My affection for LinkedIn is part of the success mindset I embrace, one which I teach others to cultivate. As a LinkedIn brand ambassador, I stand behind the company and uphold the integrity of its stated mission. I marvel at the inherent excellence of the site, its structure, and the sheer power of its engine. I have unswerving devotion to my role as a LinkedIn educator. My work leads me into many conversations with people of varying attitudes toward LinkedIn and what it can accomplish. From them I gain even more layers of perspective, which fuels my fondness. I contend that I am one of the company’s true success stories. LinkedIn has given me a vehicle with which I can make a positive impact on the professional lives of others.
I consider myself a LinkedIn aficionado.
The origin of the word aficionado (n.) can be traced back to the 1400’s. It comes from the Spanish aficionado, meaning “amateur,” specifically a “devotee of bullfighting”; past participle of aficionar, to inspire affection. Since 1882, it has come to mean an enthusiastic admirer or follower; serious devotee; a fan. I define a LinkedIn aficionado as someone who has great affection for LinkedIn, deeply appreciates its subtleties and nuances, and stays up to date on changes and applications.
Those I have met who fall under the category of LinkedIn aficionado share the following characteristics, qualities, or traits:
1). They Have a Strong Bias toward the Positive
LinkedIn aficionados see LinkedIn as a world of possibilities, not disappointments. Their unbridled optimism drives their activities on the site. They are big-picture thinkers and know that good things can happen when the site is worked systematically and regularly. Many aficionados confess that although LinkedIn is not generating tangible business, they like it and eventually, they believe, it will click. LinkedIn aficionados recognize opportunities in situations that others deem as blind alleys. And this positive energy carries forward into the real world.
2). They Enjoy LinkedIn and Do Not Consider it Work
LinkedIn aficionados take their admiration of the site to a higher level of productivity. They do not do LinkedIn because they feel that it is required. To them, it is not hard labor. They derive great enjoyment from their involvement on the site, and this translates into results. LinkedIn is fun—at least, I think so. The intent and purpose behind the work is readily apparent. You are on LinkedIn to learn, connect, market, and hopefully become a more self-assured business professional. Enjoying the time you spend on the site goes a long way in harnessing its potential.
3). They Evangelize LinkedIn
LinkedIn aficionados universally sing the praises of the site and, as such, are LinkedIn Corporations’ best marketing affiliates. Who better to spread the gospel? As a speaker, media contributor, journalist, and educator on LinkedIn best practices, I have the outlets through which I can extol the virtues of LinkedIn. Aficionados need not be prompted to engage with other users on the relative merits of the site. For them, LinkedIn is an essential piece of the business conversation—both online and offline.
4). They Anticipate and Effectively Manage Change on LinkedIn
LinkedIn aficionados follow the site and wish to stay in the loop. They acknowledge that LinkedIn is a changing medium and don’t squawk or gripe when new features or processes are installed. Rather, they roll with the changes and adjust accordingly. And they share their change management strategies with others in their LinkedIn network. Additionally, aficionados constantly evaluate the quality of content in their LinkedIn profiles and are receptive to new ideas that will augment their brand story.
5). They See the Value in Building their LinkedIn Network
LinkedIn aficionados recognize the value—that which is both given and received—of social networking, and place a premium on developing meaningful business relationships. They are well indoctrinated into LinkedIn culture, and understand that the assembly of a deep, cohesive, and supportive professional network is crucial for sustainable business growth. They actively participate in LinkedIn groups. Many identify as great connectors and relish the opportunity of bringing like-minded people together for the greater good.
6). They Strive for Continuous Improvement on LinkedIn
LinkedIn aficionados are willing to explore LinkedIn at its deepest level and seek to extract benefit from each user experience. They view LinkedIn not as a “tool,” but as an indispensable asset in business today. They acknowledge the requisite skills involved in negotiating the site, and have made the conscious choice to master them. For the aficionado, greater agility leads to enhanced performance and more opportunities.
7). They Don’t Make a Move in Business without Referencing LinkedIn
LinkedIn Aficionados will tell you that the opportunities they cultivate on LinkedIn, and the revenue they generate, stem from the business intelligence they acquire on the site. They routinely access the LinkedIn profiles of potential transaction partners, important colleagues, and target companies in preparation for meetings or online approaches. Aficionados consider LinkedIn an invaluable research platform and an essential component of the business decision-making process.
Everything you do on LinkedIn should move you toward a positive outcome, be it connecting with an interesting, like-minded person, landing a new client, recognizing a new marketing opportunity, or gaining valuable knowledge. If you self-declare as an aficionado, you take things that happen on the site in stride, hit the high note in your LinkedIn profile, and capitalize on your social networking opportunities. And you like it.
So tell me, do you LIKE LinkedIn?