By Melissa Ward, Managing Partner of NewWard Development, LLC




Have you visited Linked in,  Linked in connects you with people that you know, also known as your immediate sphere of influence.  Through those connections you can see who your friends, also known as connections, are connected to.  Linked in tracts your 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections and shows you how your network of connections grows as you add more people to you list. What is important with Linked in is that you are only adding people you know, friends, business acquaintances, associates, people who are members of the same civic or business group, etc. As you look at the list of people that you know and they list of people that they know… and so on… you can see how your reach has expanded. On your home page of Linked in, you have a feed to track updates and changes with-in your network.  Anytime one of your connections adds a connection, you can see it on your profile (this varies with the privacy settings the user sets).  If one of your connections updates their profile, uploads a photo, lists a job or participates in other Linked in components, it is listed in your feed.   

Recently I was contacted by one of my connections who requested an introduction to another connection I have.   She sent me a note making the request; with the note to be forwarded to the individual she was hoping I’d introduce her to.  I read the note and forwarded her request to the connection.  I have not heard yet, but I am sure they will be a good opportunity there for both Linked in members.

Linked in offers you the greatest opportunity for exposure in the Answers Section.  You can ask a question in a specific topic and read the answers posted by other Linked in members.  If you are seeking advice on filing your taxes, starting a business, internet marketing, or on any of the HUGE plethora of other topics – this is the place to post them.  Better yet, respond to questions asked by other Linked in Members in your area of expertise.   Asking and answering questions gives you exposure to the entire Linked in community.  By the way, to ask or respond to question does not require a paid membership. 

Here is a scenario I recently went through:  I was searching through Linked in Answers and noticed a question on how to properly market and sell e-books.  I supplied my answer and by the next day the person who asked the question emailed me (via linked in) with a follow up question.  I responded again.  He made a connection request, which I accepted, so we are now connected through Linked in.  He voted my responses as a “Best Answer” upping my trustworthiness within the community.   He then checked out my web site (which is listed on my profile page) and emailed me directly discussing a web site idea he has.  I followed up with a phone call or two and have since been given the opportunity to send him a proposal. 

There is no other way that I would has met this gentleman, who’s business is in Florida, other then a Social Networking site.  As with all networking, the goal is to participate in the community, share your expertise for the betterment of all members in that community and build up a level of trust with its members.  Marketing yourself based on your knowledge is what makes people come to you.