I want to thank Social Media ReInvention Blog Community members for poking around the content in this five-post blog series (sorry if that sounded like an Academy Awards acceptance speech).
Google Analytics and Feedburner show this series generated noticeable traffic. Thank you for stopping by -- it means a lot to me!
3 Qualities of a Great LinkedIn Answer
I participated in answering the following question on LinkedIn Answers: What Would Be Your Suggestions for a New Joinee of LinkedIn. Take a look at the first two replies. Both answers share the following qualities of a helpful and thoughtful response:
1. Be Helpful. Be Nice. The conversational tone you choose to take is extremely important. Your tone is just as important as your answer's substance. I've participated in answering a number of LinkedIn questions. And, some of the submitted responses I've seen are self-serving, flippant, and condescending (sometimes bordering on mean-spirited).
That unfortunate behavior is why I think LinkedIn Answers is an often underlooked / undervalued LinkedIn asset. People are afraid to pose questions because they're scared someone will "call them out."
Don't be one of those people who takes a know-it-all tone. Be Exceptional. Be Helpful. Be Nice.
2. High Level of Detail. Both responses share concrete details and examples driving specific actions. These substantive answers are the exception (not the norm) in most LinkedIn Q&A forums.
3. Share Links and Additional Resources to Support Your Answer. Whenever possible, provide links to articles, blog posts, Slideshare content, press releases, etc. to support your point-of-view. Providing additional content reinforces how you're trying to share knowledge (not just your own). And, that attitude lends more credibility to your response.
6 Benefits of Submitting Great LinkedIn Answers
1. Increasing Your Personal Credibility, Authority, and Visibility. LinkedIn Answers is a great place to start to increase your online visibility and authority in a specific industry or subject. Make it a personal goal to follow through on a daily or weekly basis to answer questions in your chosen categories.
2. Earning Expertise and Trust Via Best Answer Designations. LinkedIn Answers is a great example of gamification. LinkedIn members posing questions have the option to award Best Answer Designations. Best Answers are social proof personified.
And, Best Answers designations differentiate your profile from LinkedIn's 150 million+ member profiles!
3. Gaining New Social Media Followers (i.e., Blog Subsribers, Twitter Followers, etc.). When you answer a LinkedIn question, you share personal insights and knowledge. Crafting and submitting thoughtful LinkedIn Answers (without blatantly selling) is a proven inbound marketing tactic. It's a classic social media example of giving to receive.
4. Earning a New LinkedIn Connection -- Validation From The Person Asking a Question. Why? Because, you earn that person's individual trust. A person posing questions on LinkedIn Answers will usually evaluate both your answer and your LinkedIn Profile (especially if he / she found your response helpful). The quality of your answer determines if you receive an invite to join his / her network.
5. Earning a New LinkedIn Connection -- Validation From The People Who Answered the Same Question. Why? Awarding of a "Best Answer" promotes friendly competition among the respondents. Remember, the answers are public to all LinkedIn members. Therefore, the people who who answer questions on LinkedIn Answers are also evaluating both your answer and your LinkedIn Profile (especially if you are awarded the Best Answer). If you impressed one of the responders, you may also receive a LinkedIn invite from him / her.
6. BONUS: Your Answer May Get Published in a Major Online News Publication! Marla Tabaka, posed this question two (2) months ago in LinkedIn: How Do Others Successfully Get Your Attention on LinkedIn? What Intices You to Accept an Invitation.
I and other LinkedIn Members submitted responses. Marla published selected responses in her great Inc. Magazine article: How To Make Great Connections on LinkedIn. I'm honored she selected and published my response in her article.
When you have a chance, check out more of Marla's great content in Inc. Magazine. She personifies publishing helpful and valuable content.
Help Others Because It's The Right Thing To Do. I've read 41% of The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.
The underlying theme of this great book is how / why we should help each other. Why? Because, it's the right thing to do.
That's what participating in the Internet is genuinely about. It's about helping others.
Pay It Forward. Answer someone's question and provide him / her the best guidance you can.