LinkedIn has lots of potential uses, depending on Mobile Linkedin smwho you are, what you do, who you want to meet, where you're located, etc. But just what are the typical business functions most people say LinkedIn has helped them with?

According to my latest LinkedIn user survey, the vast majority of respondents said two functions are far and away the most useful:

  • Research people and companies (77% of respondents)
  • Reconnect with past business associates/colleagues (71% of respondents)

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.35.19 AMAnd as you can see in this chart, all other features are perceived as much less helpful.

Here are some simple strategies and techniques you can use to get significant results for your business and career with these two LinkedIn features.

Research people and companies

Advanced People Search. The Advanced People Search filters will help you quickly and easily search LinkedIn's half a billion member database and zero in on your target audience. Improve your skills at using the Advanced People Search feature and your LinkedIn ROI will go through the roof.

Company page search. If you know the name of your target companies (for Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 4.52.07 PManything from sales to job seeking and everything in between), simply type the name of the company in the search box at the top of your home page. When your target companies show up in the search results listing, click that entry, and LinkedIn will take you to their company page.

On the company page you will see details about the company's products, services, markets they serve, job openings, contact information, and shared updates. If you click the (Number) Employees on LinkedIn, you'll get a complete list of all their employees who have LinkedIn accounts. Then you can use the Advanced People Search filters to uncover the exact people you're trying to find.

Once you find the right people, follow the ten steps outlined in my article "Got a Meeting? Then You Better Get on LinkedIn" to learn how to instantly capitalize on the information you discover on their profiles.

Reconnect with past business associates/colleagues

Advanced People Search. In the Company box, enter the name of the company you used to work for and choose the filters you'd like to apply (Current or past, Current, Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 1.44.33 PMPast, or Past not current). Then in the Title box, enter the name of the department you used to work in (e.g., marketing, finance, etc.), and you'll get a list of most of the people you worked with at the company--and hopefully contact with one or more of those people will lead to your next big sale or job opportunity.

Company Alumni Groups. Some of the larger national and international employers have strategically set up specific LinkedIn groups for past employees so the company can maintain a positive relationship with them.

You may also find unofficial company alumni groups that could open the door to tremendous networking opportunities. To find them, just click the down arrow next to the search box on your top toolbar and select Groups. Then type the name of the company in the search box and add the word alumni.

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University Page. Most people have warm, fuzzy feelings about their alma mater and thus are more likely to consider doing business with fellow alumni--and it's easy to locate them with this powerful LinkedIn feature.

Select Universities from the drop-down menu, enter the name of your college or university, and it should appear in the resulting list. Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.02.34 PM Once you click your school's entry, you'll land on their University Page. Select Students & AlumniAttended or Graduated, and choose a date range. Getting a list of fellow alums is just that simple.

University Alumni Groups. Find, interact and connect with people who are members of official and/or unofficial LinkedIn groups related to your university.

Get busy and capitalize on LinkedIn's powerful features for researching people and companies and reconnecting with past business associates and colleagues.

And once you reach out to any of these people, be sure to customize your invitation to connect by using the strategies outlined in my Five Star Connection Tip Sheet, which is one of the resources from my online video course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.

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