Straight From The Horse's Mouth – You’re Using LinkedIn WrongTweet
If you use LinkedIn, or even if you don’t and just have an account, you’ve almost certainly received invitations to connect from people you have never met or even heard of. Many users just accept this as part of the LinkedIn life, and deal with them as they come. But the longer you stay on the site and the more active you are, the more requests from strangers you will get. But the way many people handle these invitations is actually completely wrong. That’s not just our opinion either – LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman agrees.
What Am I Doing Wrong?
While you might not think twice about ignoring a friend request from a total stranger on Facebook, when it comes to LinkedIn people behave a little differently. A common misconception is that you should accept every single connection that comes your way. Many people think that because it is a social network for professionals, the more connections the better. There are even those who won’t connect with people who have less than a certain number of connections, which only encourages this blind connecting. Often this results in a feed cluttered with information you don’t care about, hiding the connections you really do want to develop a relationship with. So you have to wade through all of that information to make the network work for you, and it’s this that often turns people off using this valuable tool. Not only that, but there are individuals out there who strategically request connections in order to gain access to your network – never a good move. Hoffman warns this ‘accept all’ approach is not just damaging, but ‘all wrong’.
So What Should I Be Using It For?
LinkedIn has been getting a bad rap recently for becoming ‘too much like Facebook’, and to some extent that’s true, thanks to this mass connection culture. But for LinkedIn to truly shine, you should be making connections with people you already know in some way, or have a mutual connection who can introduce you confidently. It’s essentially networking in the digital world, and the power of those connections is much more than people give them credit for.
In an interview with Keith Ferazzi, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman explained the true value of LinkedIn:
"LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It's up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, 'Would you introduce me?' you're in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit."
So if you receive an invitation to connect from someone you don’t know, or who you would feel awkward introducing to your network, you can decline without feeling guilty.
Hoffman goes into detail on this and more in his book ‘The Start-up Of You’, which you can get your hands on for a bargain price of £5.56 and is definitely worth a read.
Is all of this making your head hurt? Don’t worry, it can be a lot to take in, especially if you’re not really sure how to use LinkedIn properly. Luckily, we can help you. Our in-house Digital Marketing Team love teaching you everything there is to know about LinkedIn for business, from how to set up a profile to connecting with the right people and posting into groups. Even if you’re a complete novice, our experts will guide you gently through the maze that is LinkedIn and have you networking like a pro.
Our next workshop is on Thursday 27th July at our office in Goring, and we would love to see you there. To find out more, or to book your place, just click here!