I use LinkedIn very differently than many of the folks I meet when I am out and about in Silicon Valley. I normally only link to people I have had shared success with. I do not link with folks who I have just casually met. I believe it’s important to keep track of folks I have had shared successes with and can legitimately endorse, if asked, so that I can forward their requests or respond to their needs. Here are some simple suggestions for using LinkedIn:
- When asking someone to connect: don’t use the default introduction text, always personalize it.
- Use E-Mail to introduce folks or request an introduction.
- Don’t try to reach more than a “Friend of a Friend.” If your request has to transit more than one person your probability of success goes way down, more importantly you lose the value of having a trusted party in common.
- Use E-Mail to do “mutual introductions” (e.g. “Bob meet Jack, Jack meet Bob” with a paragraph on each and contact coordinates).
- Endorse folks who deserve it. Always spell check endorsements. Don’t ask for reciprocal endorsements: it weakens your endorsement a return endorsement within a few days is automatically discounted.
- Reconnect with folks you had have prior shared success with: team mates, co-workers, vendors, customers. It’s an easy way to stay in touch and it’s likely if you have been successful together in the past, you may have other opportunities together in the future.
- Do not spam LinkedIn groups with the same blog posts. Many people do this without knowing that RSS feeds are there for this. (Suggested by John Blake in the comments, it’s a good one.)