If you've ever wondered about the relevancy of LinkedIn, doubt no more. The business-related social network passed the 10-year milestone this weekend and now counts more than 225 million members.
But is there really value in spending time on LinkedIn? Is it worth your time to create a robust profile there? Can this platform benefit your business? The answer is yes, on all counts. Here's why.
What well-connected entrepreneurs say
From my nearly 700 LinkedIn connections, I tapped a slew of entrepreneurs with more than 500 connections each about how they use the platform. The consensus: Time using LinkedIn is well-spent. Here's what they said.
"My company has just joined the Microsoft Accelerator for Azure powered by TechStars and they have challenged us to do 100 customer discovery interviews in an amazingly short time frame. I've used LinkedIn for years and connected dutifully with people I've met with professionally, I've joined groups and followed them, but until recently I never really tried to mine the network for second level introductions - that is the part that has been interesting to me."
--Mary Haskett, Co-founder and CEO at Austin, Texas-based Beehive Biometrics
"Just today a contact whose company is having problems reached out. I wanted to help him, and the first thing I could think was to e Endorse him for skills. I have also been connected with scientists and researchers that I was third-degree LinkedIn connected with but never could have gotten access to without LinkedIn."
--Amy Baxter, M.D. and CEO at Atlanta-based MMJ Labs, a medical device company
"Honestly, the way it helps me the most is being able to check out candidates before we book interviews with them and to gain intelligence about new hires at client companies, competition and potential partners. Nothing unusual, but we love the real-time aspect of LinkedIn vs. the old ways of calling a friend who knows a friend."
--Jean Achille, founder and CEO at PR and marketing firms the Devon Group and Devon Interactive
"I use LinkedIn as my online Rolodex to keep track of my contacts and reconnect with old colleagues. Using the advanced search functionality I can find people with specific experience in a particular geographic area. This has helped me find vendors, strategic alliances, as well as suggest candidates for job openings... I like the recent ability to customize my profile layout, embedding the slideshare widget under appropriate positions."
--Felena Hanson, founder of the San Diego co-working space HeraHub
"LinkedIn is essential to my business. We use the information to determine how to target our business development efforts which increases our efficiency and reduces interruptions to contacts we might have contacted who weren't the right role. Because of LinkedIn we reach out and make the right offer to the right contact most of the time. This increases our sales and, we think, our reputation with our business partners."
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