Note from Me: This is coss posting of a guest blog I did that was posted live today on http://www.prospectresearch.com - they have great resources-check them out!
Lately it’s been conference season in my world, which means presentations galore! I have been doing a social media and digital technology session since 2007 but as social media gets better, so does the great info for the sessions. Recently I have stumbled upon a vast empty space for development shops when it comes to their use of LinkedIn. As I ask about the usage of it by research departments across the country I am constantly amazed at how few use it to update employment data and verify alumni titles and companies. In addition, Linked In now has advanced analytics embedded in it that can help you assess the fields and areas in which your alumni live. This data is free to any user about not only their network but also the groups they are involved with. See the graphic below for an example. It is under network statistics in the contacts portion of your profile.
Under the groups page, you can see great statistics, which also includes a tab called ‘group statistics’ that is quite revelatory. You can see that there are numerous tabs that house valuable information. Growth, seniority, function, location, industry, all can be mined and harvested for your use! Notice that LinkedIn also makes it easy for us at the bottom by saying, “Looking for group members who perform a specific professional function (e.g. sales, legal, etc.)? Members and subscribers can do advanced searches within the group.” WOW, yes, it’s that easy.
In addition, an alumni’s profile at LinkedIn is likely to be more up-to-date and more complete than the profile in the traditional database, since a professional with limited time is likely to prioritize the network where they keep track of their professional contacts over their alumni network. Also, whenever someone I know is beginning or concluding a job search, they often update their LinkedIn with their most current information even before updating their resume. Studies have shown that for those under the age of 45, LinkedIn is more than 90 percent accurate!
So I challenge you to incorporate LinkedIn analytics and searches in all of your research and data mining efforts, the total cost to you is free – the information obtained by your organization is priceless!