If Facebook is the Backyard BarBQ, LinkedIn is “your” Office Space

Filed in LinkedIn 44 comments

Welcome . .  . to all my newest LinkedIn students, who are about to discover why LinkedIn is the key social media platform to establish their professional reputations.

LinkedIn is the world’s LARGEST online professional network that can help you gather business intelligence, connect with trusted contacts, and pinpoint individuals who can help build businesses and careers.

Here are a half dozen questions to get you thinking . . .  and Linking:

1) Why should I consider being a LinkedIn member?

2) Is there a “typical” LinkedIn member? i.e., an average age?  Income? Occupation?

3) How is LinkedIn different than other social media sites?

4) How much time do I have to spend on LinkedIn?

5) What exactly can I gain from a profile on LinkedIn?

6) How important are LinkedIn recommendations?

Now even if you aren’t scheduled for a class, you, too, can get yourself going on LinkedIn.

6 LinkedIn Answers to help establish your professional self online

1) Why should I consider being a LinkedIn member?

On average, a new member joins every second of every day, or approximately one million every 12 days. Operating in more than 200 countries, as of Jan 2011, LinkedIn has 101 million members. LinkedIn can help you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities. LinkedIn lets you demonstrate your expertise to establish the trust upon which most business relationships depend.

2) Is there a “typical” LinkedIn member? i.e., an average age?  Income? Occupation?

The average age is 41 years. The average salary is $110,000. Twelve percent of all users say they are in sales. And here are more stats:

  • 10% are either in academia, administration or operations
  • 9% engineering
  • 8%  information technology

3) How is LinkedIn different than other social media sites?

Here is an often used analogy: Consider the formerly popular site MySpace like a bar. What would you do and say there? How would you interact with people you knew and people you wanted to meet . . . at a bar. That was MySpace.

Now there is the giant Facebook with its 600 million users. Think of your Facebook Friends coming to your home for an outdoor BarBQ. What stories would you tell? How would you engage with the guests?

Finally, there is LinkedIn. This is like your Virtual Office. You wouldn’t say the same things in a business setting as you would at home or in the bar, right? Furthermore, you wouldn’t expect the same business value either. LinkedIn is where you can present your professional self, demonstrate your expertise, and build solid professional relationships.

4) How much time do I have to spend on LinkedIn?

Of course, like all of social media, the time management issue is entirely up to you — and what you hope to accomplish.

That being said, if “all” you do is take some time to set up a  professional profile AND post an update once or twice a week, you are way ahead of the game. Your professional online resume will be highly findable, and that in and of itself is powerful.

However, if you would like to take the next steps, and really “use” all the functionality of LinkedIn, then you can plan a host of strategies that could take as much time as you wished to schedule. There are some people who actually plan one hour of Every Day answering LinkedIn questions. This strategy works for them, i.e. establishing their authority and bringing in loads of new business.

5) What exactly can I gain from a profile on LinkedIn?

How about job/client opportunities that you would have had no other way to get?

The ultimate goal of a maximized LinkedIn profile is for people to find YOU when they search for someone/something they need.

6) How important are LinkedIn recommendations?

Recommendations are huge. After all, a good part of the New Normal way of doing business is to understand that People Do Business with People — so often based on positive word of mouth [rather than outside advertising or other promotion].

The “art” of recommendations requires its own separate article, but suffice it to say that one of  your initial strategies needs to be finding happy customers and clients, who are LinkedIn members and will write something glowing AND TRUE about you and your services.

So let’s get started . .  . and that includes asking more questions and adding your own LinkedIn experiences and tips below.

Sources: LinkedIn site, Jan 2011 slideshow,


Check out all my blog articles labeled LinkedIn Basics for articles on Maximizing your Profile and Creating your own Success on LinkedIn.

[Here is a podcast of this post: Listen to this episode]

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   3 March 2011
Tags : , , , , , , ,
Mar 3, 2011
3:17 pm
#1 Herb Bass :

I totally agree with Item 3 on this post. I’m on LinkedIn for business and facebook for personal; however facebook is giving its best efforts to bring in business “friends.” It’s an interesting conundrum for them and I think they’ll have a bit of a challenge in doing it successfully. I’m connected to some of the same people on both networks, but I don’t necessarily want potential clients or my new corporate clients to see stuff my kids are doing, or how many grandchildren my old college roommates have. Can anyone else comment on facebook and business?

Author Mar 3, 2011
11:21 pm

Herb, I do hope others will chat about Facebook and Business, but you might want to follow my friend Karen Clark’s MyBusinessPresence Facebook Fan Page. She knows everything about Facebook!

Mar 3, 2011
3:42 pm

Hey Shari,

Thank you for giving me the LinkedIn Kick up the Butt!…I have known too long that I need to spend more time on there. I just guess it felt that It was too much hassle to manage yet another social space.

However, I am going to head over there now, like you say, you only have to update once or twice a week and make sure that our profile is up to date.

Thanks for the reminder,
Beth 🙂

Author Mar 3, 2011
11:19 pm

Beth, make certain to check out my category of LinkedIn Basics for more helpful articles. As a matter of fact, I’m going to add that link to the article right now.

Mar 4, 2011
11:00 am

MySpace is the neighborhood bar, Facebook is a backyard BBQ, and LinkedIn is the office – words you stated long ago, and that have forever stayed w/ me. Thanks for letting me be a part.

Mar 4, 2011
2:58 pm

One of the things I like most about LinkedIn is how interactive it is. When I began to use the site I was impressed with the way it shows thumbnails for other people I already know. I am retired so I haven’t felt the need to be completely proactive with it, but the opportunity to do so is there. One person (a female stranger) reached out to me and asked if she could connect with me. I was too polite to say no. Now my site shows one lone connection. Is there a way I can delete that connection?

Author Mar 4, 2011
8:15 pm

Barbara, I wonder why you are on LinkedIn if you aren’t looking for connections.

Author Mar 4, 2011
11:13 pm

from Andrew Panos — LinkedIn group Online Reporters & Editors discussion:

I find LinkedIn a great space for searching for jobs and for people connecting to you for work. I’d recommend making sure all keywords and job relevant phrases are included in your CV with exact descriptions of jobs you’re looking for so recruiters can match you up exactly with the job you want. It worked for me as I landed a great job as a Web Producer after I was found on LinkedIn.

Mar 5, 2011
2:09 am

Herb and others – create a business Page on Facebook (go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/learn.php to start) and then when people reach out to you there tell them you’re limiting your personal profile but would love to connect on your business Page – and paste in the link. Business Pages on FB are very powerful in the search engines, so you want to have a presence there, even if LinkedIn is where your target is hanging out!

Mar 5, 2011
5:32 pm

Thanks for sharing about LinkedIn. While I’ve had an account for awhile, I never really understood it’s value and just have it setup to mirror what I post on Facebook and my blog. Look forward to learning more so that I can benefit from it.

Author Mar 6, 2011
4:58 pm
#11 Shari Weiss :

Adam, I read your latest post “Would You Want to be Married to You.” Clever title and a great article. Glad you brought it to my attention.

Mar 6, 2011
8:59 am

I rarely post personal “stuff” on social media sites. But when I found linkedin, I realized that it s great way to connect with professionals. I love how it has not turned into a “myspace” or “facebook” — I love those two sites but sometimes resumes need to be “professional-looking”. Now, my work portfolio/resume can be found on linkedin.

Mar 7, 2011
12:17 am
#13 Noter :

I have a LinkedIn account several years ago and forget about that 😀 after reading this, you remind me

Author Mar 7, 2011
12:19 am
#14 Shari Weiss :

read the next post to help you fill out your profile 🙂
Good luck

Mar 7, 2011
4:03 pm
#15 Kevin Jennings :

@ Shari – i love how you put each networking site in it’s own category of everyday life and situations. Which fit each very well i would say. This is actually the first time i have heard about Linkedin since starting this class, i never knew what it was and now i feel like i’ve been missing out on something Big. Im excited we get to create a profile in this different genre of social media. This kind of social media will definitely produce more questions from me.

Author Mar 7, 2011
4:06 pm
#16 Shari Weiss :

Kevin, I look forward to meeting you more “deeply” via our connections on these various sites. BTW, did you listen to the podcast part?

Mar 7, 2011
4:06 pm
#17 Champa :

I signed up for a LinkedIn account a while ago and did all the necessary work for it BUT till date, in all honesty, barely use it. Thankfully, this course will aid my understanding on how to use LinkedIn effectively. Thank you so much for explaining the need and importance for recommendations. For the longest time, I never really thought it was necessary but apparently, it is! I will definitely get some co-workers and editors to go ahead and recommend me. I definitely will be spending more time on LinkedIn. Perhaps 1/3 of the time I spend on Facebook can actually be dedicated to LinkedIn..and that is a lot of time!

Mar 7, 2011
4:08 pm
#18 Champa :

Okay now coming to the question we’ve been asked to answer. I think for any journalist, networking is key. It’s not about just writing but finding people who want you to write for a number of purposes and on a number of topics. Via LinkedIn, we are able to really scout for new jobs, find new avenues to explore and show off our talents, I believe. Although, I personally need to really sit and utilize it effectively, I am sure, if used to its maximum potential, LinkedIn can do wonders for a journalists career.

Mar 7, 2011
4:16 pm
#19 Kevin Jennings :

I think Linkedin can be helpful to Journalists because its another way for them to get out into the world, be heard and seek professional business. Journalists definitely have a spot in corporate America for a number of promotional, strategic, and business related reasons.

Mar 7, 2011
8:03 pm
#20 Susana :

Ok, I see the difference. After reading that Facebook is like a BBQ and LinkIn is more like your office, code switching is necessary. Facebook is something you do with your friends and LinkIn is more something you want for business. I can see how this is better for journalists since it targets a specific audience with the average age range of 41. Since places like Facebook and Myspace is more for entertainment and fun, why would journalist use those to try and look serious as they try to build a career at the same time when they could be using LinkIn.

Mar 7, 2011
8:05 pm
#21 Vanessa Jensen :

Thanks for the great Linkedin intro Shari. Like Kevin, I had never even heard about linkedin until this class…I could see it being very helpful to many but at this point in my life I’m not so sure if I need a business style virtual office but, like you have said I may change my mind about this…I’m excited to get started…I will be opening my Linkedin profile shortly…Thanks again *

And thanks for the great podcast 🙂

Mar 8, 2011
1:00 am
#22 A.S. Miller :

Same thing as Kevin – I hadn’t really heard of LinkedIn before this class! Another adventure!

Though so far all I’ve done is read this article, I can start to see how this would be very useful to journalists, especially freelancers; seems like it’s all about connecting and a person could gain influence by answering questions, get their name out there…but soon enough I’ll see for myself eh!

Mar 8, 2011
12:52 pm
#23 Taniesha R. :

Thanks for the introduction into Linkedln! I’m on these social media sites quite often, so I have heard of Linkedln, but up until today, I didn’t know what it was about. This was a great crash course, and the way it was broken down (i.e Facebook = backyard bbq, Linkedln = Virtual office) gave me a greater image of the kind of site it is, as well as the great opportunities that could be offered, if business savvy, and confident in your social network marketing. I appreciated the article very much, I’m now very interested to start my Linkeldn account and explore the site.

Mar 8, 2011
9:02 pm
#24 Suzzanna Matthews :

I agree with Champa re: why linked in would be useful for journalists ( I will post my comment on that shortly). I do have one question though that I posted on FB earlier. How is Linked in Helpful for those that are just starting out in, or switching a career? Won’t it just highlight your lack if experience? In a away I felt really unaccomplished when creating my Linked in Profile. While I feel I have done so much in life – it is not career related. I’ve traveled abroad, studied abroad – taught English overseas. I’m well read and do hold ‘salon’ type discussions at home with friends- but none of that is related to the career I ended up in – and the career I ended up in is not where I want to be. I am looking for some way of making linked in work for me to make connections – in writing – hard to do when my resume displays work in the legal field. It’s very telling (of what Linked is best suited for) that the average age of Linked in users is 41 and that they are high earners and established in their careers.

Author Mar 9, 2011
1:25 am
#25 Shari Weiss :

Champa . . . and all:
LinkedIn is known by many people as a jobseeker’s goldmine — to look for employers, and to be found.
For your profile, figure out WHAT you want to do and streamline your profile to highlight experience [both paid and nonpaid] AND knowledge/training that will contain Key Words to help you be discovered. But you can do lots of research to find ideal workplaces by finding company information and people to connect with.

Mar 10, 2011
11:58 am
#26 Leanna Marie Francis :

Linkedin is new and scary territory for me, but so far I’d say that the best thing that it can do for a journalist is help to legitamize the unpaid work that they do online and give them a forum to put that work towards securing actual work in the field.

Mar 10, 2011
4:50 pm
#27 Nick Selensky :

I agree with comment 3. As more and more social media websites pop up it is inevitable that one devoted completly with business does too. Networking is still the best way to find a job. This is good way to localize professional populations into online communities.

Mar 10, 2011
8:29 pm
#28 Anthony Thompson :

Linkedin seems like a great way to gain business connections. Even with me doing music i could possibly find someone who’s looking for an artist to work with. This site seems very useful for people with their own self made businesses or people trying to gain connects to move up in the cooperate world. It’s not exactly my cup of tea but i look foward to trying it out.

Mar 11, 2011
6:14 am
#29 Suki van Arsdale :

I know you talked about how LinkedIn is more for work or at least way more serious than Facebook. I have a pretty mundane waitressing job that is a job, not a career, so I’m interested in seeing how I wind up using this differently than Facebook, or even WordPress for that matter. Time will only tell.

Author Mar 11, 2011
10:42 am
#30 Shari Weiss :

Suki, what do you WANT to do with the rest of your life? . . . or for the next few [or several] years. Perhaps LinkedIn can help you get “there”

Mar 11, 2011
1:37 pm

Wonderful post on the niche that LinkedIn fills. I think there is a great prospect for LinkedIn to become a resource for people in the field of journalism by providing a pseudo office environment — place where vetted professionals are able to discuss the future of journalism and the tools being used without having to share a physical space.

Mar 16, 2011
10:59 pm
#32 Neysa Ordaz Sifuentes :


Since LinkedIn is completely new to me, I had no idea the benefits that came with it, or what it was useful for. Introductions like these are very useful for me. LinkedIn seems like a great place to make your professional side shine. It seems like a place with great opportunities to make new clients, and meet new employers.

LinkedIn can be a great place for journalists because it’s designed to display what you’re good at. It’s a great place for professionals to view your writing, can potentially hire you. It seems that LinkedIn has great employment opportunities, so for those journalists looking for a profession in writing this seems like a great place to look.

Mar 17, 2011
1:15 pm

Thanks for this very informative post. I’ve had a profile on LinkedIn for a couple of years, but never really understood how to use it well. You’ve shown me the value in LI and now I’m going to update my profile so I can reap the benefits.

Author Mar 17, 2011
4:40 pm
#34 Shari Weiss :

Great, Hazel, please let me know when you’ve done your update AND if you see any increase in the righthand sidebar where LinkedIn tells you how many people view your profile.

Mar 17, 2011
4:40 pm
#35 Mele Mesui :

I should have read this before I made my LinkedIn account, all my questions are now answered and confusion is gone 🙂 Good post for newbies such as myself.

Apr 28, 2011
10:56 pm

Hey Shari,

Yes, I have a LinkedIn account. Do I use regularly … (head down in shame,) no I do not.

I have heard of the power a good LinkedIn presence can provide. Thanks for the reminder that this definitely needs to be brought from the back of my mind to the forefront of my actions.

Thanks again for sharing this Shari,


Author Apr 30, 2011
1:37 am
#37 Shari Weiss :

Kevin, maximizing one’s profile is a Great first step for using LinkedIn, but only the first step. See my comment to Richard, i.e. there is so very much more!

Jul 9, 2011
3:46 pm

Great read! Whats ironic is that i’m a social media addict, but I’m a total newbie when it comes to Linkedin, lol. I know that Linkedin is a great way to connect with business circles of people that you know, in a way its very similar to Twitter in that it Twitter connects you to several different social circles.

I’ve recently decided on what my choice of career is going to be, and I think that Linkedin will do the job of connecting me with the right people in order for me to reach my goals.

Sep 13, 2011
7:59 pm

Interesting analogy of Myspace, Facebook and LinkedIn. But it does make total sense.

Sep 15, 2011
3:38 pm

really interesting comparison between the two social networks..rnjoyed reading..

Sep 26, 2011
6:16 pm
#41 Rich :

101 million LinkedIn members worldwide. Those stats unstoppable for moving up. I guess each adds up a thousand members worldwide. Very impressive.

Author Sep 28, 2011
1:46 pm
#42 Shari Weiss :

Rich, I make certain that all my local small biz clients update their profiles on LI . . . and then how to use this amazing online platform.

Dec 14, 2011
1:02 am
#43 Eugenia Nixon :

I’ve traveled abroad, studied abroad – taught English overseas. This was a great crash course, and the way it was broken down (i.e Facebook = backyard bbq, Linkedln = Virtual office) gave me a greater image of the kind of site it is, as well as the great opportunities that could be offered, if business savvy, and confident in your social network marketing. She knows everything about Facebook!

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