LinkedIn is a professional social networking channel that you can use to build up your “digital cv” and connect with other like-minded professionals.┬áDid you know that LinkedIn is much more than just a social networking channel for professionals to meet new people and to generate business?

LinkedIn can also be used as a research tool to find out information regarding competition, sales prospects, and even new employers. With over 100 million members, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful researching tools available.

Here are a couple of tips that you can use if you want to use LinkedIn as a researching tool to research your competition, sales prospects, and potential employers that you are interested in.

Sales prospects

You can look for contacts and connections within your own network to create an introduction. Find information regarding the prospects you want to meet before you physically meet with them. You can find information on their work history, school information, hobbies, where they are working now, and more. LinkedIn details their positions and career experience, and more personal information.

Competition

Do an advanced search on LinkedIn for your competition’s company name. Understand present and past employees by viewing their profiles on LinkedIn. What backgrounds and skill sets are in key positions at the company? This will not only give you an idea of what they are doing now, but also what they are capable of doing.

Prospective employers

The more information you know about the employer, the better decision you can make if you are offered the position. Do advanced searching by company name and key positions at the company. View who in your network is working or has worked at the company. How long did they stay at the company? Where did they go after that?

Combine Google Search and LinkedIn for your research campaign and you can gain a great deal of intelligence that you can use personally or for your business.