I hear so often insincerely mouthed by companies, which then look to cut-corners in their zeal for short term profit improvement. I respect that there are three streams of company income—job search (Hiring Solutions), advertising (Marketing Solutions) and premium membership (Premium Subscriptions). All three deliver value and generate revenue, and all three are growing.

I find people too often lump social media as a singular phenomenon. Not even close. Facebook, the social platform that leads the way, is sexy (or at least it was). Zuckerberg is a “rock star”. And with 1Billion+ worldwide users, Facebook is omnipresent. Linkedin is not Facebook, and Weiner is not a rock star. He was not the Founder, and he’s not a technology genius. He’s merely a really smart guy with good business instincts successfully building a business.

Here are the 5 of the many ways that LinkedIn rocks:

1. Connecting with business people from the past.

In particular I enjoy reconnecting with people from the 70s and 80s. Without LinkedIn one does not readily call someone who you haven’t spoken to in 20+ years.

2. Graceful self-promotion

Using the status update to post thought leadership pieces is an excellent way to maintain visibility. I strongly believe LinkedIn is one of the keys in managing one’s personal brand

3. The best job search tool under the sun

People who are looking for work quickly learn the power of LinkedIn. Best to learn its power long before you need to. Then you already have a network.

4. A great source of info

A more recent feature, the articles are a great compilation of topics interesting to me.

5. A salesman’s best friend

A smart sales person uses LinkedIn to understand the person’s background and who he might know who knows the person (2nd generation).

The financial markets appreciate and respect LinkedIn as well. Facebook’s IPO was an “event” as was its IPO glitches and stock price failures. Even with its recent rebound, Facebook sells at $28-30 per share, well below its $38 IPO price. With its recent increases LinkedIn has been a financial star and now sells at $150+ per share, compared to its 2011 IPO price of $45, an impressive appreciation.

More to come from LinkedIn. Next play.

More Strumings

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