People who work in internal communications don’t get out much. Or rather, their work doesn’t. If you work for a corporation, you’re not likely to see much of the internal communications that are produced in other large companies
In contrast, marketing professionals see the work of their peers all the time. If you’re in advertising at The Home Depot, you’ll probably see the television commercials created by your peers at Coke, and vice versa.
That’s why LinkedIn can be such a valuable community for internal communications. It gives us a place to share best practices, ask questions, learn about technology that others are using. There are countless relevant industry groups to join, some with hundreds of thousands of members and others with only a few dozen. Those are great arenas for asking advice and sharing your own knowledge.
LinkedIn has been the starting point for some of my most interesting relationships in our industry. Some of the people I count on as sounding boards or touchstones are people I’ve never met in person. They may be in Arizona or Australia, but they’re just a few clicks away when I need input.
When I’m travelling, I occasionally reach out to LinkedIn connections to meet in person. In Baltimore, I met my LinkedIn friend Dawn Brzezicki of T. Rowe Price for coffee on her way to the office. When Tribe had a meeting with clients in the San Francisco area, we stopped by Clorox to sit down for a few minutes with Patti Bond.
I’ve also continued relationships with past clients or business acquaintances over LinkedIn. I love reading blogs by Sharon McIntosh, formerly of Pepsi and now running her own company called And Then Communications. I like seeing posts of people I’ve worked with before but haven’t seen in ages.
Like any social media community, you get out of LinkedIn what you put into it. (For a take on how to make the most of your LinkedIn network, see this interview by our friend Gloria Lombardi of Simply Communicate with Chuck Gose of the digital signage company Stratacache.)
When I first joined LinkedIn, it was just to kill time on a shoot that was going on forever. The producer and I challenged each other to see who could be the first one to get to 300 contacts. I topped 3,000 long ago, and I’ll never have any interaction with the vast majority of them. But in a few dozen of those people I’ve found kindred spirits with a passion for our industry.