A Path To Success On LinkedIn


It leads through your connections.

If you are an average LinkedIn user, you may have something on the order of five hundred connections.

A few questions to ponder:  

Why are you connected with them?

What is the purpose of your connections?

If you have five hundred connections, does that mean four hundred is bad and six hundred would be better?

What do you want from them?

What do they want from you?

How much do you interact with them?

What do you know about them? “My connection Bob Smith is an engineering consultant.” Great. What type of engineering? What’s his real specialty?  Who are his typical clients? Industry? Local? National? Big companies? Startups? What’s that? You say you don’t have time to find all that out about him. I see.  And why are you connected with Bob then? Because he may refer clients to you? You want nothing to do with helping him but you hope he helps you? Well, good luck with that.

Many LinkedIn users seem to have connection networks that are a mile wide and an inch deep. They collect connections but never talk to them. These connections are assets. These are the people that have the ability to open doors for you. Ignoring them isn’t an optimal strategy. You will notice I said “they collect connections but never talk to them.” I used the word “talk” for a reason.

Not automated messaging, not bots, not templates.

Not LinkedIn messaging, not text, not email.

Talking.

I have conversations with a lot of my connections, especially with people I have not met prior to meeting them through LinkedIn. Want to know what the first thing is they usually say to me when we talk via Skype or phone?

“This is the first time I have had one of these calls. No one does this on LinkedIn.”

Think about that statement for a minute. What does it say about LinkedIn and LinkedIn users when a LinkedIn member is surprised when one of their connections wants to talk to them?  

LinkedIn is supposed to be about professional networking, yet it seems hardly anybody does. When did connections become something to be collected and pulled out and admired from time to time like old baseball cards? A LinkedIn network isn’t numbers, it’s people.

I set aside time time to have calls with ten or fifteen of my connections  every week. Every week. Just fifteen minutes each. But in that fifteen minutes I find out what their real specialties are. What they are passionate about. And that helps me help them. In January I introduced twenty-four of my connections to people I thought might be a good fit for them. And a lot of the connections I spoke with referred people to me. The result is new connections and new business, for both my connections and myself.  

If you are like most LinkedIn users, you come to LinkedIn, read a couple of articles, add a like or a comment, follow a company or two, and call it “networking.” Instead, invest just a little effort in talking to a few of your connections. You will stand head and shoulders above their other connections, because hardly anyone networks on LinkedIn, and almost no one networks effectively.  

The New LinkedIn User Interface: 2 Good, 4 Bad And 4 Ugly Changes

Plus conjecture, other oddities in the new LinkedIn UI, and a possible win win suggestion.

One oddity of the new UI is that with all the bugs and hiccups, I am not sure if there is one new UI or 460 million individual unique LinkedIn UI’s. With that in mind, some early (based on one week) observations on the new User Interface…

Good: Notifications get their own feed. Hallelujah. That little slider thingee in the old notifications window drove me nuts.

Bad: your followers have disappeared. The only ones you can find are ones that are new, that you have been notified about today.  

Ugly: The list of who liked a post only seems accessible from a notification that someone liked your post.

Ugly: Groups have been shunted off to Island of Misfit Toys, also known as the  “More” tab. Methinks this doesn’t augur well for Groups. Note that “Jobs” get their own tab while Groups do not. This decision hardly reinforces the idea that LinkedIn is more of a social network than a jobs board.  

Even uglier: Creating a company page fared even worse than Groups. You have to use the little slider on the More tab to slide down and reveal “Create Company Page” which is otherwise hidden.

Just plain weird: The “More” tab has ProFinder on it. Unfortunately, ProFinder is not available where I live (Toronto) yet. If LinkedIn is going to have tabs that aren’t functional, they might as well have some fun ones, like having a tab that says “Free Money.”

I ambivalent about:  Pulse disappearing

Good: A lot of what seemed like five or six hundred possible profile sections have been eliminated.

Bad: thank you to anyone who shares my post. Normally I try to send messages  and thank people who share my posts. Unfortunately, the new UI won’t tell you who shared your post. Anywhere. Because…well, actually I can’t figure out why LinkedIn would do this. To discourage sharing and engagement?

Odd sidebar: you get notified if someone mentions you in a post. So if someone shares your post and mentions your name in the share, you do get notified. Otherwise, no.

Conjecture on the odd sidebar: get ready to get mentioned to death as people figure out the only way to spread the word is through mentions.

Really really really bad: I have had the new UI for a week. Number of notifications that someone I am connected with or someone I follow has posted: zero. What’s the point of following someone?

Now some of these may be temporary situations, bugs or oversights or miscalculations that LinkedIn has made. But I have an idea that is even better than patching all the mistakes. Let us pay a nominal sum to get the old UI back. Let me explain.

I have read in a few places that the estimate on daily LinkedIn users is 40 million. Based on my own research and anecdotal evidence, of that 40 million daily users,  roughly ALL OF THEM hate the new interface (and associated changes in functionality). So LinkedIn should offer us the old user interface back for $1 a month each. That’s a half a billion dollars a year right there in cold hard cash for Linkrosoft. We get a functional LinkedIn with some search capability, they get money. That’s how you make lemonade out of a lemon.