LinkedIn is My Social Network of Choice. But...
Yesterday, I gave a talk about how to generate leads using linkedin and other online networking activities.
This morning, it looks like LinkedIn has launched a nice redesign of their site. It took me a few minutes to get used to it. But, after clicking around, I think it really works. It's more intuitive, and organizes things a lot better. It seems that a lot more capabilities and information are easier to find now and are a few less clicks away. (Another fan of the new look.)
Yesterday, Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot Co-founder launched a group on LinkedIn called Internet Marketing Mavens. If you consider yourself an internet marketing maven or aspire to be one, you should request membership.
Why You Should Join LinkedIn.
Unless your company primarily services teenagers or college students, more of your prospective clients and current clients are on LinkedIn than any other network [In the US atleast]. I'm not saying they're using it well [or are any more likely to respond to your email or take your phone call]. But, they are there. [Where else are there that many of your prospects in one place?] Some of them might be on Facebook or Myspace and I'm sure you could attend conferences where more of them are.
But, no matter what you sell or who you sell to, LinkedIn is the domain of people with buying power inside the home and inside the company. And it's 24/7 and tells you who knows who. (Still not convinced? Here's another good argument.)
What I Wish LinkedIn Would Do Differently
Allow more unfettered comunication. Their business model is dependent on charging individuals for the privelege of communicating with their personal networks. Long term, this is not sustainable. It's the equivalent to a tax that discourages commerce.
LinkedIn (and us) would be better served if they enabled more communication and created other ways to add value.
The greatest thing that LinkedIn did for allowing people to meet new people, was start their question/answer functionality.
Their group functionality needs a little work, though. It merely allows you to join a group. It's kinda like joining the chamber of commerce just to be in the business directory. Yeah. It's cheaper than the phonebook, but the real value of joining a group is that the group provides opportunities for people to meet new people through committees, volunteer opportunities and events. LinkedIn should, at a minimum, launch a premium group service that allows organizers to launch a forum, publish some events and send bulletins to members. The groups' page should also show network updates, job posts, question/answers that anyone in the group has published.