Changing LinkedIn Usage Styles – From Quantity To Quality

Heading over to the mailbag for a letter today! T… asks about fixing up his LinkedIn presence. He says:

Until I read your posts I just asked people to join me a bit ad hoc. … [So I was interested in] an article on how to rectify the mistakes if you are already on LinkedIn and have “farmed” contacts?

I’ve implied some things about that sort of situation over the years, but it sounds like a great topic for today.

Let’s have a look.

Giving up on meaningless connections

Let’s start at the first decision point – that you’re not interested in connecting indiscriminately.

I don’t have an issue with people doing so, I just think it hurts them in the ability to use LinkedIn in the better way – as an introduction point. In case you’re new here, you might want to revisit the entire “Exposing LinkedIn Connection Myths” series.

(That’s my way of saying – I accept that they do so, think it doesn’t get the unique benefits of the LinkedIn platform, will try to educate everyone about the issue, and will let it go at the end of the day;-)

So you’ve tried connecting randomly, don’t think it’s working out, and would like to change – great!

All those connections…

But you now have 762 connections.

And of those connections, you know 42 of them directly.

What to do?

Introduce yourself

Well – you might as well make the most of it!

Send a nice note to those indiscriminate connections and start a conversation.

If that conversation goes well, you’ve got a new person you know and trust – and can be happy with that.

Cut ties

Some profiles may not give you any warm fuzzy feeling at all, or other individuals may not want to have a conversation.

Go ahead and disconnect from them.

There’s no stigma, they won’t directly hear about it, and you don’t have to have any angst. You’re both losing a connection to someone that was never really interested in having a meaningful relationship. (I mean – if you want to talk to random people, just stand on a street corner and hand out your business cards;-)

Just follow the advice in one of my earlier entries “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Removing LinkedIn Connections“.

Too good to disconnect

Here – I’ll head off a question. Let me ask it for you:

Steve, I happen to connect with Jane Bigshot. Now I don’t really know Jane, but she’s got a huge number of connections, and is very influential in town. Do I have to remove her as a connection?

Well that’s an interesting dilemma.

And you can worry about it from both side – but I don’t want you to. If you can see some benefit from keeping the connection, and the individual hasn’t done anything to make you actively distrust them, go ahead and leave it alone. The world won’t end because you’ve kept this (or even a handful or two) potentially useful connection.

(And monitor your use of the site and the helpfulness of this connection – if it does get in the way, then reconsider your decision to keep the connection)

Full disclosure

I copy previous blog entries and change the wording – it’s just easier that way – and I find it oddly interesting when the very same tag line from a previous article remains useful…

Of course I have some connections that meet this criteria.

The one hard rule is that there are no hard rules – everything is relative.

I hope this advice helps you use LinkedIn more effectively.

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock