12 Truths About LinkedIn And Using LinkedIn

Staying focused and headed in the right direction.

“Knowledge is good.” – Emil Faber

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

  1. Money talks and companies have money. 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. If you don’t have money, LinkedIn is not that interested in you. I have had two people from LinkedIn reach out and take an interest in me and what I was doing in almost ten 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, I became radioactive and the calls ended very quickly. As an individual, the most interaction you personally will get with LinkedIn will likely come in the form of a survey to complete.
  2. LinkedIn’s primary customers are sales, marketing, human resources and recruiting people. 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. LinkedIn makes changes to the platform that will serve their customers, not you. For example, if LinkedIn can persuade us to become more active on LinkedIn, that is good for ad sales.
  3. You are going to be contacted by people you don’t know. Expect recruiters and salespeople to contact 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 to LinkedIn with extreme prejudice.
  4. LinkedIn will never be a fabulous user experience. There are just too many different constituencies inherent in seven 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 the user experience is concerned, “serviceable” is probably the best you should hope for.
  5. 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 goals, do those things, and leave.
  6. Using automation on LinkedIn makes you less social. You can use automation and go for quantity in your messaging to connections for example. But treating your connections like an email list doesn’t seem very social to me. And if you use automation for things like profile views, connection requests, or messaging, LinkedIn will come after you. Engage one on one with your connections and other people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a contact sport.
  7. 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). Remember that LinkedIn is a tool. A good one, but it’s not the Holy Sales Grail. This is mostly because people think LinkedIn is a social network, but it is really a big database with a very small social network embedded in it.
  8. Along those lines, 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.
  9. LinkedIn can be used to find paths to people you don’t know via people you do know. This is a very underrated and underutilized aspect of LinkedIn.
  10. You get out of LinkedIn in direct relation to what you put into LinkedIn. By all means you can do LinkedIn in ten minutes a week, just expect to get results corresponding to ten minutes worth of effort.
  11. It’s still a give to get world. The minute you start looking at someone’s LinkedIn profile and start 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. The single best thing you can do on LinkedIn is invest your time developing your relationships with your connections. Very few people do this.
  12. For B2B sales professionals, LinkedIn is a game changer. What originally attracted me to LinkedIn ten years ago was that it was what I had wished for since I started in high tech sales in 1985: A searchable database of most every customer I could ever want, a treasure trove of researchable material on those people and their companies, and the possibility that LinkedIn itself may be the best method to reach out to them.

If you see LinkedIn for what it is, and not for what you wish it was, you will make effective use of the time you invest in it.

What would you add to this list?

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.