Know your connections: Using LinkedIn® Properly.

LinkedIn Logo

Why do people that I’ve never met think that I will connect with them on LinkedIn®? What makes these people think I’ll accept their invitation? I mean, I wouldn’t just wander up to a complete stranger and say “Hey, I know you, lets have a cuppa”.

My reaction to these invitations and those annoying recruitment agency ones, is to ignore them or leave them there until I can figure out who they are from.

There are three main reasons why the invitation doesn’t get accepted:

  1. I don’t know the person. I only connect with people I’ve met or corresponded with;
  2. The person didn’t put a personal note on the invitation reminding me how we know each other (probably because we don’t know each other) and;
  3. Their profile, as the youth of the day say, “sucks”. There is no photo and big gaps where information should be so I can’t remember this person.

At time of writing I have just got to 800 LinkedIn® Connections and I’ve met or communicated with all of them before we became part of each other’s network.800 Connections

Now your reaction might be, yeah right! Or you can’t possibly know that many people. It’s true that I don’t “know” most of these people in depth however I’ve at least talked to them or met them in a meeting or event.

LinkedIn® isn’t Facebook, there doesn’t have to be a connection at a deep level. If you think about all the people you meet via work, after work events and socially, you will be surprised at how many you can link up with.

LinkedIn® is important in the social media world because if someone tries to find you using Google, your profile shows up on the first page.

The more information in the profile then the higher the chance you will be found. For example; someone might be looking for a supplier in your industry and if they come across an incomplete profile vs. a full one, then guess who they are more likely to go to. Handy if you are selling a product or service. The same goes if you are looking to change jobs, the candidate with the best profile will look better than one that isn’t complete. If you are not looking for a job then you can boost the impression of your current employer and potentially bring in more work.

Four Things you need on LinkedIn®.

Profile Photo

I’m not very good with remembering names so that profile photo is very handy and LinkedIn® even has rules about how it should look .

Think about the message you are sending, a professional looking photo is best, a selfie from your phone or web cam doesn’t work. Also think about what your reaction to your photo.

Edit Intro

    1. A professional photo is best. I snipped my photo from a family portrait.

Shorten Your Profile Link

Edit the Profile link from LinkedIn’s long default. This means it can be easier to type when people read it from your business card. It looks better on your e-mail signature too.  More information on how to do this can be found here.

Edit Public Profile URL
LinkedIn® Profile Link

Headline Summary (the part below your name).

Fill in the headline and summary until you run out of characters. Filling in the headline of the profile is more important than most users think.

By default your current job position will appear below your name and appear as role tile at employer when your profile pops up on someone else’s screen. What you can do is fill in the headline with anything you want. This can make you easier to find and promote yourself the way you want to as well as easier to find geographically if you add your town or city.

Complete Profile Page

Complete you profile page, all of it, including where you went to school and what memberships you have. LinkedIn® uses this to help find other contacts.

Talk about yourself in the first person: I have done this and that which resulted in… Rather than: Bill did this when Bill worked on…

There is not much worse than reading a profile that doesn’t even look like the person created the content themselves.

Simple Tips to Build Your Network

My rules for who I connect with are straight forward: I have to meet or communicate with the person I get an invitation from before I accept their invitation or invite them to my network. This is along the lines of LinkedIn®’s actual policy in regard to the Do’s and Don’ts.

Some say I’m too picky. One former colleague connects to everyone that sends an invite and from what I’ve gathered talking to others, this isn’t unusual.

On the other hand I know people that ignore just about everything than comes in, and don’t issue invitations to people they know and deal with every day. Some of this is down to not knowing how LinkedIn® works or fear of social media in general.

Connecting

Always add a note when connecting with someone and connect with new people within 24 hours of meeting.

When a person hands you a business card search for that person and add them in. As you network after an event, use the LinkedIn® App to find and connect with them before they forget who you are.

Sometimes I’ve even asked the person I’ve just met if they are on LinkedIn and used the app there and then to find and connect, particularly if I or they don’t have their business card.

Should You Pay for LinkedIn®?

I have trialed the Premium plan and if I was in a sales or HR role then I would consider going to the premium or one of the other plans.  This is because you get to see more of someone’s profile directly and also send messages to unconnected members, a good way to bypass the gatekeepers.

Summary

Once you have a photo and a nice complete profile you can then work on building up your network, properly, connecting with people you know and reminding them so with a nice note.

LinkedIn® is your professional networking tool and can be your first impression in an online world. Having a decent photo, summary line and complete profile is a minimum to making sure you get off to the best start and get the most out of such a useful system. You can then explore Groups and follow Influencers, read articles and share useful information, however, all that is for another blog.

I wrote this blog post originally as a way of venting (I’ve heard you should write for yourself) due to the frustration of getting unsolicited connection invitations in LinkedIn. Then I thought I’d put in some pointers for folks that don’t seem to have got the best out of the basics of what is quite a good product. I hope it has been useful.

This post is bought to you by GoToMeeting.

I’ve used GoToMeeting for years to demonstrate products and have remote meetings. GoToMeeting works on multiple platforms and is very simple to use.

Even if you already have a video conferencing solution it is a good idea to have that second option in case some thing goes wrong, and it will. To get a quick and reliable session up and running or to host a full on conference use GoToMeeting. Give it a try.

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