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5 Effective Ways To Use LinkedIn

Posted by on Apr 6, 2011

I’ve been a LinkedIn member for a long time now. As a matter of fact, I got an email last week from LinkedIn announcing their just passing 100 million members, and thanking me for being one of not only the first 1 million members, but actually placing being one of the first 685,000 members; not so bad, right? At first I wasn’t sure what to think of LinkedIn, but as time went along, I started to realize that as a business vehicle it’s fairly essential to be listed on the site and participating in some fashion. I’ve met a few people locally through there as well; that never stinks.

Having said that, as the site has grown I have to say that there are a number of people who don’t get it. I mean, it’s not all that hard to use, yet I see some things that just make me absolutely cringe. Since I figure it’s what I do, I’m going to offer 5 effective ways to use LinkedIn.

1. If you’re inviting someone to accept you as a connection, please write something special other than the standard message given to you by LinkedIn. This is a pet peeve of mine, and it seems to be a pet peeve of man local Syracuse folks based on what I’m reading on Twitter. It takes no time at all to write something a bit more personal, especially when you don’t know the person you’re asking to join, and then if it’s someone you know it’s even more special.

2. If you’re inviting someone to be a connection, don’t list them as someone who has worked with your business or at your business if they never did. This one is common for me, and its irksome. That’s because LinkedIn then believes you actually worked for that company and it starts sending you messages any time someone else from that company signs onto their service. And there’s nothing you can do about it; trust me on this one.

3. Join a group and write something. This was one of the changes LinkedIn made back in 2008 and it was a good one. Their groups are either business related or education related, and they give you a chance to show that you have some knowledge in your field. This is one place where lurking won’t do you any good because no one will know you’re there; why waste your time like that?

4. Every once in awhile, pop in a business update of some kind. I try to get there at least once a week to write something short and sweet that’s happened in my business, though sometimes it’s a couple of weeks. You do this because when LinkedIn sends out its weekly email, your name and what you’ve done might pop up in someone’s inbox, or they may be compelled to follow the link in the email to see what other people they’re connected to have done during the week. People like working with successful people.

5. If you ask for recommendations, only do it for people you know well and who know your work. I get requests all the time from people I barely know or may have met but never worked with. I ignore every single one of them, which of course means I delete them from my inbox, and I never respond to those people at all. Every once in awhile, if I’ve never met them in person, I’ll drop them from my contacts list. That kind of thing is unethical in my opinion, and if you’re unethical and I don’t really know you, how might you treat me when we do get to know each other?

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20 Comments »

I always mention #1 as something that puzzles me as well. I don’t really see how someone cannot get how much of bad image the standard LinkedIn message can give to their request to connect. I always strive to personalize it when I send one, I think it’s kinda the least you can expect from anyone.

April 6th, 2011 | 10:42 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Gabriele, I believe most people don’t think about it. I mean, when I first joined, I just sent out what they had as well. For new people, I can understand it. But for folks who have been around for awhile, well, guess they need a lesson as well.

April 6th, 2011 | 8:06 PM

I am active in two social networking sites and never notice linked in! but as i read your tips and ways on how to used linked in effectively, you open my mind to get active in it.

April 6th, 2011 | 11:09 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Jaymar, if you have a legitimate business it’s the place to be for online networking.

April 6th, 2011 | 8:07 PM

If someone is not a member of LinkedIn but is asked to join, why should that person join? Does your answer change if the person is 65 vs 35?

April 6th, 2011 | 1:36 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Ari, my age is right in the middle of the two you mentioned, so age has nothing to do with it. As I wrote in the post, if you do any business and want to possibly meet people either locally or around the world online that you might be able to establish some kind of business relationship with, LinkedIn is the place to be. If you’re a regular employee that doesn’t care about upward mobility or even the possibly of finding another job, then it’s not for you.

April 6th, 2011 | 8:08 PM
GIochi Winx:

well, im new to Linkedin… Ive seen a lot of tutorials how to use it correctly and urs is short and clean…

I like it a lot …
Thanks for sharing, great post.

April 6th, 2011 | 3:52 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Giochi; hope you don’t mind the small “I” as the second letter. I hope it helps some.

April 6th, 2011 | 8:09 PM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch

I signed up awhile back but hadn’t really done anything with it. Some business friends have been asking to join up with me so thought I should maybe look at it again.

Thanks for your helpful hints Mitch. Appreciated.

April 7th, 2011 | 12:53 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good luck with it, Pat; I hope it works out for you.

April 7th, 2011 | 2:01 AM

I recently read a marketing guide related to effective use of Linkedin for business. Actually some of the points are overlapping with the book and I guess this is the right way to do it. Actually I think paying for pro membership is good idea too.

April 7th, 2011 | 7:47 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I took a look at the pro membership and it works well if you have certain people you want to try to target. For me, I have so many other things going that it works just fine as is for now.

April 7th, 2011 | 10:31 AM

Yeah, I think it worth for paying full membership, there are so many extras and technically it gives a possibility for good business networking.

April 8th, 2011 | 8:54 AM

Hello Mitch,

I think I said this in some other commment, but I always looked at linkedin as a business community or business social network where you have to interact with people which are interested in you or you are interested in them for future business perspective. That is why I never really got to use linkedin all that much. 🙂

But, when I will make (if I will make it) a mortar and brick business, I will definitely be more active!

April 7th, 2011 | 11:33 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Alex, I don’t have a brick and mortar business, but I do run a consulting business and thus it’s the proper place for someone like me to be.

April 7th, 2011 | 6:49 PM

Thanks for the tips Mitch. I’ve had a LinkedIn account for some time, but have not used it effectively. I did set up the full bio and resume, but am not as active as I should be.

April 8th, 2011 | 5:58 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Allan, for what you do maybe it’s not something that you need to be overly active in. Yet, it could benefit you in some ways, so go for it.

April 8th, 2011 | 6:03 PM

Thanks for pointing me over here, Mitch. 3&4 (Groups & Updates) are fairly new to me, the rest I have run into and agree with your recommendation.

I’ve been lurking in a few groups that looked interesting just to see who’s in there. One turned out to be the hunting ground of a couple of trolls and I left. The others have offered some good opportunities to exchange advice and ideas and make some new contacts.

I’ll try to do the updates thing too. I haven’t done that, not sure what to say; not a lot of action in that arena lately other than blog updates.

Thanks for the tips!
Allan Douglas recently posted…Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for WritersMy Profile

March 24th, 2012 | 11:43 AM

Whoa… I see I’m already here. It’s like walking into a party and seeing yourself standing across the room talking to someone. Spooky!

March 24th, 2012 | 11:46 AM

That’s really funny Allan; see, I’d already given you the tips to move forward. lol

March 24th, 2012 | 10:10 PM