What is a LinkedIn Expert?

I recently received an email from one of my LinkedIn connections. In the email, she asked, “I’ve been using LinkedIn to teach job seekers how to find a job. There doesn’t seem to be any official LinkedIn certification process. So, how do I know if I’m a LinkedIn Expert?”

That’s a very interesting question, and one I’ve asked myself a lot.
I’m not one to toot my own horn… much.

From a professional point of view, I’ve written over 50 blog postings on LinkedIn, made over 30 videos, produced over 20 webinars, spoken over 20 times, consulted over 100 business owners, trained over 1,000 people, and personally written over 100 LinkedIn Profiles.

I also manage multiple LinkedIn Groups and have over 15,000 first degree LinkedIn Connections.

In my mind, being a “LinkedIn Expert” requires having a lot of insights and practical knowledge of using the site in many different ways, to solve many different types of problems.

Sure, some recruiters are experts at using LinkedIn to “source” candidates, but ask them about building a LinkedIn Group, or building a Company Page, or prospecting for leads, or optimizing a LinkedIn profile to get ranked in the search results… and their eyes glaze over. Many recruiters might consider themselves “Sourcing Experts”… and really good at LinkedIn.

I think being a “LinkedIn Expert” requires the knowledge and practical expertise to really understand how to best use the tool, in many ways, to solve many different problems, from Sales and Marketing solutions, to Recruiting and Job Search.

The knowledge isn’t hard to come by. It takes time, but there are thousands of “How to use linkedIn” blog posts and videos on the Internet. The practical expertise only comes with trial and failure.

For instance, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts telling people how to get their profile search engine optimized on LinkedIn. 99% of the articles are simply rewrites of other peoples articles and assumptions. Unfortunately, most of what is written is not accurate, because the authors have never actually “optimized” a profile for search rankings. All they did was rewrite another article.

There simply aren’t that many people who have actually tested the LinkedIn search engine algorithm. My guess is less than 20 people worldwide (outside of LinkedIn employees), yet there are probably 2,000 authors who have written about how to do it.

I’ve even found articles written by so-called LinkedIn Experts, who get thousands of people to read their articles, only to find, once again, inaccurate, untested information.

So, when did I start calling myself a LinkedIn Expert?
I didn’t… it’s how other people starting introducing me to their friends, business partners and connections.

Only after numerous people started introducing me as a “LinkedIn Expert”, without me ever using the phrase, that I decided “It’s OK” to use the term.

(On a side note.. if you ever want to test your “Personal Branding Headline”, just listen to how people introduce you to others. Do they repeat your “brand messaging”? If they do, your messaging is working. If not, you have some work to do.)

While I don’t know all the answers about LinkedIn, I’ve helped enough people use it in a number of different ways, to satisfy myself, that I’m OK, with using the term to describe my expertise.

I’ve been speaking about LinkedIn since 2008, yet only recently have I started using the term “LinkedIn Expert” to describe myself.

And no, I’m not a “LinkedIn Ninja” or “LinkedIn Guru”.
If someone calls themselves something like this… check to see if they are wearing a black ninja rob or bright Orange rob in their LinkedIn profile picture. If not… they probably aren’t who they say they are.