LinkedIn is a business networking tool that works well for a couple of things. For starters, it’s good for staying in touch with people. You keep track of who you know and what they’re up to. Secondly, it works well for recruiting.
Some time ago, LinkedIn released LinkedIn Answers, which allows you to pose questions to people within your network or a greater audience. At first I didn’t pay any attention to the functionality, but I started receiving questions from people.
- What is the best RSS reader for a Blackberry?
- How would you implement a staff-wide networking program?
- What would you like to be able to see and do on a local community website?
- Jobster.com: Has anyone used this site and if so, what do you think of it?
You’re not obligated to answer, but if you have an answer, it takes all of 2 minutes to reply. I believe all the answers are made public, and a discussion can ensue.
I’ve asked 2 questions recently, and in both cases I received very quick and good responses.
It amazes me how quickly people respond. I’m certain had I emailed all of the contacts and asked the same questions, the response would have been slower. Why? Because people tend to ignore mass emails, or feel overwhelmed by email to start (which I completely understand!) And although your LinkedIn questions will get sent to people via email (they receive a notification), somehow it feels different, it doesn’t feel like a mass email (or email at all), and so people respond.
LinkedIn Answers works great for referrals.
For general purpose questions, most people will search Google. But when you need a reference or referral you want to go to people you trust; i.e. your LinkedIn network. I recently asked via LinkedIn, “Do you know any videographers in San Francisco, New York, Vancouver, Boston or Toronto?”
The response was immediate, from people I trust. I now have a bunch of videographers to contact. (Incidentally, I’m still looking for more if you know anyone!)
It took approximately 2 minutes to submit the question, and I received 15+ responses in less than an hour.
LinkedIn scored big-time with this feature. It’s useful and sticky. Plus, it’s fun.