Use LinkedIn Like an Expert

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I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

My apologies to Peter Finch and Network, but how much longer will people complain "LinkedIn doesn't work for me!", when lazy habits are to blame?

No more excuses, LinkedIn members! Say it with me now:

"I can do this!"

"I can fit LinkedIn marketing into my day!"

"I can get great results quickly!"

Here are 5 quick shoves...errr, help you become more productive on LinkedIn, with minimal effort:

1. Stop Using Standard LinkedIn Language for Invites

"I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." Why are you still using this tired old pickup line?

It shows a complete disinterest in people and a total lack of imagination. It says, "I'm rushing through this and you're just one in a huge number of nameless faces that make up my connection quota for the day."

People, use your heads. Or more accurately, your keyboards, to create several templated invitations. Save them in a word doc, then whip 'em out and customize them for more satisfying LinkedIn connections.

For example, something as simple as "Dear John, We share membership in the ABC group. I've reviewed your profile and would appreciate the opportunity to connect." Could it be any easier?

2. Failing to Connect with Who's Viewed Your Profile

Do you ever look at this feature to see who is looking at you? Those with paid memberships get an expanded view, but even free members can see who stopped by, as long as that member has no profile restrictions.

So what are you going to do about it? Send an email.

Yes, a simple note like, "Sue, I noticed you viewed my profile. Were you just browsing or can I help you better understand [insert appropriately]?"

I wish I had tracked my use of this strategy from the beginning, because I could be telling some great stories right now about the unexpected business I've earned from this simple action.

Once again, this is an email that can be written ahead of time and slightly tweaked to customize personally. 3 and out. Not so hard, is it?

3. Standing on the Sidelines and not Joining Groups

Remember your prom? Remember standing on the sidelines, hoping someone would ask you to dance? Ever wondered how that experience might have been forever changed if you had just stepped away from the wall?

Joining groups and then sitting there like the proverbial wallflower is ridiculous. Why did you join the group? If this group met in person once a week, would you attend every meeting but never say a word? C'mon...groups are about participation.

Networking is about finding like minded people. New business is about connecting and engaging, none of which can happen when you are virtually invisible. Start talking!

4. Cluttering Your Homepage with Tweets

When it comes to syncing Twitter with LinkedIn, you have 2 choices: sync your Twitter feed to your LinkedIn home page, or sync your LinkedIn homepage to your Twitter feed. Which one is best?

Well, the answer depends in part on your industry and your tweeting style. As a general rule of thumb, sync your LinkedIn page to your Twitter feed. This way, you won't clutter your homepage with every single tweet unrelated to your LinkedIn network, which can annoy some members. In fact, it can be so annoying some members may decide to 'hide' your updates, meaning their connection to your insights is broken until the "unhide" button is chosen. You might be chatting in the wind, but you will never know....

5. Fear of Asking for Recommendations

People generally have a tough time asking for what they want. Asking for a recommendation is no easier. It feels awkward; you may be rejected, or worse, completely ignored. If you don't know what you want to achieve with the recommendation you are requesting, think it through before asking.

Recommendations are important to a well-rounded profile, but literally vital to pagerank, which can help you get found and get hired. If you are a bit nervous, ask colleagues, peers, friends, and good clients first. They won't say no, and they'll always say something nice.

Recommendations can be about work you've done, results you've achieved, your character, work ethic, etc. Recommendations can also be used to repeat important keyword phrases. No need to write a novel when a few sentences will do. Whatever you do, don't ask strangers for recommendations.

And for heaven's sake, don't accept LinkedIn's standard language, "I'm sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks in advance for helping me out."

Good grief. Is this how you communicate with real people?

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