Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting Linked on Linked In

To recap on the last few posts, we have covered an overview of LinkedIn and the importance of a complete profile. Now it is time to invite and look for current friends on this network. Where do you begin? The obvious place is your email list.

Before you import your entire list, carefully consider your reason for being a member of this social network. This is the business world filled with many potential advantageous contacts. It is not necessarily the person you are connected to. . . it is perhaps someone they know one, two, three or more people down the line that may turn into a valuable business laison. Once you have determined your focus, invite your selected email contacts.

If your contact does not have a LinkedIn account, this invitation may inspire them to create one. There are many ways to add to your contact list. In the next post we will discuss the importance of groups. When you join groups you have a connection with those other group members. This connection should not be exploited. You must be careful to abide by the LinkedIn rules and protocol. If you are unsure of this go to LinkedIn and view the getting started video.

You may search for specific people on this network. You can key in their names, look under a company or search by key words. Sending a connection request is an adventure in itself. You are required to check a box describing how you know this person.

How do you know __________(Person's Name Goes Here)?

  •   I don't know _________ 

If you click "other" a box will pop open that requests you place the person's email address in the box. In that way you are insuring at least some knowledge of the person. 
(optional) And the personal note that LinkedIn automatically includes is...

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

- Felice Gerwitz

If you click I don't know be careful. The person receiving the email request may click IDK (I don't know). This "counts" against you. If your receive too many of these, your account may be suspended on LinkedIn with no recourse. Social media sites are very protective of keeping a semblance of protection to their users in their site verbage. It is highly recommended that you know the person, share a group, or have a connection somewhere that can introduce you. I never click IDK to someone who requests a connection but will archive the request in the event that I do not want to connect.

This is the beauty of LinkedIn. If you see a person you'd like to have as a connection, you may see where in the "family tree" they reside. Perhaps one of your current connections has a direct link or they are somewhere down the family tree. In this way, you can request an introduction to the person through this first connection of yours.

Either way, connections on LinkedIn are very valuable. There are open networkers and groups of open networkers that join for the sole purpose of growing their numbers. If you are interested in this method of quickly growing your group connections this may be an option.