Gershbein: What’s Your Next Move on LinkedIn?

The LinkedIn IPO on May 19, 2011, put the globe on notice that the business of social networking is alive and well. LinkedIn has broken the plane and has boldly gone where no other social media website has gone before. No longer viewed as a passing fad, LinkedIn has clawed its way into the collective awareness of the professional community.

Only one issue remains: What’s next?

As an independent LinkedIn business consultant, I am being asked this question with more frequency. My greatest challenge is keeping current with an ever-changing medium and communicating those changes to others in usable, relevant pieces of information. This is a responsibility that I embrace and carry out with due diligence and great reverence. I’m as excited to see what comes down the pike as anyone.

Those who operate on LinkedIn daily have undoubtedly noticed the company’s commitment to an enriching, empowering user experience. Despite the occasional glitch, the site has come a long way since its inception in 2002, regularly introducing new features for content management, and offering time-strapped professionals unprecedented opportunities to build brand.

The LinkedIn profile has transcended its perceived status as a digital calling card in becoming the most versatile and cost-effective marketing platform available to today’s business professional.

I have always impressed on my clients and students that no conscientious effort on LinkedIn is wasted. Like other entries in the SUCCESS canon of trainings, the LinkedIn piece allows people to participate in the rewards economy—that is, they get out of it what they put into it. There is no substitute for hard work, and LinkedIn is no substitute for the real-world process of doing business. Yes, LinkedIn is a tool, but it’s not just any tool in your toolbox. Think of it as your go-to screwdriver, the one that feels great in your hand and always does the job.

New LinkedIn achievers are born every day. Although the learning curve hasn’t paced with the technology, more and more people are taking the leap of faith, tapping into LinkedIn’s potential, and leveraging it in creative ways to generate revenue. They are gaining confidence on the site, taking control of their LinkedIn profiles, and willing to change their behaviors. The habits are becoming ingrained and the learning guides the transition from LinkedIn casual user to LinkedIn achiever. The more who arrive at that point, the better it is for everyone.

Say what you will about the valuation of the company, or the wild roller-coaster ride it took on Wall Street that first day of trading, but one thing is for certain: LinkedIn is here to stay. People can choose to ignore it or step up their involvement.

What does your future in using LinkedIn look like?

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