How to download your LinkedIn connections as an Excel/spreadsheet file

Your database of LinkedIn connections is a great resource–if you use it. Did you know you can download it and save it as an Excel or other spreadsheet file with just a few clicks? Here’s how:

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Avoiding “Sybil syndrome”: what to do when you have two LinkedIn accounts

This post first appeared on my old blog in December of 2011, but it’s just as relevant today. “Sybil syndrome” is becoming more common as users who were inactive on LinkedIn look to return and take advantage of new features.

If you grew up in the 1970s, you likely remember the book/movie Sybil. Despite recent questions about the veracity of the story, Sybil is still the first thing that comes to mind when I think of people with multiple personalities.

That explains why I use “Sybil syndrome” when referring to the plight of those who have two separate LinkedIn accounts. Often, “Sybil syndrome” begins when LinkedIn users forget that they already have a LinkedIn account. Then they establish a second account, which leads to chaos when they strive to make use of LinkedIn or when others try to find them. It doesn’t quite drive them crazy, but if the number of people posting to LinkedIn Answers about this problem is any indication, it can be pretty maddening.

So, what should you do if you have two LinkedIn accounts? There’s no way to merge them, unfortunately. But here’s the next best thing you can do:

1. Decide which profile you want to keep moving forward. You’ll end up deleting the other profile (or, if you’re especially afflicted, profiles)–but not yet.

2. Export or otherwise record the names of connections from the profile you will NOT retain.

3. Determine which of these contacts are unduplicated among the contacts associated with the profile you’ll retain. Send all of the connections you want to keep a connection request from–and this is important–the profile you’ll retain moving forward. It’s worth taking the time to customize each of these requests to explain that you’re deleting an old account and you want to be sure to stay connected. If not, those you wish to connect with may assume they’re already connected to you and ignore the request.

4. Determine whether there is any other information you want to retain from the profiles that will ultimately be deleted–recommendations, summaries or position descriptions, for example, that might prove valuable sometime in the future. Again, there’s no way to merge this information into another profile, but you may want to have access to it for other uses (like this, for example).

5. Now you can delete the profile you’ll no longer retain, but make sure you delete the right one! 

Don’t know how to delete a LinkedIn profile? Watch for a post next Wednesday, or drop a note in the comments.

Is this move the “bomb”…or an abomination?

“Stick to the root beer floats…” by chuddlesworth on Flickr

Nic Hulting pointed me to this Mashable post about an ad agency using a “LinkedIn bomb” to acquire a new client. Here’s the gist of the story:

In April, everyone [at Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions] sent LinkedIn requests to A&W Restaurants President Kevin Bazner and Director of Marketing Sarah Blasi at the exact same time. The messages were all headed “Welcome to Lexington” because A&W had just moved its headquarters from Louisville after being spun off from Yum Brands.

The stunt was a shot in the dark. No one at the agency actually knew anyone at A&W. No one knew if the company was looking for a new ad agency. (It turns out they weren’t, really.) The LinkedIn Bomb got Cornett’s foot in the door, though. After several months of meetings and evaluations, the two companies are planning to announce on Tuesday that Cornett is A&W’s agency of record now.

Do I love this move, or do I hate it? A little of both actually:

Why I hate it

  • It seems way too aggressive
  • I’m a big believer in only connecting on LinkedIn with those you know
  • The fact that everyone at the agency just happened to have “individual stories about their personal relationships with A&W Restaurants” (as stated in the Mashable story) seems a little contrived

Why I love it

  • No one has done it before, at least to my knowledge
  • Well, it worked

What’s your opinion? Is this a great move by the folks at Cornett, or do you think it’s taking things to far–despite the fact that it worked?

What’s the difference between sharing a status update with “LinkedIn” vs. “Connections”?

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how to incorporate a link into a LinkedIn status update in the new profile design. In the interim, I was asked a question: what’s the difference between sharing a status update with “LinkedIn” vs. sharing it with “Connections”?

status choices

It’s actually a lot simpler than it seems. If you select “LinkedIn,” the update will be available to everyone in your extended network including your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections. Select “connections” and the update will be displayed only to your 1st degree connections. What happens if you select “LinkedIn + Twitter”? Well, it will be shared with your extended network on LinkedIn and your Twitter followers (assuming you have a Twitter account, of course).

As always, if you have any questions, drop a note in the comments.

Connect LinkedIn and SlideShare to automatically share presentations with connections

Before the launch of the new LinkedIn profile, plugging the SlideShare application into your profile made it easy to share presentations with your connections. Well, applications are no more, having been replaced with the ability to add media to your profile.

It’s still possible, however, to automatically share each of your SlideShare uploads with your connections as status updates. You can even automatically share as status updates SlideShare presentations from others that you favorite. This presentation from LinkedIn gives a brief overview:

If you want a presentation to be seen on your profile, you’ll still have to add it as a media file, but syncing LinkedIn and SlideShare will eliminate a couple steps when making your presentations available to your connections.

Breaking news: LinkedIn to retire Answers

On January 31st, LinkedIn will retire its Q & A portal, Answers. This change comes at a time when LinkedIn is revamping the profile design and follows the demise of other LinkedIn features like Events and Applications.

This is one I definitely saw coming. Back in December, over on my other blog, Content, I considered whether LinkedIn’s acquisition of Quora might mean the end of Answers. As I mentioned in that post, I asked that question of LinkedIn, and here’s what they said:

answers answer

Well, after getting the new profile, I noticed that the Answers module hadn’t carried over. Perplexed, I asked LinkedIn to explain whether Answers would in fact be integrated in the new profile design or if it was going away. I asked specifically about this module that used to appear on profiles that tracked your activity on Answers and recognized you for “best” or good answers:

best answers

They said:

LinkedIn answers are integrated with new profile design and also there are lot of features and applications are removed. However, please know that we are continually developing product features to enhance your LinkedIn experience. Periodically, enhancements are tested on a limited scale before doing a full scale release to the entire membership.

That made the waters even muddier, so I persisted in seeking a clear answer about Answers. I asked: “Can you explain how they’re integrated on the new profile?…I just don’t see the module that used to appear on the profile.” Well, just this morning I got a very clear answer. An email from LinkedIn’s customer support said:

As of January 31, 2013, the LinkedIn Answers feature will be retired from LinkedIn. We’ll be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn.

Now, do I think LinkedIn was being evasive? Not at all. I believe there are a lot of changes happening at LinkedIn and the reps who I was talking to probably either couldn’t give a clear answer or didn’t have enough information to do so. In addition, as I said when LinkedIn retired EventsI applaud them for having the discipline to cut features and not just continue to add them.

If this change isn’t welcome news, there are other ways to ask questions of your network: in a status update, in Groups, and via Polls. And there’s a lesson this for all of us: don’t be too dependent upon any one feature, plugin, or widget. We can’t control whether or not they remain part of our profiles. All we can do is use a few tools well and make changes as LinkedIn evolves.

Have any questions about Answers–or anything else? Drop a note in the comments.

When can you personalize a LinkedIn connection request?

Yesterday, I discussed why it’s so important to customize LinkedIn connection requests sent to those you don’t know well. As I mentioned in that post:

[I]t’s becoming less likely they’ll accept a request without considering its value. When your connection request arrives, then, they only take a few seconds before deciding whether to accept or ignore. And all they have to go on is what you tell them in the connection request.

Even if you’re disciplined in customizing requests when necessary, however, there’s a catch: the only opportunity to do so is when sending an invitation from the “desktop” version of LinkedIn and clicking on the “connect” button to the lower left of the user’s photo.

Want to personalize a connection request? Look for the blue "Connect" button.

Want to personalize a connection request? Look for the blue “Connect” button.

Now, when can’t you personalize a connection request? Under most other circumstances, including:

  • From the “add connections” page
  • From the “People You May Know” module
  • From any LinkedIn mobile app
  • With invitations sent after importing a contact list and those sent where you enter the individual’s email address

As a result, when seeking to connect with those where the relationship is more tenuous, you may want to wait until you can access the full LinkedIn site. It will take a little more time, but it’s more likely to result in the request being accepted.

Why it’s critical to customize a LinkedIn connection request

I wrote this post about a year ago and, for the most part, it’s just as true today. One thing that’s changed, however, is that it can be a little difficult to understand when you can and can’t customize a connection request. I’ll shed some light on that tomorrow.

For most of your LinkedIn connection requests, the default script simply isn’t good enough.

I received two LinkedIn connection requests yesterday. One was from someone I didn’t know who used the default LinkedIn connection request script (“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”). The other was also from someone I didn’t know who included specific information about who he is and why he wanted to connect.

Want to guess which one I accepted and which I ignored?

Sometimes–like when you work with someone every day or you’ve known them for years–the default LinkedIn script is perfectly adequate to get you connected. In those cases, you don’t need to explain the relationship or clarify why the connection request would benefit either party. If the relationship is more tenuous, however, it’s important to personalize the connection request so the other party has a sense of how they know you or why they may want to connect with you. By relying on the default script, you’re assuming the person will accept your connection request out of good faith or will take the time to understand who you are or how you’re connected. As social media consumes more of our time, however, that’s not likely to happen.

Many LinkedIn users, you see, understand the value of connecting instead of just collecting, and it’s becoming less likely they’ll accept a request without considering its value. When your connection request arrives, then, they only take a few seconds before deciding whether to accept or ignore. And all they have to go on is what you tell them in the connection request.

Most defaults–most things that are one size fits all, that is–aren’t nearly as good as things that are customized. This definitely applies to LinkedIn connection requests. Take the time to personalize your connection requests, and you’re much more likely to have the chance to turn those tenuous relationships into something more substantial.