Learn More About LinkedIn

Inspired by another Mashable article I read this morning, this post exposes some features about LinkedIn that you may not have known about. In addition, I’ll offer some tips on how to improve your existing profile and optimize your use of the networking site effectively.

1- LinkedIn is great for conducting a job search. Of course Craigslist is still an option, or in the case of an internship, websites like InternSushi and InternQueen are also great resources for beginning a search. As for me specifically, Cornell offers a job connection website as well–filled with exclusive opportunities for it’s students. All this being said, LinkedIn is another great job search engine to add to your list. Whether you get scouted by a Headhunter,  reconnect with an old classmate or utilize the Jobs section of the site specifically, opportunities are endless.

2-LinkedIn statistics are your friend.  Network Statistics are relevant to your specific professional connections and help you find out which industries most of your friends, colleagues and classmates are in, as well as which geographic areas they represent the most.

3- Take the Skills and Expertise section of your profile seriously. While on a paper resume it’s sensical to leave out the obvious “skills” such as Microsoft Office (Who doesn’t know how to use that these days?), on LinkedIn it’s helpful to include skills as simple as “creative writing” and “public speaking.” These skills are labeled as clickable links (think hashtags on Twitter) so employers looking for particular criteria can search for people who list the skills they desire in their staff. Another reason I personally enjoy the Skills & Expertise feature is because the “More” tab of LinkedIn offers a global skills database. Not only can I see what other skills are comparable to the ones I have listed on my page (This is great for getting more ideas. I may not have thought of something I did as a “skill” but an employer does!) but it also displays a percentage next to every skill. Green stats = good stats. This means that your area(s) of expertise are becoming more & more important, as well as raising the bar in terms of competition. For example, “Hootsuite” is growing by 81% at present. It’s the 84th highest growing skill on the site, and clicking on the skill specifically offers several options. #1) I can see related skills and their comparable growth (maybe the competitors- i.e. TweetDeck- fare better) #2) I can find and join groups of other professionals with this skill #3) I can find Related Areas (In this case, Hootsuite is a web-exclusive, working wonders across the globe. But for something more specific like Computer Graphics, Silicone Valley pops up as the top location for this expertise.)

4-You can, and should, customize your newsfeed.  While it’s great to see what current connections are up to, the “LinkedIn Today” feature lets you tailor your newsfeed to what interests you specifically. Interested in PR and Online Media? Then, follow those industries! The top stories will be featured on your news stream. You can also opt in to the email service, so instead of logging on, these updates can come straight to your email.

5- Try out LinkedIn LabsI personally had no idea what this was until reading Mashable’s article this morning. It appears to be a separate website from LinkedIn, and these labs require your permission before accessing your LinkedIn information. However, as long as you choose to approve specific apps, they can be quite informative and entertaining. Apps include everything from a Resume Builder to WordCloud and a search bar for Google Chrome. Here’s two graphics from my experience with LinkedIn Labs. The first, a timeline of my friends & experiences (that doesn’t quite look the same as a still image) and the latter, a web of my network connections.

The different colors represent different parts of my life (High School, working as a camp counselor, interning, college, etc) and the scattered people who pop up show when we connected on LinkedIn. Pretty cool, huh?

This web shows my network in terms of whose connected to whom. The blue dots represent Cornell, and of course, that’s where most of my current connections are from.

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Pinterest: beyond the pretty pictures

The fastest growing social media site on the web today has proven itself as a dual procrastination-favorite-browsing site and a marketer’s heaven. At first glance, Pinterest seems like a site full of gorgeous beach pictures, precious little puppies and the occasional Pottery Barn-esque room decor.

But in all actuality, Pinterest is a billion dollar company that’s blowing up the the internet faster than much of its competition. Youtube, Reddit and Google + yield lower percentages of referral traffic and Twitter holds just .01% over Pinterest, proving this young site’s potential.

More than just those cute puppies (they ARE really cute though..) Pinterest is great for retailers looking for product exposure.  Its addictive nature leads users to discovering DIY tips, “Dream Homes” that are actually on the market with local realtors, and great recipes for all kinds of foods.

Even the 2012 Presidential Election isn’t untouched by Pinterest. Leading candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama’s wives have gotten in on the action, both creating pages earlier this year.

The site’s traffic is primarily driven by women by a long run, though this statistic shouldn’t deter marketers. Rather, I see it as the perfect opportunity for specific targeting. If we know the ladies are watching, products should be geared to the feminine mind. Rather than Armani posting its latest men’s suit to their typical male client, the product should be catered to a shopping wife or girlfriend..perhaps looking for a birthday gift for her significant other. Knowing how to take advantage of Pinterest’s statistics helps leverage a company’s influence on the site tremendously.

I am on Pinterest 24/7 for Laffey Fine Homes, the Long Island luxury real estate company I work for. I can attest to the “Dream Homes” being real listings aspect of the site, as it’s a truly great way to drive viewers–and potential buyers–to Laffey.com. I post pictures of the pools and kitchens, the spiral staircases and luscious green backyards, all with a click-through link back to the listing’s page. Granted, many of our viewers hail from all over the country..so it would be a cool addition if Pinterest marketers could target specific geographic regions, much like Facebook Fan Pages can.

Another Pinterest tip I learned from a webinar I stumbled upon thanks to a LinkedIn group I joined may come as a no-brainer; write captions.

It’s true…time and time again we’re told to take advantage of the 500 character limit when creating pins. Pinterest makes it mandatory to insert a comment along with every pin, but most people cheat the system and write a measly period as a placeholder. If you just take an extra 15 seconds to your posts you’ll wind up using the site to it’s full potential. Like Twitter, Pinterest lets you include popular hashtags which help pinners who aren’t following your boards to discover your content.

Mark Zuckerberg..you should’ve bought this one! Instagram is cool, but certainly doesn’t have the marketing capabilities that Pinterest does.

Anyway, I originally intended for this post to be terse (an impossibility for my loquacious mind). I do wish to include a helpful info graphic that I stumbled upon once. Ironically enough, I think I found it on Pinterest. If you’d like a larger copy I’ll be glad to email one: omp7@cornell.edu.

Enjoy!

-Olivia