9 Ways to Get Linked Out on LinkedIn

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837748_thumbs_down_-_with_clipping_path.jpgI talk a lot about how to make effective use of LinkedIn — today let’s look at some ways NOT to use LinkedIn. Here are nine sure-fire ways to network like a schmuck and achieve exactly the opposite effect you’re probably going for:

  1. Use the canned invitations. Really — they’re there for your convenience. A lot of thought obviously went into them already, so why should you put any more effort into personalizing your invitations? Everyone loves to get an “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message.
  2. Any time you see an interesting profile, invite them to connect. Regardless what LinkedIn recommends, nobody really uses it just to connect with people they know. It’s just like a MySpace friend request — everybody does it. Don’t bother to contact them first — no need. Just send them one of those default invitations.
  3. While you’re at it, invite everyone from all your Yahoo! Groups and other discussion lists and forums. One common interest is more than sufficient reason to connect on LinkedIn, isn’t it? Don’t bother to contact them first either. Just send them one of those default invitations everybody loves so much.
  4. Ignore those silly contact settings. If you’ve got a business deal or a job inquiry, you know better than they do whether they might be interested — they couldn’t possibly have anticipated this particular opportunity. Just call it an “expertise request” or a “request to reconnect” and then tell them why you’re really contacting them.
  5. Turn off all email notifications and just use the website. Once every week or two is often enough to handle things — there’s never any urgency to things coming through LinkedIn. If people need to contact people in a hurry they should use the phone and contact them directly, not get introductions through LinkedIn.
  6. Use Answers to grow your network. What better way to connect with lots of people? You can’t directly ask for connections — that will get your question deleted. Try something more subtle, like “How can I best find other open networkers who are willing to connect with me so I can get thousands of connections?”
  7. Answer as many questions as you possibly can in as many different topics as you can. Don’t worry about putting too much thought into them — just get your numbers up so you’ll show up as a top expert. And just by the law of large numbers, you’re bound to get a few “best answer” designations. No one will wonder why you have so much time on your hands.
  8. If you’re a recruiter and someone makes an introduction request to one of your candidates, tell them what your fee is. It doesn’t matter that other people make introductions for you for free — you’re a professional — you do this for a living.
  9. Ask all your contacts for recommendations and offer them one in return – especially all those people you don’t know who agreed to connect. Just write something generic about what a great guy/gal they are. That’s what reciprocity is all about!

Just follow the advice above and in next to no time you’ll be spending several hours a week on LinkedIn, plus get a nice letter from their customer service department with some free educational materials about their usage policies. What fun, eh?

This post was part of a b5media Business Channel group writing project, 99 Ways to Kill Your Business. The whole collection is a lot of fun, as well as very educational, but on the topic of networking, I particularly recommend:

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  1. Hahaha, although your tongue was firmly planted in your cheek when writing this, I’ve got five bucks that says that there will be some lazy readers who ignore the title, scan through the text, follow your “advice” and when they’re efforts blow up say, “But I did everything Scott Allen said to do!”

  2. Ask someone whom you do not know & who has never heard of you to connect. When you receive an email saying, could we get to know each other first, ignore it completely. Then wait all of 2 days and re-invite them again.
    Closely followed by asking someone to re-connect & citing as the mutual former place of business or school, some place where this individual was never employed or went to school.
    And oh yes, why I will never fill in where I received my BA/MA… because I do not wish to get invites based on our former “shared” experience from strangers who weren’t there when I was and thus never knew me.

  3. Well, I have no problem with open networking (OK, maybe a little) — they just need to make sure they identify other people as open networkers before inviting them. Or better yet (radical concept, I know), communicate with people before inviting them.

    If people want to connect with strangers, who am I to stop them? Just stop assuming that everyone else feels the same way.

  4. My challenge with the appropriation of the term “open networker” by people who are happy to connect with anyone who will connect with them is that I like to think of myself as being “open to networking”, but on the basis of having some conversation first, establishing (in the business context) that there is indeed some common business interest and some potential for sharing. There are obvious shades of grey, but if someone who is a self-designated “open” networker tells me I’m “wrong” in my attitude and approach to networking (this has happened), I can only assume that some “open networkers” see as a dichotomy what I see more in terms of different points on a line. I am uncomfortable with useful words and phrases being taken over and used to brand what is essentially a doctrinaire position that cannot be successfully defended, objectively, as “the one true way”.

  5. Scott: Great advice! I’m going to go one further and when utilizing the Answers section, I’ll list me as a suggested expert on everything. Boy, that should get me noticed.

    (Egad, I hope you know I’m kidding.)

  6. Yeah, like those nine things are sarcastic.. Ha, as if!

    Ok, seriously though, probably good advice.

    Also, I found that I have linked in to people in the early days of it, who now I find I dont know them as well as I thought I did. Their character flaws and some bad behaviors are now really clear.
    I dont want to delete them, since it would chop off a whole network of people. (And you can watch what they’re up to… “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.”)

    I’ve been wanting to provide anonymous rating of people who have turned out to be duplicitous.

    I just found
    http://LinkedOut.tumblr.com where you can submit anonymous feedback on people who’ve exaggerated their self importance.


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