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LinkedIn’s Mario Sundar on getting the most out of your network

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

Mario Sundar is LinkedIn’s first social media expert. Having been with the company since 2007, you could argue that no one is more knowledgeable than Sundar about LinkedIn, and the ways that it can be used by busy professionals. I recently asked Sundar a few questions in hopes of gleaning some of his knowledge. An edited transcript of his responses follows.

LinkedIn is often viewed as a recruiting or job-seeking tool. Do you think people are underestimating its utility?

Sometimes. I do think professionals are growing in their understanding of LinkedIn’s benefits as the site grows mainstream.

I often say, “Ask not what LinkedIn can do for you, but rather what you can do with LinkedIn.” I use it constantly as my social Rolodex (constantly updating it with the help of the e-mail plug-ins we’ve got). Also, I can’t think of a more effective asset than LinkedIn Advanced Search. It helps me tap into my professional network for answers.

Two highly underrated solution-finding tools to help us get to solution mode happen to be Groups and Answers. Personally, I’m on Groups every day to find out what my colleagues at work are talking about. There is also potential for  you to either create a group or participate in one where your colleagues, peers, clients, prospects gather.

Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, the market for networking platforms is pretty crowded. How can someone stay active on all of these accounts and still expect to be productive?

Good question. For starters, I’d just stick with the mature social-networking sites that have critical mass.

Here’s how I find value from the top three social-networking platforms:

  1. Facebook: I use this to derive social value from my close-knit circle of family, friends and peers I’m social with.
  2. LinkedIn: It’s a huge time saver when it comes to helping me find the right people, get answers to questions I grapple with in my daily job. It’s my social Rolodex, my idea factory, my resume and my people database.
  3. Twitter: As a blogger, this is a great marketing and distribution platform. Also, as social media lead for LinkedIn, I find our Twitter and Facebook presence is an an effective distribution channel for our blog content.

As for productivity, you definitely need to come up with a timing for when you use these platforms. Twitter is the biggest challenge because it can be a huge time sink.

Do you think the social media profession is starting to gel? In other words, are objectives and expertise that companies can expect from social media experts becoming more clear?

It’s fascinating how the social media professional’s job is evolving over time.

I see the social media strategist role headed in two possible directions: seamless integration within existing functional areas and the emergence of an executive-level social media role.

So, yes, there’s increasing clarity on what companies can expect from social media strategists. On the one hand, they’re helping make existing functional areas more effective and efficient. The other hand, they have a senior role that applies the utility of social media across all functional areas.

To learn more top tips and best practices for social media from industry experts like Mario and others including Guy Kawasaki, Brian Solis, and Jeremiah Owyang, register for the the 100% online Social Media Success Summit. For access to the whole session and many others, sign up here. (SmartBrief is a partner in this event.)

Image credit: gehringj, via iStock Photo