LinkedIn: Use the power of Answers


At the end of your navigation links in your LinkedIn profile is a tab called ‘More’. At the top of the drop-down menu that appears when you mouse over it, is the option ‘Answers’. I often wonder why it is tucked away like this when it is, in my mind, an integral part of effective use of LinkedIn.

The Questions and Answers section of LinkedIn is an almost forgotten area that could make or break your expertise status. There is a myriad of different subject matter, easily one for every kind of profession, that provides two purposes: to ask a question (for inquiry, research, information or whatever) and to answer those questions (therefore spreading your expertise in your chosen subject).

The quality and substance of the questions vary (as so does the answers), but social media users today have developed skills in skimming through the unnecessary stuff to focus on the worth-while. This also reflects the methods of asking and answering questions, with certain skills developed to make your response stand out above the rest; a trait that is necessary with today’s noisy internet usage.

‘Answers Home’ shows the most recently submitted questions in no particular order or subject matter. There are some LinkedIn users who make a habit of answering any question that appeals to them, whereas others will prefer to concentrate on their areas of expertise.

‘Advanced Answers Search’ focuses your attention on the subjects you would most like to concentrate on. The category mechanisms provides access to your preference, but sometimes going down a different route will lead you to unexpected subjects that might be of interest. Once you have chosen your subject matter, LinkedIn remembers so you don’t have to do it all over again.

For easy access to relevant questions you might want to answer, you can set up Google Alerts for the questions within your chosen criteria, and these appear as a cookie on your Google homepage or within your RSS feed reader page. Now you can keep track of all questions as they are asked, and be one of the first to answer, or watch them while the discussions develop.

Go to ‘Answer Questions’ and you’ll see that questions are either open (available for answering) or closed (there is usually a time limit on questions which you can extend if necessary). The ‘Expert’ tab shows the most promiscuous answerers, but there is no reason why you can’t become one yourself! If your answer is approved by the questioner it will either be marked as ‘Good’ or, if you’re lucky, ‘Best Answer’. Whatever alocade you receive  will be listed on your profile page in the right sidebar, and ‘Best Answer’ for each subject will be shown in your signature when you answer a question.

And if you have a question to ask, the ‘Ask a Question’ tab provides easy to use fields and menus to publish your question. It is great fun waiting for the answers, which will be emailed to you when they are submitted. Sometimes they are not what you expected, but all are enjoyable to read. When your question has closed, then is the time to select those that are ‘Good’ and finally your ‘Best Answer’, a respected and polite way of saying thank-you, though some questioners have emailed me personally to request more information as well as expressing their gratitude.


2 Responses

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