Featured: 5 Sources of Rich Business Intelligence on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is well understood as an important platform for recruiters and job seekers, but there is so much more to the professional networking site…

Business Insights: More Signal, Less Noise

LinkedIn also serves as a fire hydrant of business insight and intelligence for professionals of all kinds in all industries. Some sources of that biz intel are obvious (network updates; conversations and news in groups), but not all…

Here are 5 tools on the world’s largest professional network that help you filter the business signal from the noise:

1. LinkedIn Signal

One of LinkedIn’s most powerful sources of information, Signal allows you to conduct keyword searches of public updates across the entire network (not just among your own connections). The result: a terrific snapshot of who’s saying (and sharing) what on any particular professional topic that matters to you and your clients/customers.

– Tip: regularly search LinkedIn Signal using different keywords, including your company name and words and phrases that are essential to your business/industry/market. You’ll be surprised by what you find.

2. LinkedIn Today

An interesting exercise in news curation, LinkedIn Today organizes the copious links shared on the network into magazine-like topics and formats. The idea: this is a link economy, let’s make those links relevant and easy to scan and read. Today is fueled by active shares on your LinkedIn network; in other words, well-read news percolates up. Initially, you’ll see news relevant to your industry (as noted in your profile), but you can customize and follow any topic of interest to you. This is a good way 1) to stay on top of popular news (including news in your professional sphere), and 2) to take measure of what information is in fact being read and shared. (And, for one example, that may well be a great start to developing your company’s own content marketing plan. Write on subjects you know your clients want to read about.)

– Tip: read LinkedIn Today regularly; find and and follow topics that matter to you. What’s more, follow the actual sources of the news, too. It’s that easy.

3. LinkedIn Company Profiles

LinkedIn’s Company Profiles enables you to see, among other things: who has been recently hired or promoted at a particular company. You can also learn how you are connected to that company through its employees (“Oh, the CTO is connected to my old college friend through an association at…”). And you can follow news from and about a particular company. All helpful nuggets as you (pun intended) build profiles of key influencers in your particular market.

– Tip: follow company profiles of your clients, prospective clients, and competitors. Whenever you’re working on a sales or marketing initiative, use profiles to mine for information. And, most importantly, if you’re looking for a contact at a particular co., use profiles to find your connections…

 4. LinkedIn Answers

LinkedIn’s question and answer platform is useful in much the same way groups can be useful. It’s a window into concerns and questions expressed by professionals in your field/market. Only, instead of joining groups to see what people care about, you can search or browse LinkedIn Answers to for a broader view, outside of your network. Savvy LinkedIn users participate in Q&A (ie, answer questions) to showcase their particular expertise; the forums also offer valuable information to people who simply browse through the collected questions. Important to mine that information.

– Tip: regularly scan LinkedIn Answers. Search for questions related to the product or service you provide; or, browse Q&A by the many subject categories provided by LinkedIn. Don’t limit yourself to “open” questions. Spend some time scanning the “closed” as well.

5. Legal Updates on LinkedIn 

Legal Updates is JD Supra’s LinkedIn InApp, which we created to complement the type of business intelligence outlined above. Once installed, the application will deliver to you regular updates, alerts, and commentary written by lawyers and law firms around the nation, writing on legal developments and issues within your industry. The app automatically matches content to your profile, based on what we know about your profession/industry. And so, if you’re in HR, you’ll get regular Employment Law updates. If you’re in real estate, insurance, tech, finance, and so on, you’ll get updates relevant to those fields. Updates arrive in a module on your homepage, and weekly via email update. After the initial automatic matching of legal content to your field, you’re able to follow any other topics that matter to you. A full list of law new topics is available here.

– Tip: install Legal Updates on LinkedIn for insights into legal developments and issues in your field. Browse the subject feeds and add whatever other subjects interest you. Also follow specific law firms whose work you read and value.

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Which are your favorite sources of business insight and intelligence on LinkedIn? Let us know in a comment here.