I promise that at some point, we’ll be done with applications and move right into looking at some other features of LinkedIn! (Like tomorrow) There sure are a lot, aren’t there? That just shows me what a valuable tool we have here – you can really customize it, make it your own, and put it to work for you so that with a little bit of investment here and there, it can really assist you in your networking efforts. 

Moving right along, we’ll jump into some more applications today.

 

Events

We talked a little bit about events when we talked about how you could better engage with your network.  Events is an application from LinkedIn that is incredibly useful, particularly for attorneys – again, it’s another one of those applications that will involve a little time investment and will then do the work for you. 

So let’s add the application as we normally would.  It seems to have been added as a default on my new profile, so this may be the case for you as well.  If it appears in the list when you mouseover "More" in the menu on your homepage, then you’ve got it installed!

 

So we’ll first go to the events page: 

So this is what you’ll be greeted with on the main events page – they’ll start you off with a list of the most popular events within your industry.  You can see that there are some tabs across the top – Events Home, Find Events, My Events, and Add an Event. There’s also a search box in the upper right hand side that allows you to find an event, and you can see that you can browse events either by popular events (which is the page we’re on) or by seeing the events that your connections are attending.

Let’s go through each of these. We’ll start by looking at the page that we’re on.  Since it’s likely that you may be attending one of the more popular events within your industry, look through this list – you may also be encouraged to attend an event that you weren’t previously aware of or thinking of going to. You’ll note that the events are listed in order of popularity and not by date. 

You can see that each event gives you some options and brief information: 

This conference is taking place in Nashville next week, and I can see that none of my connections are attending – if they were, I could click on that link to see who was attending.  If I were also planning to go, that would be a good time to reach out to them and suggest that we meet.

Just next to that, I can see that 313 people on LinkedIn have said they’re attending. If I click on this link, I can see who those people are. I might find someone in there that I want to set up a meeting with at the conference or just add to my LinkedIn connections.

This is also a quick spot to RSVP – you can see that there’s a dropdown menu there, where I can choose whether I’m attending, presenting, exhibiting or interested.  

If I wanted more information on this conference, I could click the conference name to go to the events page: 

The overview page, which you are first taken to, will tell you when the event starts and ends, what type of event it is and the location, the price, the website, the industry and keywords, and who it’s intended for.  It will also give you a summary and show you any comments that have been made – or you can add your own comment if you’d like.  On the right hand side you can RSVP, and see who is attending and interested.  At the bottom right, it lets you know who organized the event and links to their profile – so if you’d like to connect to that person, you can do so here.

Why might you want to be connected to the organizer? Well, let’s say that you’re blogging or tweeting from the event – you can let the organizer know that you’ll be planning to do this, and it might help get you on the event website.  Or perhaps you’d like to speak at next year’s conference – this will tell you who to contact to pitch your ideas.  

As you can see, there’s also an RSVP tab at the top. This will show you the list of who has RSVP’d, which includes those who are presenting, attending and exhibiting.

Let’s go back to the main events page now and we’ll continue browsing events, but this time by clicking on the "My connections" tab – it’s a great idea to see what events your connections are attending, because you might be going to the same ones! 

 

Here, I can see the list of events that my connections are attending.  I can click on the individual events to see more about them, as we did before, RSVP from this page, or click on either the connections that are attending or the list of full RSVPs.  At the bottom, you can also see that it says "Network Updates for Events." This will show you a list of updates from your connections related to these events – what they are presenting at, attending, exhibiting at, interested in or what they recommend.  This gives you a recent, clear picture of who is attending what, without having to look through the list of connections for each event.

The other tabs along the top give you some further options. Let’s look at Find Events first: 

As I mentioned before, you can search for an event using the search box on the main page – or you can find events using a bit more detail.  As you can see from the page above, you can search using keywords (like the area of practice or industry you’re in).  You can also specify whether you’d like the event to be upcoming, within the week, within a month, within a year, in the past or any of these – this is particularly helpful for those requests that I get from attorneys saying "Do you know if there are any events in XYZ place next month?"  If you’re already traveling, you search for specific locations and relative dates! 

You can search for location specific events – either anywhere, near your location, in the US (or your country) or plug in a specific location.  And you can look for particular event types –  conferences, tradeshows & conventions, networking & meetups, training & seminars, fundraising, or other.  These conference types are set by those who are creating the events. Let’s say I want to search for ILN events in Europe in the next year: 

I type in my criteria and hit search.  I get the following results: 

The conference I’m looking for comes up first and I can see that three of my connections are attending and click for more information if I’m looking for it.  I can also reset my search criteria on the right hand side if nothing of interest pops up.

Another option we have within the events application is adding an event.  We’ll click the tab to "Add an event."

Anything with an * is required, but you can add all fields.  I’ll fill this in for our upcoming Regional Meeting of the Americas.  As a note – when you’re typing the name of the event, it will start coming up with a list of events that start out that way. You might find that someone has already posted your event, so this is a good way to check that!

I started by entering the relevant information requested in the initial screen capture, and then click "Add more Details" so that I could flesh out the event.  There are a lot of options to include, but the more you add, the better – especially if you are trying to encourage people to attend.  In my case, only current members and prospective members can attend our conferences, but I like to add the events to encourage pre and post networking on LinkedIn. 

Once you’re ready, you can either publish or preview your event, or save it as a draft.  I click "Publish" and it takes me to this screen: 

Step 1 is telling my network on LinkedIn, which they have done automatically.  I can then do one of three things – I can click on my event by using the link just above the three suggestions, I can share this event with specific contacts, or I can advertise the event.  We’ll skip the advertising, since as I mentioned, I’m not looking to recruit attendees, but if you are, this might be useful for you – advertisements are paid.

So I’ll click "Share this event" instead so that I can select attendees from my list of connections that I think will be interested in, or will be attending, our Americas Conferences: 

LinkedIn will create an email for you – which you can edit as you wish – which will be send to the contacts you designate.  If there’s only a couple that you want to send to, you can just type their names in the box and select them as they come up (you have to select them because otherwise LinkedIn doesn’t connect the names with the profiles).  So that you know, when you send an email like this, the contacts are not visible to each other, so feel free to send it to whomever you like.

If there are a lot of people you’d like to send it to, or you want to be able to browse your list, click the little "in" graphic next to the address box.  This will open up a list of your contacts that you can click and add to the email – you’re allowed to invite 50 people. Since I want to be able to browse my list, that’s what I do. Once I’ve selected all the contacts I want to (you have to go through them letter by letter, clicking on each letter that you want to browse), I click "finished" and it imports them into my email address field:

 

Then, I’ll click send message to send the information about the event I’ve just created to my chosen contacts.  I have the option below the email to choose "Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses" – it defaults to this, so make sure it’s what you want! – and/or to send me a copy of the email.

The final option we have is looking at "My Events."  This is where any event you’ve created or RSVP’d to will appear. 

As you can see, I’ve got two events coming up, and I can click on either of these to get more information.  It lets me know right here how many of my connections are attending, how many people are attending, and what my RSVP is.  I can also click on the tab for Past Events if I wanted to see those.

On the right hand side, it will give me a brief overview of my events – how many I’m attending, organized or interested in, as well as any I’ve said I’m not attending, or events I’ve saved as drafts.

Now quickly, we’ll look at how these appear on your home page and profile.  On your home page, it will appear like this in the righthand column: 

 

You can use this box to click the link to browse events, if you don’t have one in mind, search events directly if you do, or click on "See events your connections are attending."  Hopefully they’ll soon be adding these right on the home page so you don’t have to go looking for them, as well as adding the events that you’re attending!

On your profile, the events that you’re attending or have created/organized will pop up:

So anyone viewing your profile can see the events you’re attending – I would recommend especially adding the events that you’re speaking at. This, coupled with updating any articles you’re writing through JD Supra, will give you a really well-rounded profile that showcases your expertise nicely (as well as shows that you’re an advanced social media user! Which after reading and implementing these tutorials, you are, right?).  

WordPress

Have a blog? Use WordPress? This is the app for you! 

If you’re using WordPress to blog, you can use the LinkedIn application to sync your blog posts with your LinkedIn profile – that way, you never have to remember to post them once they’re written!  The updates are also sent automatically to your network.

We’ll take a quick look at using this for the WordPress user – add the application as we have done with others – again, you can add it to your profile and your home page (and I’ll show you how it appears on each). 

If you’re not sure what WordPress is, it’s an online platform that allows you to create and publish a blog.  And it’s an excellent one. I won’t go into too much detail on that, but if you’re looking to start a professional blog and you want to start a free one, I highly recommend WordPress, and I’d be happy to talk to you further about it offline.  Plus there are TONS of online resources for using WordPress as well. 

Once you’ve added the application, it will ask you for your WordPress blog url (that’s the link that starts with http: or www. if you’re not sure).  You’ll put this in the box it specifies and decide whether you want to show all recent posts from your blog, or only those posts that you’ve tagged "linkedin" – that’s something you’ll have to do within WordPress.

I’m going to input one of my personal blogs from WordPress (since my professional blog isn’t a WordPress blog, but a LexBlog blog) and choose to show all recent posts. 

Once I put the url for my blog in and click Save, it will show me the last five posts from that blog: 

 

I can click on an individual post if I want to be taken to the blog itself to see that post, or I can click "Edit," which will again give me the option to put in the URL and choose whether I want all posts or just those tagged "linkedin."

On your home page, it will look like this: 

It gives me the last couple of posts that are on there, so I know what’s appearing on my profile.  On my profile, it looks like this: 

So anyone visiting my profile (this depends on your settings of course, but at least your LinkedIn connections), will see the last five posts from my blog and be able to click on them to go through to my personal blog. 

You can see how this might be useful if you have a professional legal blog that you want linked to your profile for everyone to see – but only if you’re not already having those posts distributed to JD Supra (nothing worse than overloading people with the same information constantly in different ways!).  

Blog Link

Blog Link is similar to WordPress in that it allows you to link your blog to your LinkedIn profile – however, it’s not restricted only to WordPress blogs.  The nice thing here is that on your home page, Blog Link is going to pull in the recent blog posts from your network – rather than you – so that you can see what your network is talking about. 

Blog Link supports the following blog types:

  • TypePad
  • Movable Type
  • Vox
  • WordPress.com & WordPress.org
  • Blogger
  • LiveJournal

It also supports others. So let’s add this application! As soon as you add the application, it starts looking through your connections for their latest blog posts.  This can take a while if you have a lot of connections (which on my existing profile, I do!). Once it’s gotten them though, it will look like this: 

As you can see, there are a lot of posts coming in from my connections! Many of them are people whose blogs I read in my feed reader, but some of them will be new to me.  And this allows me to find new people and ideas all the time! The posts are all shortened versions, but they have a "read more" link that allows me to see the full post. 

The other option I have while in this application is to see the posts by me – there’s a tab at the top, which I’ll click to get this: 

Honestly, this is a bit scary, because as you can see, the posts above come from our company website – they were posted by me, but written by others. How did LinkedIn know that they came from me? That’s just another great reminder that nothing is private on the internet, and you never know what can be traced back to you! It’s fortunate that all of these are professional posts!

That’s pretty much it for Blog Link within the application – pretty easy, huh? Let’s take a quick look at how it appears on your home page and profile. 

On your home page, it’s basically a narrower version of what you’d see within the application: 

You can choose to see posts by you or your connections by clicking at the tabs at the top, read more of the posts if you so desire, or use the arrows at the bottom to scroll through the list of posts that you’re looking at. 

On your profile page, it looks like this: 

This is going to be all the posts by you.  Now, you may be wondering what’s the benefit to installing the WordPress app over this one, if this one is broader? And on your profile is the biggest reason why – you have no control over what is being shared.  Anything that Blog Link is connecting to you is going to be shared through here regardless of the source.  However, if you’re using WordPress, you have the option of tagging the posts that you want shared, or just restricting the posts to only those written within WordPress.  There are obviously benefits and drawbacks to each, so I’m still hoping for one that is somewhere in the middle – allowing you to link from any blog platform of your choosing, but YOU get to choose the feeds instead of the application. 

Box.net Files

Box.net Files is similar to the two project applications we’ve looked at in that it allows you to upload and share files with your LinkedIn connections – but this is it’s main purpose, so it’s a bit more targeted than the other two applications in that sense.

In their overview, Box.net files suggests using them to: 

  • Share your resume or portfolio if you’re looking for a job (you can share documents from Box to your contacts).
  • When you’re hiring, get your employees to spread job requisitions by posting them to your profile.
  • If you’re a small business, consultant or freelancer, post a one-sheet or presentation piece about yourself.
  • If you’re a start-up, post your company overview to get angels, VCs, potential employees and customers excited about your launch.  

Through Box.net Files, you can also set up folders, so it keeps things more organized.

While I think this could be a useful tool if you wanted to share things with your LinkedIn contacts, I’m going to caution against using it for promotional materials for your firms and practices. Why? you may ask – and here’s the reason.  If you’re using social networking tools to build relationships with clients, potential clients, and influencers, none of those people want to know about your promotional materials. They already reside on your firm website, so if they desperately want that information, they’ll be able to easily find it.

They’re going to be more interested in the content that you produce that’s relevant to them – how a new law might affect their business, how they should be going about protecting their business from potential litigation in various areas, and more.  And that type of content is best pushed through JD Supra, who have a great distribution network already – those pieces can already be shared with your contacts if you wanted to.  

So, if you’d like to use Box.net files to manage and share files on LinkedIn, please, go ahead.  But with so many other excellent apps out there, this might not be one that’s the best use of your time.  However, if you’re an attorney looking for a job, absolutely use this to upload your resume and share it with potential contacts. 

For that reason, here’s just a few quick notes about using it: 

  • You have to have a box.net account in order to use the application. 
  • There seems to be no restriction on the type of files you can upload. 
  • You need to upgrade if you want more file space – it’s not clear on how much space they give you with a free account.
  • You can invite "collaborators" to view your files as well – this makes it similar to projects, because you’re sharing an editable file, but I’m not sure about the security of this application. 
  • Your top level folder is called your "LinkedIn" folder – anything you upload there (without putting in a folder that you create) is going to be visible on your LinkedIn profile – which means anyone who looks at your LinkedIn profile can see it.  

Polls

Another of the applications that LinkedIn offers is the Polls application. This application is just what it sounds like – it enables you to create polls for your connections, as well as LinkedIn’s network as a whole.  For the application’s information page, click here

Polls are another application that seem to be installed as a default, so you can just go directly to the polls page.  In my mind, the jury is still out on how useful these are for attorneys, but please share your thoughts in the comments if you feel differently!  For that reason, I’ll just go over them quickly.

On your polls page, you can create a new poll, see polls you’ve answered, recently added polls, polls that are open or closed, as well as the suggested polls that LinkedIn thinks you will like: 

To answer a poll, you can click on the link and respond to the question – they seem to be all polls with multiple choices, and you can choose one answer.  When you click the question, you have the choice to vote, as well as the option to view the results from others who have voted.

To create a new poll, click the button and you’ll be taken to a new page.  There, you can ask your question and specify up to five answers.  You can choose to display the answers in random order (as a former market researcher, I can tell you that this helps ensure a less skewed sample), you can choose the date that the poll will end, and whether you want to share this on LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Facebook.  Then click "Create Poll" and the answers will start rolling in! 

This may be useful if you’re wondering things like "Do my clients really like when a law firm approaches them with alternative fee proposals?" "Do clients want to know what other types of work my law firm does?" "Should I take up yoga?" (I threw that last one in there to make sure you were still paying attention!).  If you can think of other benefits to creating and answering poll questions, please feel free to share them!

Let’s Be Brief…

As I mentioned in our first applications post, not all of the applications you’ll find on LinkedIn will be of interest or use to you.  Below, I’m going to just touch on four of them briefly so that you’ll know they’re there.  You can add them as we’ve added the others if you’d like to, or just skip right over them!

  • Portfolio Display: This application allows you to showcase your creative work in your LinkedIn profile – you can see how this would be incredibly useful for photographer, designers, advertisers, and more.  They can also handle multimedia projects. 
     
  • Real Estate Pro: This application is for anyone who would like to stay up to date on their local real estate and office space market – you can find office space listings for lease and property for sale, connect with brokers and professionals, see the latest deals in your market, or track new property listings.
     
  • GitHub: This application is for programmers who want to "claim their place in the coding community" on LinkedIn.
     
  • SAP Community Bio: SAP, as you may know, is the market and technology leader in business management software, solutions and services for improving business processes.  Their community network is their professional social network for their customers, partners, employees and experts that focuses on their solutions and services. If you’re a community member, adding this application on LinkedIn will share your SAP membership status, your recent contributions and articles and your point level.   
  • E-Bookshelf: E-Bookshelf is an application from the Financial Times Press, which allows you to get concise business and career lessons from top experts.  I would be recommending this higher if it didn’t require you to purchase credits in order to read the content – they start you out with three free credits, and each item seems to be worth one credit.  To purchase credits, you can buy 1, 10 or 25, which are $1.99, $14.99, and $19.99 respectively.

    If you choose to install this application, you can see articles from categories including business motivation, communication, economics, general and global business, leadership, management/strategy, sales/marketing and more.  I won’t go into additional detail, since I feel that a lot of this information is available elsewhere for free or more easily available in longer formats on your e-readers.  

  • Tweets: I’m not including this in the "let’s be brief" section because I think it isn’t important, I’m including it here because we haven’t gotten to that tutorial yet, so I don’t want to confuse anyone unfamiliar with Twitter with too much detail (and lingo).  So quickly, this application allows you to display your most recent tweets (or 140 character messages) on your LinkedIn profile, and access the updates of those you’re following on Twitter.  You can also tweet, reply (also known as @ messaging) and re-tweet (when you essentially copy and forward someone else’s tweet) within your LinkedIn page.   If you have Twitter, include this application (unless you’re tweeting semi-anonymously about non-business related issues entirely – then, give it some thought first). 

You may have noticed that I skipped a rather important application – My Travel by TripIt. That was on purpose, since there seems to be some difficulties with it this week.  Since I consider it to be an important one, I don’t want to skip over any screen captures I could include, so I’m going to just postpone talking about it until it’s back up and working!

Otherwise, we’ve covered all the applications! Tomorrow, we’ll be moving on to talk about another hugely important feature LinkedIn – Groups!