March 11, 2010

Get Expert Advice on LinkedIn


Hostway Team

By Monique Martin

LinkedIn is the most popular professional networking site on the Web. With over 60 million members, including executives from all Fortune 500 companies, LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for any business. In addition to networking with others in your industry, you can ask questions on nearly any business topic and receive expert advice by using LinkedIn Answers. It's easy to use, and best of all, it’s completely free.

  • Sign-in to your LinkedIn account. If you don’t already have an account, create one. It’s a simple process and the basic membership level is free. If you’re new to LinkedIn, take the time to complete your Profile. It’s not required, but it’s always a good idea.
  • Hover your mouse over “More…” in the navigation bar at the top of the screen.
  • Click on “Answers”.
  • Type your question into the “Ask a Question” box. Make your question as specific and succinct as possible. Be sure to write it in the form of a question, not a statement. Click “next”.
  • You can select to share your question only with the connections you choose, but this will severely limit the potential pool for replies.
  • Add any additional details in the space provided. Be specific. Think of the sort of details you would need to answer a question. Don’t get carried away, but be sure to be descriptive and provide any necessary details. Any potential experts who read your question won’t spend time trying to figure out what you meant. Their time is precious, so be sure your question and additional details are clear and concise.
  • Categorize your question. LinkedIn has divided the site into 22 major categories like Business Operations and Hiring and Human Resources. Choose the appropriate category and sub-category. You can post your question to two different categories, if applicable.
  • You can also narrow things down by region if your question is geographically-based.
  • Depending on the category you’ve selected, LinkedIn will automatically populate a different series of additional questions at the bottom of the form. Check off all that apply and click “Ask Question”.
  • You can email your question directly to people in your network if you want to, or you can skip this step.

Once it's posted, people in your connections, extended connections and experts can see and answer your question. Experts are indicated by a little green box with a white star next to their names.

Your question will be open for seven days and there’s a limit of 10 questions per month, so don’t waste any opportunities. You can also browse closed questions or read any answers any experts have already provided.

Answering questions yourself is a great way to build your connections and expand your network. Share any expertise you have. The more involved you are, the broader your reach and the better your experience. Like all social media, what you get out of it, is what you put into it.

About the Author

Monique Martin served as chief operating officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.

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