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LinkedIn and CAI – The Link to the Top Professionals in the CAI Community
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Minnesota Community Living July/August 2010

LinkedIn and CAI – The Link to the Top Professionals in the CAI Community

By Steve Hoogenakker, Concierge Landscape Environments

What is LinkedIn and why is it so important to property managers & HOAs? First of all, it’s the best way to post your questions and have them answered by your peers. Second, there are members of groups like CAI and CAI-Minnesota that you can join for free and get timely articles and discussions on topics you care the most about.

LinkedIn is not a passing fad; it’s here to stay, and it’s your free tool for important information.

The average LinkedIn user is a college educated 43-year-old making $107,000 per year. Where else can you connect to this level of professionals in your industry? There were 17 million visitors in February. Who is visiting? Your customers, your employers, your employees, your vendors, your fellow homeowners and your peers.

This isn’t your "Facebook for adults,” and this isn’t a short "tweet.” This is a free, powerful tool to manage your professional life and career, even if you aren’t looking for a new one.

Recently, Accenture’s head of global recruiting John Campagnino, announced that he is hiring for 50,000 positions. Forty percent of those he expects to get through social media, particularly LinkedIn, so if you’re not using social media for your benefit, you’re missing out.

You Google other people, don’t you think they Google you? Of course they do. LinkedIn organizes your life’s work and interests, so if people search for you, it’s all presented in a clear, concise manner.

Here’s an example of LinkedIn’s value:

Nishar was trying to decide whether his daughter, who was 12 at the time, should spend her summer at a program offered by Johns Hopkins University. He posted the question to his status update on both Facebook and LinkedIn. While he received more comments on Facebook, they were casual and congratulatory. Only four of his LinkedIn contacts wrote him, but they offered a rich analysis, describing experiences with the Johns Hopkins program that left them better off academically; they persuaded him to enroll his daughter. "People are in a different context and mindset when they’re in a professional network,” he said.

CAI and LinkedIn
LinkedIn is even more important to members of CAI. The most powerful aspect of LinkedIn is its groups. There are four groups available as of this writing: Community Associations Institute, CAI Minnesota, CAI – CT, and CIC and Townhome Mastermind Group.

These groups are made of your peers. There are relevant discussions there that can help you with your business or association. You can post your own discussion or even ask a question. The members of these groups have been very supportive, and calls for help are almost always answered. We’ll tell you how to find these groups a little later.

So, how do you get started?

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, go to www.linkedin.com, and set up an account. It’s free. There’s no need to use the paid version. It will take maybe a half hour to two hours to enter the information. If you’ve been a professional for a while, you don’t need to enter in irrelevant information like grade school or even high school information.

Your typical profile might have your current position and company on top with previous employment underneath. Then you might decide to list your goals. Also on your profile, you can have LinkedIn automatically grab your blog entries, Twitter, Facebook entries and articles you’ve written. You can also list things like the groups you belong to, your reading list, people you’ve recommended, and people who have recommended you.

After you’ve done the original profile and joined a few groups, you might want to spend 30 minutes every six months or so updating your profile and inviting others to join your network. I encourage you to join the groups I mentioned earlier. Post a thought, or pose a question and get involved with your peers.

After the original setup, look for the CAI groups listed above and ask to join. Use the searchbar in the upper right and change the search from people to groups. Besides the CAI groups, look for other interests that are not based in business, like bird watchers, executive weightlifters, speakers and panelists, gardeners – whatever. For every interest you have, there are probably already five groups or more to possibly join. If you’re really passionate about an issue, it’s very easy to start your own group like I did with CIC and Townhome Mastermind.

So get LinkedIn, join a few groups, and share this article with friends and famly. I hope your life can be enriched a little like mine has.

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