I’ve recently read an excerpt from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s brand new book called “The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.” While it’s obviously and rightfully positioned as a career self-help guide, we found some useful takeaways in its “How to Pull Network Intelligence” section that can easily be applied to the world of industrial marketing.

The most interesting idea from Hoffman and co-author Ben Casnocha was this: “Effective professionals get up-to-date information, knowledge and advice.”

This is an idea known by many people. What is not as well known is just how to accomplish this. If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that the Internet has allowed for an absolute deluge of information that’s only continuing to grow. How can one effectively sort through all this and find what’s relevant?

For us, this notion really hit home. The reason is because of the LinkedIn group we established in 2008 for “Industrial Marketing Mavens” that now has more than 2,000 members. We created this group and manage it daily to facilitate a powerful flow of discussions, thoughts and ideas for industrial B2B marketers. The best way for you to stay on top of your game is to stay on top of what’s changing in your field. Leverage the power of a group of like-minded individuals to do just that as they collate and curate the best of those ideas.

But it’s not just our group – there are many others within LinkedIn. Keyword searches in LinkedIn on terms important to your industry should get you there.

Now while you navigate these groups, people and conversations that are most important and relevant to you, keep these additional tips in mind from Hoffman and Casnocha’s book to make the most of your experience:

1. Use LinkedIn Today to quickly stay on top of the news that matters to you.
2. Follow companies that interest you through their LinkedIn company profiles to stay up to date (to this we would add company Facebook pages, Google+ profiles and Twitter feeds as other useful sources of info).
3. Add relevant tags to your connections so you can enlist their help when needed (e.g. “advertising agency” or “electronics industry”).
4. Pose a question on LinkedIn Answers to get responses from experts in the area or a different angle from someone outside of the segment.
5. Post a poll to your LinkedIn network to ask a broad question for more responses.
6. Send LinkedIn messages to your network asking them to send you information they find on the topic that’s relevant, and promise to do the same.

We’d love to hear your tips on how to best leverage your network’s intelligence to get great industrial marketing ideas. Post them here or bring them over to the Industrial Marketing Mavens group. There’s an eager audience waiting to share their ideas too.

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