The first of my interviews is with Suzanne Blundell;
- Introduction Name – Suzanne Blundell. Job Title – Practice Development Manager at Curo Chartered Accountants. My role is to help the practice with marketing and business development, this covers all marketing channels including social media. Our clients cover a wide range of industries and we work with many large corporates including work with the ‘big four’ accountancy firms. Much of our business is generated via referral partners such as lawyers, financial advisors, bankers etc. At the moment I work on a part-time basis.
- When was your LinkedIn date of birth? 24th November 2010. This was following a couple of years being a full-time mum. It proved to be a great tool to re-establish old contacts and get myself ‘back in the game’ having decided to enter full-time employment again.
- Finish this sentence “to me LinkedIn is……….” an effective way of letting the market know who I am and what I do, it’s really important to be visible and LinkedIn provides me with an easy way of achieving that.
- When do you login to LinkedIn and how often? Every day in the working week on my work PC and sometimes in the evenings or weekends on my iPad. I first login within the first hour of being there (9am-10am) and then I log out again. LinkedIn can be a distraction so I leave it alone until the early afternoon when I log in again briefly. I need to be very disciplined as I work short days and can’t afford to be distracted by LinkedIn activity
- How many connections do you have and why do you connect with someone? 232 connections. I tend to connect to Partners and Managers in the accountancy profession, ex colleagues and people I have spoken to or met. I also connect with local business people who are well-connected (ie local chamber of commerce) and contacts at the ICAEW (Accountancy institute). I don’t connect with friends, this is very much a business tool so unless there is also a clear business reason to do so, I would avoid personal friends on LinkedIn. Initially I connected with all sorts of people who invited me but now I avoid people who invite me unless they are relevant, especially recruiters. If I was looking for a job I would connect with recruiters but I would rather research which are worth connecting to rather than just accept invitations from random people who I know nothing about.
- What features of LinkedIn do you use most? I have a look to see what people have been up to on my home page feed and sometimes read news updates etc. With my number of connections I am aware that I am probably missing some useful information because some of my connections do post a lot of irrelevant updates, I find this feature especially useful on the iPad app. I also love to check out who has been viewing my profile, it’s often interesting and useful to see who has viewed me. This often leads to a connection because they subsequently invite me to connect or occasionally it may even instigate an invitation from me. Some people might be viewing me because they may be considering working for Curo’s so I will put them on my radar and consider contacting them when we are recruiting, Recruiters are regular visitors to my profile but that just goes over my head because I know they are looking at everyone! I also find the ‘people you may know’ feature really useful, especially when I was initially on LinkedIn and trying to build my network and re-connect with people I had lost touch with.
- What is your favorite feature? I like the fact that you can really easily populate your profile with relevant skills and experience and how you can link your profile to a company profile. I think the User interface is really good.
- What success (if any) have you had from using LinkedIn? Well my current job came from LinkedIn! I mentioned earlier that I signed up for the first time because I wanted to get back into the workplace following a maternity career break and a Recruiter contacted me having done a search on LinkedIn so that was great. I know I have raised my profile in my market since being on LinkedIn and I am sure this has helped me and Curo’s in many ways although it is hard to attribute any business success directly to LinkedIn. The fact that I am a member of certain restricted membership groups and who I am connected with could give me credibility in certain circumstances.
- What new features would you like to see? There are probably features that already exist that I am not using fully, never mind new ones! I am conscious I should be filtering my home page feed to see more relevant information. We are currently revamping our website and we will then be blogging and that is where I think my time is best spent, LinkedIn will offer us a good opportunity to publicise the blog but using new features etc is not my priority right now.
- Will LinkedIn still be important in business in 2020? I was discussing this recently, there is a possibility that the bubble will burst and something better will come along, look at the example of Friends Reunited and how that was overtaken by Facebook….could this happen to LinkedIn? If they don’t get complacent and keep improving the site they should keep ahead but who knows? Of course the big difference is that Friends Reunited was primarily about the past but LinkedIn & Facebook are about people you used to know and people you can get to know and therefore its as much about the future as the past.
My observation is that Suzanne is enjoying using LinkedIn as a way of keeping in touch and most importantly being highly visible within her community now that she is back at work. I guess when you are ‘out of the loop’ for a period of time due to maternity leave etc it can really highlight how easy it is to lose touch and how it can be quite a daunting prospect when you re-enter the workplace. If Suzanne had been using LinkedIn as a tool to keep in touch and remain visible whilst she was off she may have found it a less daunting prospect. That said, having signed up at the point she decided to return to work she soon realised the benefits when a Recruiter contacted her about her present position!
A big thanks to Suzanne for her time and insight. I hope this interview has been of interest, f you feel you have an interesting story and wish to be interviewed please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.