Last week I received an email from Linkedin Founder Reid Hoffman thanking me for being one of their first million members (number 216977). They now have over 100 million members!
At a recent NRG Xtra session before a networking lunch we had a discussion on the relevance of online networks for those providing services to other businesses. It is surprising to me when I meet business professionals not using online networks, but then I am an early adopter as you can see above. During the discussions it was clear that a Linkedin presence is now seen as an essential requirement for business professionals. Just having a Linkedin profile, however, is not going to be any use unless you do something. You need to regularly spend time interacting with and adding value to your network by sharing things with them.
We have had a couple of expert speakers at NRG recently who have covered this particular subject. Thomas Power of Ecademy spoke in Bristol at the start of the year and Madlen Nicolaus of Kodak in London. Both of them advocated the importance of an active online presence. Thomas talked about its importance in the context of building your personal brand. Madlen concentrated on its importance in the overall context of b2b marketing.
The other essential that both these experts agreed on is that you should have a blog where you share your expertise and opinion. It can be on your website or if that is not possible use a free service like blogger, wordpress or similar. This might be just the written word, but could also include audio and video. Depending on your business it may be that you should be sharing and interacting online in other places like Facebook and Twitter too. You have thousands of choices, but the main one for business professionals is Linkedin.
It may well be that you need more than your individual profile. I manage my own profile on Linkedin along with the NRG company profile and the NRG-networks Group.