Can LinkedIn help you build "authority?"

January 22nd, 2009 | by Jason Alba |

I saw this message on Twitter last night:

Khalidh brings up some great points in his question.  Here’s my response:

  1. Yes, LinkedIn is great for someone in sales because they can network their way into a target company, or find people with the job titles they are looking for.  Same with job seekers.
  2. It’s also great for someone who is in recruiting, obviously.  I love how Harry Joiner calls LinkedIn his “passive candidate database,” which means he’s not looking at it as a place where the unemployed hang, rather it’s a place where the employed come to do business.  Powerful.
  3. Is LinkedIn good for building authority?  I would say, conditionally, ABSOLUTELY.

Absolutely is such a strong word :)  And I even said “conditionally.”  Here’s why.

You must understand if LinkedIn is where your target audience is.  That could mean employers, peers, vendors, customers, prospects, etc.  If your target audience is there, then I say ABSOLUTELY.  If, however, you market to 13 year old kids, LinkeIn isn’t the place to get in front of them.  It is a good place to find others who market in that space, or who are experts in that space.

How do you build authority in LinkedIn?  Here are a few ideas, all of which I talk about in my LinkedIn book:

  1. Your LinkedIn Profile is the number 1 consideration on building authority (or, credibility). Too many profiles I see simply suck.  If you want to see some excellent profiles, scroll down on this article about how executives can using LinkedIn in a job search.  JibberJobber partner Deb Dib lists a few LinkedIn profiles that are outstanding.
  2. Use Answers. Building authority comes from communication, right?  You have to somehow communicate your expertise…. and Answers is, in my opinion, the BEST place to do this in LinkedIn.  Groups almost became a great place to do this but I’m seeing TOO MUCH discussion spam.
  3. Another thing to do is to use Introductions. These are slow, which annoy people, but I like them because not only are you reaching out to a new contact, but each person who is between you and that contact get reminded of your brand and message, and see how you are approaching potential contacts.
  4. Recommendations also helps you build authority, but I think you need to get Recommendations strategically. Make sure they are on-message (aka, on-brand), and coming from different types of contacts (not just your subordinates, for example).

LinkedIn is not THE place, or THE ONLY place to build authority… but it certainly should not be overlooked.

  1. 3 Responses to “Can LinkedIn help you build "authority?"”

  2. By Merra Lee Moffitt on Jan 25, 2009 | Reply

    It will be interesting to see if LinkedIn makes the leap from personal marketing potential to actual job acquisition for employees and sales for small business owners.

  3. By Jan Vermeiren on Jan 26, 2009 | Reply

    Hi Jason,

    I agree with your post.

    I also want to add that Groups are still a good place to build authority.

    You are right that there is lots of “noise”, but if someone asks a good question, Discussions are even a better place than Answers to build authority.

    Why? Because if you have become member of the RIGHT Groups, you are in front of the people you want to communicate with. “Answers” are still not visited by lots of people.

    Next to that, in my opinion, Group Managers have the responsibility to fight “noise” in order to keep the Group interesting for everybody.

    Have a great networking day !


  4. By Jan Vermeiren on Jan 26, 2009 | Reply

    @ Merra Lee

    LinkedIn is already an excellent place for job acquisition and sales for small business owners.

    The only problem is that too many people think that making a Profile will do the trick.

    If you want to see results, you have to take action yourself and LinkedIn is a super tool to help you with that.

    Start with making your specific goal (finding a specific job or a specific kind of customer), then look for the people who can help you on LinkedIn and discover the people you know in common. Then ask the latter to make a connection for you.

    Good luck !


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