When you’re looking for ways to be a resource via social media, you have dozens of choices. LinkedIn Answers, for example, allows you to answer questions in your area of expertise from your LinkedIn network.
There are two ways to use LinkedIn Answers to help others–one obvious, and one not so obvious.
The first–the obvious way–is to answer questions, providing insight that’s unique to your incumbent knowledge and perspective. The second–not as obvious–is to research and share answers to questions you can’t immediately answer and share those with the person asking the question. This has several benefits:
- It answers the question that was asked, of course
- It positions you as a resource
- It makes it more likely that you won’t talk over the person’s head since the answer is somewhat new to you, too
- You learn something you didn’t already know
- You now have your answer documented and you can share it if the question comes up again in the future
- You gain insight into what’s changing or not well documented in your industry
I think we sometimes make the mistake of thinking we have to know it all in order to be a resource. Today, though, it’s impossible to know it all. You have to have a solid baseline understanding of your industry, of course. But given all the information that’s out there, and the rate at which things change, it’s about updating your knowledge and staying curious as much as it is about having incumbent knowledge.
Remember, when someone asks a question, they’re not looking for an answer from the person who knows the most. They’re looking for answers from those willing to share what they’ve learned. It doesn’t matter when you learned it, as long as it’s a valid, well researched answer. Cumulative knowledge matters, but a willingness to help matters just as much. Maybe even more.