Is LinkedIn the Best Place to Find Sustainability Professionals?

At Strategic Sustainability Consulting, we spend a lot of time networking with other sustainability professionals--including sustainability consultants, companies that sell some kind of "green" product or service, journalists, trade association representatives, environmental engineers, and other in-house sustainability personnel.

We meet them in person, at green conferences, local business networking events, and sometimes while running errands.

We meet them online--through Facebook, or Twitter, or inquiries to our website, or through direct emails.

But the best place we meet with other sustainability professionals--hands down--is on LinkedIn. Over the last two years, it has become the go-to place for sustainability professionals.

Here are three reasons to log into LinkedIn to expand your professional sustainability network:

1. LinkedIn connects you to individuals, not companies.

Sustainability professionals move around at an astonishing pace, and so connecting with them personally is much more strategic than trying to get an "in" through a company's sustainability department (or a general email to their website or blog). You can easily look up people by name, company, or keyword (think: sustainability consultant, or renewable energy).

2. LinkedIn allows you to refer people, or ask for referrals.

Instead of foisting yourself upon an unwitting person, LinkedIn allows you to harness the power of your network to get introduced via "a friend of a friend." Similarly, when someone contacts you, you can see whether you are already mutually connected (up to several degrees of separation). There are a lot of people calling themselves "sustainability consultants" so this ability to do an informal reference check can be invaluable.

3. LinkedIn lets you continue the conversation in groups.

Once you're connected to people (or even if you aren't connected to them) you can join thousands of different groups--and literally dozens of sustainability-related groups that range from CSR to Green Packaging to Sustainability MBAs. Jump in and get involved -- post comments, suggest articles, link to Twitter, etc.

We're not knocking other social media platforms, but trust us -- if you're looking to connect with sustainability professionals, may we suggest you spend a little time with LinkedIn?

If you found this information helpful, you'll love our Social Media for Sustainability Professionals, an 8-week, online and self-guided program that provides everything you need to make the most of social media in 2012.