Saturday, January 24, 2009

I don't know you : LinkedIn Connections : Top benefits of Linkedin and tips on inviting more people

Top benefits of Linkedin and tips on inviting more people
I have been a member of Linkedin since 2003 and that was my first foray into Social Networking. I have built up about 1.1k contacts and here are the top benefits
Linkedin Answers
  • Asked 13 questions and answered 45 questions
  • 50% of my questions related to information I needed for my job
  • Most answers were to help people with my expertise.
  • 2 of the people who answered my questions were featured in the Washington Post for that topic
Connecting people
  • Connected old friends, colleagues to each other
  • Connected headhunters to prospects 3 times
  • Connected vendors to companies 2 times
Vendor contacts
  • Used Linkedin in 2 times to find biz dev folks at companies for partnership enquiries
Job Hunt
  • I am still at my job so I cannot say it helped me find a job but the fact that an average of 1 person a day checks my profile out and i appear in 5 to 10 search results a day may be of some value :)  There is of course a funny story where I came up in a search for a job opportunity for another opening at Network Solutions and they were excited till they saw my name and I was already in the company :)
Recommending Service providers
  • Service providers  can be added to Linkedin only if the user recommends them or the business can ask their customers to recommend them. You can ask for a recommendation to your business on Linkedin. I have recommeded 3 service providers who i was very happy with.
Getting visits to your blog or web site
  • You should make sure to add your web site, blog and other activities to your profile. People interested in your profile will click through to your blog or website to check it out.
  • If you notice most Linkedin profiles have the words "My Company", "My Blog" , "My Portfolio" in the section labeled "Websites". If you want to customize this you can edit it by changing the drop down to "Other" which gives you an option to add your own text label to the URL. See my previous post on Linkedin Tips
Inviting other people :More than 8 months ago I sent out invitations for connections using my contact list on Gmail. Not a very wise thing to do but I chose people from the list with whom I had a few interaction. I am kind of a friendly guy and usually people I meet in real life at conferences or seminars turn out to be great contacts. I realized life is not always like that , a few people marked me as " Don't Know" . Among them were the following unnamed people:
  • - A gentleman who sat in the adjacent chair for 2 days  and spoke extensively and we exchanged cards at a local search conference and without my approval added me to his newsletter. The day I got his newsletter , I saw his response to my Linkedin invite was " Doesn't know".
  • - One guy actually was looking for a job and I sent him an invite to tell him of a offer i knew in my invitation :(
  • - Someone who works for my company and Linkedin gives me a list when we login of people from your company who join Linkedin.

Now this was a few months ago and since then I prefer people invite me to my sending out invitiations. I know it sounds one sided but I do not want to get on the other side of LinkedIn. They are nice people and I always get good responses from support. My recent interaction with support was when I once again got a restriction on inviting people by adding a email address. ( Linkedin usually allows you to add contacts into your network without knowing the users exact email address) I thought the restriction was bug because I had not sent any invitations that were marked " Doesn't know". then I realized that some of my old invitiations were being looked at by people now. Some of them logging into Linkedin recently as Social networks are a craze. What I did after interactions with Linkedin customer service is to withdraw all outstanding invitations. I saw many of my invitations had :bounced" . The only outstanding invitation I have kept pending is Guy Kawasaki. ( of course I know him ). I have never marked an invitation " I don't know this person" , I have never had any reason to do so. I will still encourage you to connect with me on LinkedIn
Better still if you find something good to write about me then please give me a Linkedin Recommendation.

Here are a few tips from LinkedIn support about Invitiations.

1) Only use your invitations for individuals who you know.
2) The reconnect feature should be used solely to reconnect with individuals that you personally knew through a mutual employer or through attending the same educational institution.
3) If there are individuals that you wish to connect with, but they do not fall under the two categories listed above - we then encourage you to use our other features which include InMail, OpenLink or Introduction requests.

Invitations are the foundation for all members and should be used as a valuable commodity to build and strengthen your personal network.

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