Gini Dietrich

Using LinkedIn: Is It the Social Media Stepchild?

By: Gini Dietrich | September 14, 2009 | 

My friend Paul Segreto thinks LinkedIn is the social media stepchild and that it has yet to hit its prime. I’ve been thinking about this since he said that to me, and I think he’s right.

When I first got on LinkedIn, I did it for the same reason most people do it…because I kept getting invitations and finally decided to see what the heck was the big deal. But I had the attitude that I own and run a business so why did I need a professional online resume?

Since then, I’ve changed my tune (as you can see if you visit my profile).  I’ve learned it’s a great talent recruitment tool. It’s a phenomenal networking tool. And, because I pay a little bit of money each month (and I mean a little bit), I get to see who visits my profile in a given day. You know what that means? Warm leads for people who are interested in either working for us or with us!

About a year ago, I spent some time figuring out LinkedIn and I joined a bunch of groups. The only thing I don’t like about it is you have no way to aggregate content to and from multiple groups. It’s kind of a pain. But if you can get past that, it will do you some good, even if you think you have no need for it.

If you don’t know how to get started on LinkedIn, please allow me to introduce you to my friend Jason Baer, who wrote the BEST blog post on using the tool I’ve ever seen.

22 Ways to Dominate LinkedIn

Here are my 22 tips for dominating LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Profile
1. Upload a Good Photo
2. Complete Your Entire Profile, Including Prior Jobs
3. Include Email Address In Your Last Name (easier to contact you) EDITOR’S NOTE: Since publishing, we’ve learned this is against LinkedIn terms and conditions. So don’t do it!  Or remove it if you have already done it!
4. Use Keywords Liberally in Your Profile (think of it as an SEO page)
5. Link to Web Sites Using Keywords, not “My Web Site”
6. Link to Your Blog’s RSS Feed
7. Update Your Profile Often (keeps you on your contacts’ news stream), but Not Egregiously
8. Create Status Updates (like Twitter and Facebook)

LinkedIn Applications
9. Activate LinkedIn Applications that Connect to Your Content
– WordPress & Bloglink
– SlideShare
– Company Buzz (Twitter search)

LinkedIn Connections
10. Invite Anyone You Meet in a Business Setting
11. Use Custom Invite Text
12. Find Connections Through LinkedIn Search (company search is especially good)
13. Browse Your Connections’ Connections to Find People You Forgot or Missed
14. Invite Your Contacts from Outlook, Gmail, et al

LinkedIn Recommendations
15. Liberally Provide and Request Recommendations
– Use Custom Request Text
– Provide Guidance to Reviewers on Themes and Keywords You’d Like Included

LinkedIn Messages
16. Send Messages to Your Connections About Job Openings, Events
– Breaks Through Clutter of Inbox

Build Your LinkedIn Reputation
17. Set up a Search and Answer Questions in the LinkedIn Answers Section
– Search can also be set as an RSS feed
18. Join Groups (only enough so that you can participate in each one)
– Great way to meet new connections through group discussions
19. Consider Creating Your Own Group

Using LinkedIn for Business Development
20. Connect with Clients, Former Clients, and Prospects
21. Use Search to Find Appropriate Contacts at Target Companies
22. Use Search to Find Background Information on Personnel at Target Companies

How do you use LinkedIn?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • U pwn SMM.

    Seriously. PWN.

    Oh, this is supposed to be a BUSINESS discussion?

    I didn’t know that you could see who looked at your profile by paying a little extra. Good tip.

    Thanks as always.

  • Great article! I’m using Linkedin a lot more these days and think it is still evolving. I’m using it to network more and more and am finding that it is good for franchise sales lead generation. You should start a franchise social media group – I bet you could garner some business that way by being a thought leader….

  • One of my franchisees posted this today on Yammer, our internal twitter: Michelle Sifford posted a new message on Yammer:

    Highly recommend using linkedin! B/C of Linkedin – we got our first house, bought amazing furniture never used at a fraction of the cost, was invited to local business networking groups, connected with the Virginia Assoc of Realtors, introduced to realtors. Before we decided to join Showhomes, I was contacted on more then 10 job opportunities in my previous line of work… and still get contacted.

  • What a great post. I’m fairly new to linkedin. I joined it after I graduated in college and got my first job in PR. However I am still uncomfortable sometimes inviting people to join my network when I only just met them. Or people that I meet on twitter. I’m uncomfortable because I don’t like the choices of how it says you know the individual. I can’t put them as a colleague, or a co-worker. Can I put someone I recently met as a friend? What if I met them in a business setting? I always make the invitations personal and I know the “How do you know them” section isn’t a big deal but I thought I would ask anyway.

    What’s your advice in this situation?

  • Dave -it’s not much…$20/month is all. And you can send invites to people in your groups, even if you’ve never met them IRL.

    Tom – As always, I appreciate your comments. And GREAT idea on the group. I think I’ll do that this week. You’ll be my first invite.

    Christina – You can put someone as a friend, but you’ll need their email address to be able to do that. I like that you already make the invite personal. That’s very important. Sometimes I get invites with the generic statement and I can’t remember how I met the person. So it’s really important to do that.

    As for being uncomfortable about inviting people there, this is how I look at things…anyone can join my LinkedIn network, provided they give me a reason for having met them at some point. I’ll follow anyone, but spammers, back on Twitter. Facebook I have a few more boundaries because I use it more for personal use than business. We have a company Facebook fan page I use for my business colleagues and friends.

  • As you mention Gini, LinkedIn is more than an online resume but it is sort of an afterthought in terms of social networks.

    LI is good for SEO, building reputation and expanding contacts. I’ve met plenty of smart people (such as yourself) through participation in LI groups, helped others by answering questions and reconnected with former colleagues.

    I can almost check off everything on Jason’s list, good tips! I’d also suggest adding buttons/badges from LI to your own website, inviting people to connect.

    I’ve recommended LI to colleagues, friends in other industries who’ve also benefited from joining. Thanks for sharing.

  • Davina, using the badge is a great idea! We have it on our email signatures, on our blog, and on our Web site. Thanks for the additional thought!

  • I guess we have a different definition of “a little bit”. $20 a month is not breaking the bank but nor would I define it as a little bit. I thought you were talking more like $2 a month, like a Pro Flickr account.

    I’m surprised at the recommendation to connect with anyone you meet in a business context. I thought the idea was to connect with people whose work you know well and could comment on with authority, and vice versa. Personally I’d rather keep my LinkedIn network smaller but stronger. I’ve got Twitter for more open-ended networking.

  • I love the simplicity of this list. Though I opened a LinkedIn account ages ago, I am just starting to actively use it – and I need all the help I can get. Thanks for breaking it down for me. 🙂

  • Jen Morack

    Loved this list! It’s on my fav’s and a hard copy is posted to my wall (yes, still old school). I’ve had the LI account for a while just like Sarah, and also beginning to experiment more. Thanks.

  • Hi Gini,

    This is a really good article with 21 rock-solid ways to build a great profile and leverage the power of LinkedIn.

    Just one note: # 3. Include Email Address In Your Last Name (easier to contact you)

    This item is actually against the LI Terms of Service, and following it can get your account suspended, as I have seen done to others and had been done to me personally.

    Another good resource for getting started on

  • I’ve been using LinkedIn since the beginning of this year to try to network more effectively. Although I’ve found it good for highlighting my experience and education and giving former managers a way to express their opinions of my work, I haven’t found it as useful for networking and finding jobs. It seems many hiring managers still prefer the more established letter of recommendation and application – although some have written LinkedIn recommendations are a good way to get the application process started.

    I think LinkedIn will become more valuable in the future and that it is important to learn to master it now. But I think there is a credibility issue (from a job hunting standpoint) that will remain until the unemployment rate declines.

    As far a business relationship development is concerned, I think LinkedIn is a very valuable tool that will continue to grow in importance as more people become registered.

  • Please note that on tip #3 that adding your email to the name field violates the Linkedin terms and conditions.

  • my apologies I did not see Jason’s post

  • Brian and Jason – thanks to both of you for the tip on the email address. I didn’t know that and have now crossed it off with an editor’s note.

    Gentry – I definitely think we’re ahead of the curve on LinkedIn, but we use it all the time for talent recruitment. We post freelance assignments and jobs on there quite consistently and find lots of great candidates without having to use a headhunter. I do think more companies will begin to use it this way in the next 12-18 months.

  • As always, you give us great tactical information. LinkedIn is definitely the red-headed step child, but I think it’s because, to be honest, it doesn’t have that Fun Factor. There’s also a lot of blatant self-promotion happening on LinkedIn, which is slightly annoying. All in all, it’s a really useful tool. It’s also used professionally by a lot of people who don’t like Twitter and Facebook.

    I agree that you should connect with everyone you meet in a professional setting, and that you should send a little note about where you met/what you talked about to jog people’s memories (in case it was at a conference or crowded setting). It will go a long way.

  • True, I use Linkedln professionally. Keeping my contents descent and useful.

  • I also opened a LinkedIn account because I had received a lot of invitations, but I haven’t done much with it because I didn’t see how if could benefit my current goals. I appreciate the tips for maximizing my time on LinkedIn as well as the insightful comments that have been made. I think I’m ready to devote a little more time to my LinkedIn profile.

  • howtowritearesume

    I never realized paying members could see who viewed their profile. That starts to show some slight value to me, but I’m still not sold. I have no idea how LI’s IPO went up so high and still don’t find much value in the site itself.