Up until now the social network that has served me the most value professionally is Twitter.
Twitter was the platform that got me an introduction to a music producer for Disney. The same social network led to a phone call with a TV Journalist/Producer for the BBC and an interesting conversation about community engagement.
Just like the examples above, Twitter led to so many great connections in all fields.
If there was one thing that catapulted my exposure to new ideas and like-minded people, this was it. Twitter was fantastic for networking. But that's so 2009.
Facebook served its own purpose. I watched a Facebook page owner grow his Facebook Page to over 2 million members in around 2 years (if I recall correctly). It's now in one of the top 20 Facebook pages worldwide with over 3 million members and still growing!
It helped me to realise Facebook's usefulness as a tool for community engagement and development of company brands.
LinkedIn didn't do much for me during that period however. I tried to figure it out. I just couldn't and eventually gave up. Further, I didnt see any of my peers using it or shouting about its usefulness.
In the last few years, I've spent most of my time working on internal aspects of business so my time on social networks (as an individual) has been limited.
But it seems LinkedIn has come a long way since then, perhaps I judged prematurely.
What i have found is that LinkedIn has now become an important tool in many ways, and most of my current readers may already be familiar with some of the ideas mentioned below.
I admit I'm a little late to this party, but I'm a fast learner.
Resume/CVs Who needs a CV when you have a LinkedIn? I guess we all do, but businesses need to jump on this already. LinkedIn as a resume sorting and candidate search platform has easily the most potential out there.
Bio Page/Personal Website I meet many people, especially freelancers and consultants that often ask me if I know of a web designer that can put together a website for them that serves as an online business card, bio or resume/CV. LinkedIn takes care of most of this, and mitigates the need to pay a developer or designer.
It's true, I have my own virtual business card, so you might be wondering why I don't just link people to my LinkedIn. There are a few reasons for that, a) I am special b) because I can and c) you don't know how to build websites, and I do!
Lead Generation/Sales I've come across many business development professionals lately that are using LinkedIn as a platform for generating leads. They send inMail messages to prospective clients with their pitch and 'drum up' business from there. It's better than cold calling and cold emailing.
Note: If you plan to do this for your business, you may need a LinkedIn premium subscription
Further. LinkedIn Ads have also had improvements with the introduction of advertising analytics, optimisation reports and even better audience targeting options.
Thought Leaders My personal favourite feature. People looking to establish their own personal brand and as thought leaders in their industry can take advantage of this new feature. This is a feature that was introduced in 2012 and piqued my interest recently.
Building your professional network The Facebook style "likes" and status updates further help networking opportunities by helping you create conversation and form professional relationship with peers.
Personalised Industry Magazine LinkedIn's Mobile App is like your personalised content magazine with status updates and articles from thought leaders, people in your network and suggested articles you might like. This makes it easy to keep up with current trends and movements in your industry.
I miss LinkedIn Answers however, which was very useful and it's shame Quora now fills this void as i felt LinkedIn Answers already did a great job. I never got to the bottom of why they abandoned it.
So, in summary, I take my words back regards it's lack of usefulness or suitability to helping businesses and professionals and I encourage you all to explore its usefulness further.