Marketing – LinkedIn

LinkedIn is supposed to be used for business purposes. The very idea of LinkedIn is to be able to network with other business owners or people in certain industries to discuss business, or to network. Therefore, the way I see it, LinkedIn is a very viable place to try to make connections within your industries.

I have around 450 connections there. I know maybe 100 of them well enough so that I wouldn’t have to reach out to them again, which left me with about 350 contacts that I could look at and try to determine if there was some way I could work with them. I set about the task by starting at the beginning of the alphabet and looking at each name and what it is they did. I knew I wasn’t going to contact everyone the first time around; some, based on what they do, I won’t contact at all.

Going through this process was going to serve two things for me. One, it was going to help me determine who I should contact. Two, it was going to help me determine who I should drop. Some people theorize that the more connections you have the better. I’m not that guy, and as I’ve talked about culling the number of people I follow on Twitter based on how they use it and what they have to say, I’ve never really done the same thing with LinkedIn, and I’ve been there longer. So, as I started going through the list, I knew there were some people I was going to eliminate early, and some people I was going to eliminate later. What do I mean? I’ll come back to that.

In this case I didn’t create a list ahead of time. I figured that since I was on the site at the present time, and since you can’t send a group message to just anyone you’re connected to (actually you can but your message should be tailored to each individual so it doesn’t look like spam; LinkedIn hates that), I’d just go ahead and send my message. I created a couple of different scripted messages, but then I never used them. No matter, since the process of scripting helped me decide what I wanted to say anyway.

This was a 2-day process of going through all the names. In the end, I sent messages to close to 35 people, and I deleted around 30 people I was connected to. To date I’ve only heard from one person, someone I actually know who I hadn’t talked to in years and yet is in my field, so that doesn’t really count. The others…not a word. And if I don’t hear from any of those people within 2 weeks I’m going to my sent folder so I can identify them and I’m removing them from my list. I figure that if it takes that kind of effort to respond to a message on a business networking site then they’re either not really interested in that kind of thing, haven’t been to LinkedIn in awhile and thus don’t know what to do with the message, or really aren’t interested and don’t want to bother with me. In any of those cases, why stay connected? Agree or disagree?

And yes, this is marketing, online marketing but in a way more like email marketing. I made each message more of an introduction than a sales pitch because truthfully I figured I really didn’t know these people, no matter what it says on their LinkedIn page. After my first year on the site most people have connected to me first, so I figure it’s well within my right to try to connect with them now, since I added them when it was requested. But culling my list will take place, and I figure that when I go through the next round that I could be closer to 300 connections total. From where I sit, that’s not bad if I know those people.

And so it goes; thoughts?

26 thoughts on “Marketing – LinkedIn”

  1. I’ve been on LinkedIn for years but never truly used it, despite numerous “how to work LinkedIn like a pro” blog posts and presentations.

    Some of the features I wanted to use were only available to certain types of pages, so that was out.

    Most of the time people I already know connect with me but don’t even bother to personalize the standard “I want to add you to my network” message, nor interact with me once we connect.

    That said, I’ve never really reached out to anyone on LinkedIn to see what was out there. I think Hootsuite or Buffer or some service is integrating LinkedIn so there should be more activity over there.

    But along the lines of your post, I’ve been thinking of eliminating LinkedIn from my social presence anyway, since if I’m not going to invest any effort in it, it doesn’t make sense to keep leaving my profile link out there.

    Maybe I’ll give it one mo’ push to see if I can finally “get it” before I give up the ghost.

    I hope you get some responses out of your connections before the time limit it up!

    1. John, as with everything else you sometimes get out of it what you put into it. For me, I’ve not received any more responses to my initial queries. In a discussion with a friend yesterday she said she wouldn’t cut off anyone on LinkedIn, and of course I disagreed, for the reasons I mentioned in this post. I have met people in person because of LinkedIn and I figure it certainly can’t hurt trying to use it for the reason it was created.

      The question you should ask yourself is what types of people would you be hoping to connect to, then see if you’re already connected to any of those people and just write them to introduce yourself to them. If not, you should try to at least find 5 people who you’d like to connect with, try to connect, and if they accept you then write them an introductory message. Can’t hurt, right?

  2. Mitch, this is an interesting process you are undertaking. I’m with John Garrett on this one: I may drop the network entirely. LinkedIn was always presented to me as a professional network. Indeed, most of the people I know on there are former college mates in the IT field. They are so vested in their careers that our chances of doing “business” are nil.

    You saw what I did with Google+, so It’s just a matter of time before these other networks get the boot.

    I’m looking at the Socialization of Google as a wake-up call: I intend to conserve my limited amount of social currency and stick to the big three: Facebook, Twitter and Google+.



    1. Mitch, whereas I understand your thoughts on the matter, and you mine, I can tell you that I’m not dropping either G+ or LinkedIn. I am going to start trying to establish myself in a certain manner as an authority or sharer of certain types of information on both of those platforms, as well as trying to reach out to specific people who either need my services or can at least talk to me about stuff like that. It’s too late for Twitter and myself as a business entity and I’m good with that. I just can’t afford to pull away from people based on what I do and what I want to do, and you know what I mean by that.

      1. Mitch, you’ve inspired another post :). I was chatting with Mitch Smith on Twitter about finding balance. I took that and ran with it.

        Now, regarding your choice to keep LinkedIn, I get that. You are a professional and that network has potential for you.

        In the matter of it being “too late” for Twitter, I disagree. I mentioned to Melanie Kissell that I sell on Twitter All Day Long. Really, the stream is so ephemeral, you can remake yourself in a month. Your friends will be your friends, regardless. If new followers like your message, you Win! 🙂



      2. Mitch, the problem I’d have it how I’d want to remake myself and if I could manage more than one account effectively. I could easily have 6 different accounts for all the things I do; that seems to make no sense. If I had two that might not even be enough. So much confusion in my mind, which is why I stick with the one.

      3. I agree, it can be confusing. Here’s my master plan: The one account @Anklebuster, is the social element. The others are strictly product announcements for those people who get their news on Twitter. LOL



  3. LinkedIn went through a lot of development in the last 2 years – a lot of options are new, there is also API, groups, jobs, etc. I have build a tiny app for my website which is syndicating every new post to my LinkedIn wall as my group there. Most of the time, I am using discussion groups which seems to bring a lot of traffic to website and most likely can build excellent B2B relations. On the other hand, definitely easy thing to put portfolio online – including videos, presentations, blogs. I love this network.

      1. Without a doubt, LinkedIn offer many options and I think it is taking the best out of Facebook and Twitter and going beyond that. I try to follow few big corporation and try to replicate what they are doing, but I must say that I am getting more traffic to my websites from LinkedIn compared to traffic from Facebook and Twitter.

      2. Carl, I get more traffic from Twitter but I haven’t fully explored LinkedIn as much in that regard, something I need to think about how to work on more.

  4. Thanks for the post Mitch. I think alot of people don’t really know that LinkedIn is actually a great business tool. I’ve heard stories of entrepreneurs making thousands overnight and gaining a wide network. So yes, LinkedIn is great for business.

    1. I have to admit I haven’t heard those stories Michelle, but I have heard of people making connections through LinkedIn that have been economical for them, and that’s what I’m shooting for as well.

  5. I’m in the ‘I don’t get it’ camp for Linkedin I’m afraid.

    I think this stems from not getting the concept of inter business networking – you see numerous offline business networking events but they often don’t appear to have any meaningful strategy as far as I can see it.

    I get social networks where people congregate into those with specific interests but normally the same types of businesses tend to be competitors so why would they want to link in? I get joint ventures but these are normally formed out of personal friendships, or online membership sites etc – a platform for a load of busy people is something I dont see as most will be too busy to socialise.

    1. Peter, I’m not sure if you work for yourself or not, but true networking is always a big thing in helping to get your name out there. LinkedIn can help me do that in some ways, especially when I’m participating in groups and get to show that I know what I’m talking about.

      1. As long as you have a strategy with which how to use it and present yourself then thats fine.

        On another note I logged into mine yesterday for the first time in ages and noticed you can add your blog posts in there so they publish automatically, ideal for another backlink if nothing else!

  6. I’m another of those “had a LinkedIn account for years but never did much with it” people. Primarily because every time I find someone I’d like to link up with the system would warn “Make sure this is someone you really know before making a connection.” Well, duh – if I already knew them I wouldn’t need YOU, you silly system! I get LinkedIn emails that ask me, “Do you want to connect with his person?” but when I go in to agree, it asks me for their email address. I don’t know their e-mail address!

    I thought I was responding to an invitation, but apparently it’s just a auto message.

    I’ll have to join Scott and come over for a lesson on how to actually make use of this thing! I’d bring some lemon-poppy seed muffins…

      1. I’ll go read that now. It’s interesting that you post this just now. I recently discovered the discussion forums, have been lurking in several, just watching the flow of discussion. Finally tossed my 3 cents worth in on a few and have had a very favorable response. LinkedIn may well be better at sharing ideas with a targeted group than any other social media service I’ve used. (But it’s early yet…)


  7. I never really do anything on Linked In. I, too, stare at it and wonder “what do I do now?” I make connections but just find it bulky to do anything on there compared to the ease of Facebook. I leave it for profile purposes but admit this isn’t where my time goes. All of my business comes word of mouth and I’m lucky I stay busy. Maybe if it got to the point where I was looking for work to do, I might be more serious in attempting to use it.

    1. Melinda, it doesn’t hurt to at least find a way to stay in some people’s minds, which is a part of what I’m doing with a couple of the groups I’m in. We get to show our expertise by answering questions or commenting on a topic. And if, off that, you decide to reach out to someone, or they reach out to you, then it’s all good.

  8. I’m going to go the other way on this one Mitch. I have about 550 connections on LinkedIn and I have no problem with those that don’t interact. I tried to connect with local business and other bloggers but there’s really no reason to disconnect, as long as they’re not spamming me. The only thing consistent with business, is everything changes and we never know who we’ll need in our corner or when. Unlike Twitter, LinkedIn connections aren’t ‘clogging’ up the feed so as long as we haven’t hit the ceiling I see no need to clean house.

    1. Brian, I’m a “clean house” kind of guy; I’ve written many posts on that subject. I have had lots of business cards and contacts over the years and at a certain point I realized it was a lot of clutter for people who really were never going to talk to me, let alone work with me. The same goes for LinkedIn. There’s a lot of people I’m connected to who I don’t know, and aren’t in any of the industries I ever try to target. Just doesn’t seem to make much sense to keep them all, especially if they don’t get the networking aspect of it all.

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