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LinkedIn is so much more than just a normal social networking channel that you can use to meet new clients and generate new business. It is a powerful channel that can help you find background information on your competition, sales prospects or even prospective employers. With all the millions of search profiles on LinkedIn, it is really a people tool.

Imagine yourself going into a meeting filled with people you have never met before. You might know their names and the companies they are working for, but nothing else. You can use LinkedIn to research and understand these people so that you can develop new ideas for conversation starters. Find below a couple of tips on how you can use LinkedIn for research.

LinkedIn for research

Researching: Search for connections and contacts within your network to create a good introduction. You can also use LinkedIn to understand your prospects before you set up a meeting with them. You can learn about their work history, where they went to college and even their hobbies on LinkedIn. LinkedIn details their past work experience and the positions that they held. It can also reveal their expertise and their interests.

Competitor analysis: Do an advanced search on your competition. Understand present and past employees by reading up on their profiles. What backgrounds and skill sets are in key positions? You will get a very good idea what they are doing now, their history, and what they can do.

Employers: The more you know about the company you want to go work for, the better decision you will be able to make if you are offered a job. Use the advanced capabilities of LinkedIn to search for their company name. Contact people in your network to check if they have connections there.

Use LinkedIn together with Google search and you can do a lot of research to help you make the right business decisions.