11 Fundamental Truths About Using LinkedIn

If you keep these ideas in mind, you will make better use of LinkedIn and the time you invest in it.

Individual LinkedIn users will never get the respect companies do

Money talks. If you have lots of money to spend on lots of premium subscriptions, ads or sponsored updates, LinkedIn will be keen to talk to you. I have had two people from LinkedIn reach out and take an interest in me and what I was doing in the past six years. In both cases once they realized I did not have twenty-five thousand dollars a quarter (I’m not kidding) to spend on job or marketing related ads on LinkedIn, it was like I was radioactive. The calls ended very quickly.  

You are a data point to be sold

Expect recruiters and salespeople to try contacting you. That’s the price of admission. Be gracious to people who approach you intelligently and respectfully. But if they don’t approach you intelligently and respectfully, all bets are off. Spammers and people who send automated crap messages should be treated with the lack of respect they deserve and reported with extreme prejudice.  

You’ll Pay For Everything On LinkedIn

This idea looks prescient after the User Interface changes we have just gone through. A lot of LinkedIn users have problems with this idea, because they are used to using LinkedIn for free. But using LinkedIn as a place to build your business’s credibility, and to find and interact with prospective customers and still expecting it to be free?  

LinkedIn will never be a fabulous user experience

There are too many different constituencies inherent in five hundred million users. You have people who use it every day and people who show up once a year. You have people using it for sales, research, recruiting, networking, job search and a hundred other reasons. And each of those groups has a laundry list of features they wish LinkedIn had. As far as user experiences are concerned, “serviceable” is probably the best you should hope for.

If you don’t have a plan, you can waste an awful lot of time on LinkedIn

Plan what you need to do to accomplish your LinkedIn related goals, do those things, and leave.

Using automation on LinkedIn makes you less social

You can have quality and be one-on-one social or you can have automation and go for quantity. But treating your connections like an email list doesn’t seem very social to me. Engage one on one with your connections and other people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a contact sport.

LinkedIn makes LinkedIn impersonal too

LinkedIn is partially at fault for making LinkedIn impersonal too, courtesy of the one button “congratulate” features for things like birthdays, work anniversaries, and new jobs. Here’s what I think when I receive one of those canned responses: “Wow, that person reached all the way to their mouse and moved it over the “congratulate” button. Then – using their other hand, mind you – they reached all the way over and pressed “enter”.  How thoughtful!” Actually I don’t feel that way because LinkedIn has trained everyone to think this is something we should do.

Social selling on LinkedIn is just like regular selling

In that, if you do it well, it works. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of people doing it well (just like regular selling).

You get out of LinkedIn in direct relation to what you put in to LinkedIn

By all means you can do LinkedIn in ten minutes a day, just expect to get results corresponding to ten minutes worth of effort.

It’s still a give to get world

The minute you start looking at someone’s profile and figuring out how you can help them, instead of how they can help you, is the minute you will start moving towards effective results using LinkedIn

And one final thought. For business professionals, LinkedIn is still the best game in town

I have tried a lot of the flavor of the month social networks and despite all its warts, LinkedIn beats them all. The only social network that could challenge LinkedIn is Facebook. Everyone else is just too tiny.


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.

Improve Your LinkedIn Use By Leaving One Bad Habit Behind In 2017

Here’s a New Year’s resolution that will make you more effective: Find one bad LinkedIn habit and kill it to start the new year.

Think of all the things you regularly do on LinkedIn. Maybe you check for messages, check your notifications, visit some LinkedIn groups, read some posts in your homepage feed, and like or comment on a couple of those posts.

For each of those things ask yourself what tangible benefits you derive from doing this activity. I am guessing at least one of the items on your list is going to make for some rather uncomfortable rationalizations.

Here’s an example I recognized of my own from a couple of years ago: I would spend around fifteen minutes seeing what was new in my Linkedin groups each week. This continued until I realized that I wasn’t getting anything tangible out of that time. I wan’t meeting new people, I had problems finding interesting conversations, and groups just didn’t seem to work for me. They may work beautifully for many people, but they just weren’t working for me. So unless someone asked me to get involved in a  discussion, I quit going to my LinkedIn groups. I was spending fifteen minutes a week – which added up to a day and half of my time over twelve months – and that day and a half was just spent wandering around. Quitting my LinkedIn group time got me that time back to use more productively elsewhere.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, maybe it’s time to move on to something else, or even nothing else. Your most precious resource is your time. Don’t waste it on LinkedIn activities that aren’t getting you anywhere. For any activity on LinkedIn, you should know the exact role it plays for you, and what you expect to get from it.

There’s a fine line that separates investing from spending.