LinkedIn has created a cool new feature that at first looks like a map of a star system within our universe-or like a back page of an airline magazine, showing all the airport hubs and flight connections. In reality, it is a visual depiction of your network of LinkedIn contacts.
Each point is a connection within your network. On the right side, for example, I hovered over a dot and found Evan Simonoff (editor of Financial Advisor magazine).
All the lines are the interconnections where individuals in your network have first degree connections with each other. The more contacts a person shares with you, the larger their dot will appear.
The tool is wonderful as it groups connections and lets you determine what the theme of that section might be by hovering over individuals within the same cluster. For example, I found that the cluster on the far left was a group of my fellow MBA alumni from Boston College. The blue group on the right contained my influential marketing and public relations contacts within the financial services industry (like Evan). It even showed my extended family as the very small cluster at the bottom of the map.
How InMaps Improves A Network
It's not just a gimmick. Try it and you will find yourself getting sucked in tooling around with it. By visualizing your clusters of contacts, the map helps you recognize where your network groupings might be solid or where they might need to be expanded. It also helps you identify potentially important individuals of influence based on the size of the dots and how many interconnections they have.
When you hover over a dot and see a name pop up, double click on it. By doing this, on the right side bar, standard LinkedIn information is shown. The accompanying illustrations shows what popped up when I clicked on Evan's name.
This functionality allows you to quickly recognize an important player and then drill down into their profile and contacts.
A strong network is of significant important if advisors want to gain new business, so make sure you take advantage of LinkedIn to be more successful moving forward.
Give this mapping tool a try at http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/network.
Editor's Note: Visit the "social media" section of fa-mag.com to read other articles Mike Byrnes has written about social media. There is also a "how-to" video for developing simple strategies for using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas. Read more at www.byrnesconsulting.com.