Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Your Linkedin network - the one you already have - can be the key to getting your startup moving, with investors, partners, customers, or employees. Hear one of Linkedin's founders explain how.

By Mark Helfen

As you try to start up your startup, you have no brand, or at least no brand recognition. Making it difficult to attract investors, partners, employees, and customers - the very things that would get you some recognition. The result, according to the speaker at next MarketingSIG meeting (March 17) is a "catch-22."

But by using Linkedin and the personal network you already have, you can break this cycle, and get the contacts you need to get your business going.

Our speaker, Konstantin Guericke, was one of Linkedin's founders, and its first marketing VP. He is currently a partner at 50505 labs, which helps entrepreneurs get the business running. Before that, he was CEO at Jaxtr, a social communications startup.

In speaking to him about his presentation next week, its clear he is both a fan or Linkedin, and expert on startup entrepreneurs using the network, and he will share some of that knowledge in his presentation.

Guericke wants to encourage startups who feel like they have hit a wall in getting noticed. The network you already have on Linkedin is "highly likely" to be a source of investment, customers, partners, or employees. The overall Linkedin network is certainly large enough - over half of all professionals on the U.S. are already on Linkedin.

There are many ways of using Linkedin. At one end, the most closed networkers only connect with people they directly know, as a way of keeping in touch. At the other extreme are "Linkedin Open Networkers (LION), who connect with as many people as they can, whether they have any personal connection or not.

But the second level - the people who are connected to the people you know, is the "sweet spot," that Linkedin was designed to optimize. If you have 200 linkedin connections, and each of your connections has 200 of theirs - there is a good chance that the contacts you need will come from this pool. As an entrepreneur your personal network is already in place - you just have to tap in and build some new relationships to make it work for you.

Linkedin has changed and added capabilities over its life, including tools, some to specifically help this process. Guericke is frequently surprised, or perhaps frustrated, as to how little people know about what it can do.

"Most people only 20 percent of the features, barely scratching what it can do."

Guericke promises to both explain, and demonstrate the tools that can be most effective for a startup to overcome the limits of being unknown.

If you plan on coming, please sign up at our Meetup page, here.


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant. He can be reached at:   mhelfen@wordpixel.com

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/markhelfen
Facebook: facebook.com/mark.helfen
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