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?