Tuesday Tips #20: You’re Linked In, Be an Answer Provider

Tuesday Tip #20

The professional networking service, LinkedIn.com, continues to grow in usability and value, consider using this tool to provide your knowledge and insight into current trends in specific industries.

For example, recruiters post their tips on how to find qualified applicants; people with heavy involvement in new technologies answer specific, obscure, or technical questions; and people recommend services with which they have experience. It’s a continuous source of up-to-date information with more of a "work-related" feel.

If you’re an answer provider or you have some knowledge in a particular field, share your knowledge by answering other people’s questions. You might do this on LinkedIn or on a different service like a forum, bulletin board, or listserv that’s related to your company.

When you build up social capital by answering questions in a helpful way, you easily make connections for potential sales. More importantly, you build your reputation as someone other people trust.

While I don’t recommend you dominate a bulletin board with your answers or take over a forum posting with links back to your website, I do recommend you find online networks of people interested in your field and contribute to other people’s questions and answers. If you’re thoughtful, knowledgeable, and demonstrate integrity, your reputation (or at least your search results) as an answer provider will spread. When it does come time to select a vendor, your bulletin board mates may be more inclined to choose you over a competitor.

Checklist of ideas for participating in Q&A sessions:

  • Add thoughtful answers that demonstrate your mastery of subject matter
  • Refrain from one-word or one-line answers
  • Contribute to a discussion
  • Stay away from “flame wars” or rude posters
  • Maintain a respectful tone
  • Add your contact information or motto
  • Offer longer or more in-depth answers offline

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