Business Connections: Social Media Makes it Possible, Anywhere

 

Business Connections_Apr14There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that social media has opened up a whole new world when it comes to meeting and keeping in touch with people. Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized social contact, while sites like LinkedIn help businesspeople to connect. Anywhere you go, you’re likely to spot someone using a social network on their phone or tablet.

Now, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has made your travel (business or otherwise) another way to connect with people, first via social media, then in person. The airline has a program called Meet & Seat, where passengers can choose who they sit next to by viewing their social media profiles. According to the airline, approximately 50,000 people have used the service since its launch in 2012. About half of those people use the service to make business connections on their flight.

While some people have embraced the concept, others think that the concept of doing business in the air could be invasive and annoying. Planes are often a refuge for business travelers – in the past, people have been forced to unplug for a flight. That may all be changing, though, because more and more airlines are offering in-flight Wi-Fi, and regulations about using cell phones on board an aircraft have been under scrutiny, with research suggesting that it may be safe to use cell phones on board after all.

Other companies are picking up this trend as well. Delta is in the process of launching a program called Innovation Class. The airline offers everyday passengers the ability to apply to sit next to industry leaders. The application is completed via social network LinkedIn. The first pairing occurred on a flight in March.

Two more social apps geared towards flying are becoming popular also. SeatID allows passengers to see if anyone from their social media pages has taken the same flight that they are booking. This allows the company to exploit the idea that people will purchase things that their friends have purchased before. Another service, Satisfly, quizzes fliers about their preference for a quiet flight or if they might like to socialize, then guides them to a seat next to someone with similar desires.

So what do you think about social flying? Are these services that you would use?

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How to Build Meaningful Connections on LinkedIn

 

Using LinkedIn to build professional connections can be a powerful tool in your business arsenal. LinkedIn boasts millions of members, and your profile on the site has a huge array of ways to showcase your professional talents and accomplishments. I’ve talked before about how to put together a great profile that will help you get found by other people who might be good connections. But who exactly should you be connecting with?

Like I said above, LinkedIn has millions of users. So should you accept connection requests from everyone who sends them? Probably not. While LinkedIn is a professional website, it is not free from spammers and people who are not looking to make actual connections. LinkedIn is a good place to be selective when it comes to saying yes to connection requests.

In order to attract the right kind of connections, here are a few things you can do to your profile:

  • Figure out a strategy as to how you want yourself to be seen on LinkedIn. Do you want to paint yourself as an expert in a particular field or niche? If so, make sure that you use the right keywords when it comes to your summary and work descriptions.
  • Think about your target audience. Are you looking to join professional groups or have them notice you? Tailor your content as such.
  • Think about how much time you have to spend making connections on LinkedIn. Once you have a time frame in mind, you can come up with a game plan.

So how do you decide who to let into your LinkedIn network? Here are a few tips:

  • I generally say yes to anyone that I know. You can take this strategy, or you can be selective in who you add. Just be prepared for questions or reminders from colleagues or acquaintances who you have chosen not to add to your network.
  • If the request is coming from someone who you don’t know, take a minute to look over their profile. Do you have something in common? Maybe you went to the same college, had the same major, or worked for the same company in the past. Maybe you have a mutual friend or professional connection. Vet the person who is asking before saying yes or no.
  • Don’t feel bad about saying no. It’s fine to keep your professional network relatively closed. If you don’t see any value in adding the person who has requested to join your network, then don’t!

When building out your connections on LinkedIn, remember that you are in control. Follow these tips above and you’ll be on your way to building meaningful connections.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Is LinkedIn Becoming Just Another Resume Site?

 

I have blogged quite a bit about LinkedIn being an important site to maintain a professional presence on. We’ve discussed what to include or not include in a profile and why it’s a good idea to give a comprehensive picture of what your skills, job history, and education entail. So why is LinkedIn under fire from job seekers as well as employers?

Sites like Career Builder and Monster have been around for quite some time. Typically, these sites offer free memberships to people who are seeking jobs while they charge employers to post job listings. This makes sense, right? The job seeker and the employer both benefit, as the seeker is able to browse and apply for many different listings, and the employer gets a wide variety of applications to choose from.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, has always billed itself as a place for people to make professional connections. At first, the ability to look for a job or a new employee on the site was just a perk. Now, LinkedIn is turning job hunting into a business entity. While it does seem like a natural fit for the site, since the focus is on professional skills, some people feel as though LinkedIn is going about this shift the wrong way.

If you choose to post your resume or apply for jobs on LinkedIn, there is the opportunity to pay roughly $30/month to have your resume bumped to the top of the pile on job listings that you apply for. However, employers can see by a special badge that is assigned to your profile that you have in fact paid for this upgrade. So while your application may be more visible, employers are also able to tell that you paid. This may accomplish the results that you’re looking for – employers may look more closely at your application. But it may also have the opposite effect. Employers may discount people with paid memberships, assuming that they are underqualified and need to pay to have their application bumped to the top of the proverbial pile rather than let their experience speak for itself.

So essentially, LinkedIn is profiting not only from companies who choose to pay to advertise open positions on the site, but also from job-seekers who pay their monthly fee.

So does all of this mean that you shouldn’t use LinkedIn? No. I think it’s still important to maintain a great presence on the site. While it can be used for job hunting, it’s still a great place to network and showcase your skills. If you are using the site to find or post a job, understand how the process works specifically on LinkedIn and consider carefully whether the paid membership is worth it. Also, if you are an employer, it’s always important to review as many candidates as you can. You never know who could be the perfect fit for your company.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.