Employees at RailCorp, Queensland Health, Flight Centre and Origin Energy are some of the best networking professionals in the country, according to a new study conducted by executive social network LinkedIn.
Social media gurus say the survey shows why professionals need to use social networking for the good of their businesses – and themselves.
LinkedIn, which has more than two million members in Australia, found that based on the average number of “connections” between professionals in a range of industries, men tended to be better networkers than women.
However, the study found women tended to be savvier networkers in the dispute resolution, philanthropy, marketing and advertising and writing and editing industries.
Men are savvier networkers in the military, capital markets, human resources and newspaper industries.
But the study breaks it down even further, naming some of the country’s best-networked organisations.
The companies with better women networkers include RailCorp, Origin Energy and Leighton Contractors, while organisations with better male networks were named as Queensland Health, Flight Centre and The University of New South Wales.
Churchill Club founder Brendan Lewis says professionals tended to dismiss LinkedIn before they’d used it to its potential.
“I say to people, don’t ask to me whether LinkedIn is useful or not – connect to 100 people and then ask yourself that same question. There is value in volume,” Lewis says.
“There are an awful lot of people who have eight connections, and then say it’s useless. But you have to be connecting with people regularly. It’s also not a separate chunk of social media – you can connect it with Facebook, Twitter and so on.”
Lewis says executives need to make themselves visible on the site without harassing people, to ensure they can be easily found.
“If you connect with others, have a good social media profile and are always talking, then you’re easy to find. I know if I need a speaker for the Churchill Club, I’ll do a search on LinkedIn and you’d be surprised who comes up.
“The other aspect here is that if you join groups on LinkedIn, you may have opportunities you didn’t have before.”
Lewis says if he can send out an email to Churchill Club members through LinkedIn, he can hit a few thousand members, but if he instead uses the Australian IT group on LinkedIn, more than 20,000 people can be reached.
“You have to make it work for you and your business. If you have a profile, communicate with other people and so on, you’ll benefit from it.”
My Ambition career coach Sally-Anne Blanshard says users need to make sure their profiles are constantly updated, and use them offline as well.
“If you’re going to see a speaker at a conference, for instance, go over their profile and see what information you can find.”
“One of the things I do before going to an event, is that if I want to approach the speaker I research them and find out how many connections they have, look at some status updates, and so on. Then when I speak to them, I can reference something they’ve said online and I’m at a competitive advantage.”
Blanshard also says instead of just updating LinkedIn with social updates, share resources for others to enjoy, “like interesting articles that you’ve found, or recommend them specifically to people who you know will find them interesting”.
LinkedIn Australia managing director Cliff Rosenberg said in a statement the study showed the importance of nurturing networking relationships for the benefit of professionals’ careers.
“Some professionals may find networking in person to be tedious or intimidating and any such barriers can be removed in an online environment. LinkedIn provides the best platform and tools to cultivate their networking skills and build strong professional connections.”