Why LinkedIn Is Not Like A Video Game

I get about 3-4 requests to connect in LinkedIn each week. Maybe one of them is from someone I know. It seems like a lot of people attribute the number of contacts you have to value while the reality is that it’s the value of your relationships which matters. And, while you might be limited to a theoretical maximum of real friends, I think you can have an expanded professional network which is larger but doesn’t include anyone and everyone who can spell your name.

That being said, I’ve worked in several industries and several parts of the country (and tend to enjoy networking) so I have a big network in LinkedIn (>1,000). But, I constantly review it to see if things are getting old or if the person that I worked with on a deal has simply faded away. In the last year, I’ve dropped over 300 people that I had previously connected with.

So, like I’ve done with the blog and Twitter and Facebook, I figured I would post on how and why I use LinkedIn.

I joined LinkedIn very early since I had two friends who knew the founder. My personal uses for it have been:

  • To stay in contact with past colleagues
  • To share information from a work perspective
  • To share contacts for networking
  • To help find resources or people for projects
  • To network for sales and/or jobs

The keys to using it are:

  • Have a complete profile
  • Get recommendations
  • Give recommendations
  • Provide updates
  • Use keywords
  • Connect it with things like Slideshare or your blog (no longer Twitter)
  • Join groups (easiest way to expand your reach within the tool)

But, there are lots of professionals out there who will tell you how to optimize its use. For corporate purposes, I think Hubspot puts out a lot of great information and data.

The key for me is believing that if I reach out to someone in my network they will know who I am and be willing to respond or help the person I’m routing to them.

So…If you’re going to reach out to me in LinkedIn, tell me why you want to connect, and expect to get the following response…

“Thanks for your offer to connect. My rule is that we have to connect IRL (in real life) first. If you want to do that, you can call or e-mail me.”

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