One of the more powerful features of LinkedIn is the Answer function. Login to your LinkedIn account and go to “More” on the main menu. The option in the dropdown is Answer, click on it and you are now in a place where questions find answers. There is nothing magical about it, this is simply a rich user-created content area that you can leverage in several ways.
First, if you have a question, answers are only a few key strokes away. Simply type your question in the space provided, then sit back and wait. Of course, it would be best to take your time and construct a well thought out question, then perhaps have it reviewed by a colleague for clarity. Being thoughtful and constructing a clear question will pay dividends in the form of quality answers as well as helping you to project the best image (I’ve read some questions that were poorly written they do not play well).
Before you submit your question, it could be helpful to search for similar questions that have already been submitted. This step can help you refine your question. It could also give you the answer you are seeking without waiting for people to respond to your new question. In fact, you may find that several similar questions have been asked [include the closed questions when you search]. Answers to these questions may provide the information you want.
Use the advanced search function to find information on specific topics. You will find this search function to right of the main menu. You may type keywords here or you can click on the advanced feature and use the additional selections offered.
Once you have found questions and answers on your topic, exploring the information may require a bit of content analysis. Using a word processor to search one or more keywords or key phases is typically helpful. With practice you can become very good at picking out the themes that emerge across the answers and the themes from across similar questions.
Another aspect of the LinkedIn Answer feature is giving answers. If you would like people to recognize you as an expert here is a perfect venue for establishing your expertise. If your answers are among the best provided in the opinion of the person asking the question, you may be recognized and achieve a “Best Answer” status.
Many people spend a good deal of time working toward that goal. Note the “This Week’s Top Experts” list on the Answer page. However, you don’t have to be top ranked as a supplier of “best answers” to gain true value from this feature.
Selectively answering questions that have attracted your target audience and adding an appropriate link as part of your answer can be a powerful tool in the quest for finding relevant connections on LinkedIn. The targeted nature of this question-answer arena is a perfect mechanism for finding people with a need you can fill.
While the Answer function is not a replacement for engaging on discussion groups, it is a good next step for those of you who want to find answers or people who have specific questions you can answer. Either way this is an innovative function well worth a portion of your overall LinkedIn time allocation.
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