Eight Things I Have Learned About LinkedIn In The Past Eight Years

(that you can read in 2 minutes)

I have been a sales and marketing consultant specializing in LinkedIn since January 2011. During that time, I have put in thousands of hours using LinkedIn. I have written something like 300 articles on various aspects of LinkedIn and using LinkedIn. I have seen the platform change, features come and go, and even some features come and go and then come back again (hello “Events”). This a quick list of what I have learned. The genesis for everything I do and everything I teach always seems to come back to one or more of these eight points.

1) LinkedIn’s primary customers are sales, marketing, human resources and recruiting people.

2) If you are not in one of these four groups, you are not so much a customer, you and your data are the product LinkedIn sells to those customers.

3) LinkedIn makes changes to the platform that will serve their customers, not you. For example, if LinkedIn can persuade you to become more active, that is good for ad sales.

4) LinkedIn is a social network for the professions listed above and for solo consultants who need to sell their services. For most other users, LinkedIn is not a social network.

5) LinkedIn is an excellent people database with good search tools attached, though you need a Sales Navigator or Recruiter premium account to take full advantage of these tools.

6) LinkedIn can be used to find paths to people you don’t know via people you do know.

7) Reaching out to people you don’t know works pretty poorly. Yes, that includes InMail (see point number 4 above).

8) The single best thing you can do on LinkedIn is invest your time developing your relationships with your connections. Very few people do this.

There is a lot more to many of these statements than meets the eye, so I will talk about some of these ideas in more depth over the next couple of months, but keep these ideas in mind and you will use LinkedIn more effectively.