Remember that person you met at a networking luncheon two years ago? You exchanged business cards and two days later became connections on LinkedIn? At the time you just knew that they would someday lead you to your next job, your next sale, your next partnership.
Have you talked to them since? I didn’t think so.
The running joke for LinkedIn is that users only sign into the social network when they’re looking for a job. In the preliminary job search they update their profile, consider upgrading to platinum, and fervently add all of their coworkers just before they give notice.
LinkedIn can be used for so much more than prowling around for a career change. When used correctly it’s a valuable curation tool that can make your morning coffee feel like you’re attending a conference.
LinkedIn changed its Influencer program this morning to make connecting with the top professionals more personal. Now users can reply and like individual comments, tag other commenters, and receive notifications when others contribute to their comments. With these changes, the discussion continues beyond an original comment. People are drawn back to the thread to see what others have brought to the table.
Users can also search for influencers in the tool bar as easily as they search for co-workers and other connections. LinkedIn influencers are meant to be resources for business professionals, people that the average user can look up to and learn from. Think of David Cameron as your new mentor.
LinkedIn launched its Influencer program in October by asking several top professionals to create content about lessons they’ve learned, mistakes they’ve made, and best business practices they’ve discovered. Today there are more than 300 Influencers from Bill Gates to Barack Obama. None of the Influencers receive compensation, but many regularly post articles and contribute posts to LinkedIn. The Influencer program turned LinkedIn from a curation of co-workers to an authority source for industry advice from the best business leaders.
According to the social network, the top three industries that follow Influencers are Marketing, Financial Services, and Information Technology. The average Influencer post gets about 25,000 views and the peak reading time is 8 am. People enjoy starting their day with inspiration from global thought leaders.
Most users start by following household names (Chat with Arianna Huffington? Don’t mind if I do.) but stay for the content and insight from the hundreds of other professionals. Some of the articles are in-depth how-tos or explanations of abstract concepts, while others offer industry speculation or a professional’s fresh perspective on an old business tactic. Some are just stories about challenges faced or life experiences that were mortifying at the time– like Sallie Krawcheck’s cat stealing the spotlight from Bank of America’s CEO.
LinkedIn does more than guide you to a new job, it helps you improve where you currently are. If you’re not already, you should be dusting off your username and login and reading what Mike Bloomberg has to say about eradicating polio.