You know what, earlier this year I reached my 2500th connection on LinkedIn, as I saw that I thought whoa, how did THAT happen? Well by utilizing my networking strategy which harnessed a network so vast that it's value to me has never been more pronounced, on any given day - I come up in about 45 searches, and have about 20 people looking at my LinkedIn profile. That's almost 140 hits a week and that there are solid folks I can check on to see where they come from and due to my $25 premium account can send out inmails and other communications to open the networking flow that vets a candidate or two that is viable for any strategic search I might be working on as a sourcer. Try as I might, I have learned that over and over and over again, Social Media WORKS.
Not only can you find and vet a relationship with a passive candidate through careful branding - as I write this, I blog periodically and love writing, as it is manna to my soul and nirvana to my life's daily workings. I am building a steady brand not just for my staffing searches but for a LIFETIME of career building moments. Through this powerful networking tool known as LinkedIn, I stand in awe as I share classes on LinkedIn strategy with professionals from all walks of life - this past month in a webinar with my co-presenter a LinkedIn sales guy at LinkedIn headquarters - I had fun sharing what my journey has been like in building a solid brand that moves mountains on any given day for the desired directions I have in my life. Once upon a time we had a rolodex with business cards and a networking option that kept contact info for previous circumstances, interactions, and the like. As I began my career a fellow officer of our HR student professional association sent me a curious link to a little known social network in 2004 right after it went live, as my new found freind at LinkedIn would share with me Ken Schmidt - I was around their 2,000,000th member. What a concept. As we look back 7 years we have seen dynamic growth in the LinkedIn arsenal now nearing upwards of 100 million+ members. Not too shabby. The growth has everything to do with recruiters jumping in to find the passive talent, and professionals by the millions signing up each month. My friend at LinkedIn shared that approximately every 1 second someone is joining LinkedIn, that's about 86,400 people a day. WOW.
Couple that with the new search tools, and other options and you start to see the power. Last year I had the great privilege to meet Mike O'Neil of Integrated Alliances - this LinkedIn ROCK STAR came and spoke to the BYU Management Society and made a deep impact on my professional brand - he is in the top 50 most connected and shares with me a Myers Briggs personality type - ENFP. It was awesome. As well I have had privilege to work with a number of great staffing professionals and learn their social media best practices, in short, life is very good to me these days. My LinkedIn brand has evolved yes, but who would have thought that I would stand where I am today - with the remarkable network leverage I now possess? Trully amazing.
I have heard a great professional career management/staffing industry aficianado that now runs his own Social Media Consulting company, Michael Webb, who shares my connections to the BYU Management Society. I have had privilege of heading up the Silicon Valley Chapter of The BYU Management Society's LinkedIn presence - as both Mike's so avidly advocate - you need to ROCK THE WORLD with your online PRESENCE. Touche - it is with great note that I have seen my network fly forward and net the most interesting of candidates in some difficult searches, and so my network continues to grow, and folks offer the opportunity to build a brand that grows my own personal brand.
In this day we have more tools at our disposal to connect with talent than EVER before, as I build my own personal brand it affects literally my ability to make an impact on my community, and world. How many times have I had privilege to open doors previously closed due to my social networking branding strategy - and it is not just a one time thing, a fad, it is not going away - Web 2.0 is here to stay, using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Blogs, Job Boards, you create a total pipeline strategy.
You have the ability to be part of 50 LinkedIn Groups, if you join the ones that offer the greatest ability to network with your chosen industry or talent groups, there is no stopping forward staffing momentum after that. That is the true power of this phenomenon. When Mark Zuckerburg stumbled upon his idea to build a hot website full of potential, it suddently revolutionized the world.
The power trully continues, I notice companies who try to limit their employees being on social networks - now while this might have some value to productivity, it may limit the networking cesspool, and talent options that flood the gates of staffing greatness with $$, opportunity, and forward momentum.
So before you criticize social media as a fad or passing fancy, I'd keep an eye on your profile, make it brand ready including good interesting reading for those who are prospecting your profile, post interesting content to the groups on LinkedIn, and offer advice to those who reach out to you in your "virtual networking" pursuits.
Some best practices I have found are these:
1. Join as many interest groups as possible creating a bridge to incredible talent.
2. Have your profile read in such a way as to draw people in - think Search Engine Optimization with many key words.
3. Update your status with inspirational pearls of wisdom, job opportunities, and other candidate bridge builders.
4. Add the applications to your profile and get recommendations which increae flow to your LinkedIn site.
5. When in groups you can send free messages to LinkedIn users who share your group.
So join the revolution, the LinkedIn revolution, and Full spectrum of new sourcing options to best create opportunities on multiple fronts as you hone your amazing LinkedIn brand. That will vet huge fees, powerful moments and outcomes. That's the power of staffing prowess backed up by a full motion social media strategy. And I have to say that is a lot of fun.