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:

  1. When asking someone to connect: don’t use the default introduction text, always personalize it.
  2. Use E-Mail to introduce folks or request an introduction.
  3. 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.
  4. Use E-Mail to do “mutual introductions” (e.g. “Bob meet Jack, Jack meet Bob” with a paragraph on each and contact coordinates).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)

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