WASHINGTON – “Connecting dots in the dark,” is how marketing aficionado Mark Amtower uses to explain how LinkedIn has changed the professional landscape as far as networking and connecting with sources.
Amtower was invited to join the fledgling social media platform in 2004 soon after it launched. He says while he’s enjoyed learning how to maximize its potential, the strongest aspect about the social networking site isn’t in its numbers, but in its groups.
“There’s about 1.7 million groups on LinkedIn. These are self-identifed communities of people who share various interests,” Amtower says.
He explains how to search out individuals within a company to find contacts.
|Read a transcript of our interview with Mark Amtower.|
“Through LinkedIn, you can look up the company, and, if the company has a profile, it will tell you how many employees of the company are there, whether they’re first, second or other degree to you. If they’re first or second, you can puruse them. The first degree connections, obviously, you know or you kind of know. The second degrees, there’s usually a lot more of those, but you’re able to look at them. So, you’re able to find the kinds of people you want,” Amtower says.
When it comes to building profile, as a reporter, Amtower says to think about how you want to use it. Is it a profile to find another job or is it a means of making contacts? If it’s the latter, he suggests posting relevant information about your background to essentially “sell” yourself to the contact.
“For reporters, if you really want to leverage LinkedIn, your profile has to be pretty informationally robust about who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been. And when you reach out to people, they’ll understand the value you could bring to them by talking to them,” he says.
Amtower says integrating yourself into groups is an important step that will forge online connections. He suggests sharing articles or blog posts on group discussion pages.
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