Blogger sinks SWAM, encourages caution with LinkedIn Groups

Earlier this month, Mark Williams–a.k.a. “Mr. LinkedIn”–shared a post that’s worth reading if you’re a member of any LinkedIn Groups. Williams’ post, “The Great LinkedIn SWAM!” discusses the perils of site-wide auto moderation, which LinkedIn put into place earlier this year. In short, the policy, designed to penalize habitual spammers, has affected many innocent users. As Williams explains, “I have heard countless examples of professional, credible individuals who have never even considered spamming anyone getting hit by SWAM.” Read Williams’ post to learn more, but in the meantime, be extra careful with what you share via Groups–and in selecting which Groups to join in the first place.

Looking for a job? This webinar may help.

job seeker webinar

Did you know that LinkedIn offers an ongoing series of webinars designed exclusively for job seekers? The next one is scheduled for May 22 at 12 noon EST (9 a.m. PDT). Even if you can’t make that time, signing up gives you access to the slides and a recording of the webinar. It’s a great way to get some free advice that just may help you find your next career opportunity.

LinkedIn introduces simplified menus

LinkedIn has introduced a change that I hinted at in a post a few weeks back: a slimmed down main menu and alternate ways of navigating the site from the home page. This video breaks it down in detail:

It’s all about simplification–and, of course, making LinkedIn a little more sticky so users spend more time on the site. If you’re not already seeing these changes when you log into LinkedIn, you will within the next month.

How to use LinkedIn Contacts as a CRM

Last week, I received access to LinkedIn Contacts, the new app designed to bring together all your connections in one place. One of my favorite things about LinkedIn Contacts so far is the opportunity to use it as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool of sorts. Here’s an example:

teeple

See the area circled above? That’s where you can store information, visible only to you, that will help you manage your relationships. You can add…

  • note of any kind–everything from the name of a connection’s spouse to the best time to call him or her.
  • A reminder about an upcoming appointment or date to remember–the connection’s birthday, perhaps, or an upcoming meeting. (One note: I tested this last week and it had a couple serious flaws, like attributing the reminder to the wrong connection and providing no conspicuous prompt to recall the reminder. I think this one’s a work in progress, at best.)
  • Details about how you met, which may come in handy if you want to connect with him or her in the future and need a conversation starter.
  • A tag to categorize the connection. This has existed on LinkedIn for quite some time, but it’s now incorporated into Contacts.

If you’re part of a large organization where multiple people interact with the same person, LinkedIn Contacts won’t likely replace your existing CRM. If you’re a one-person shop, however, or responsible for one-to-one relationships, LinkedIn Contacts might just be a good place to store all those little details that go a long way toward making your relationships even stronger.

Two upcoming opportunities to learn more about LinkedIn

In the coming months, I’ll be teaching my foundational LinkedIn courses at Indiana Data Center. See below for details, or contact me to learn more.

LinkedIn 101: The Fundamentals
Everyone knows that relationships are the key to success in business. But how can you manage those relationships when you have so many priorities competing for your time and attention? That’s where LinkedIn comes in. In this two-hour session, you’ll learn how to use LinkedIn to enhance the relationships most likely to benefit you and your business. You’ll leave understanding how to use LinkedIn well beyond just making connections and updating your profile. Attendance at the LinkedIn 102 class (see below) is encouraged, but not required.

Tuesday, June 4, 6 – 8 p.m.
Indiana Data Center
$45/person
Register here

LinkedIn 102: Advanced Tips & Strategies
For many business professionals, LinkedIn has more untapped potential than any other social media tool. The challenge is understanding everything that’s available and deciding which features are most likely to help you reach your goals. This two-hour session is designed to ensure that you use LinkedIn productively, efficiently, and with a clear focus on results. Attendees will receive an outline for putting together aLinkedIn strategy that will guide them as they apply the lessons from this session. Attendance at the LinkedIn 101 class (see above) is encouraged, but not required.

Tuesday, June 18, 6 – 8 p.m.
Indiana Data Center
$45/person
Register here

A first-hand look at LinkedIn Contacts: a guest post from Jon Dize

dizeToday’s post is from Jon Dize, Founder of NSDA North Street Development Advisors. Jon is an experienced fundraising consultant who helps organizations grow through donor relationships. In Jon’s work, it’s all about people–and one of the tools that helps him manage that part of his business is the just-introduced LinkedIn Contacts application. Here’s Jon’s first-hand look at LinkedIn Contacts.

After reading Anthony’s post on April 29 on the new contact app created by LinkedIn, LinkedIn Contacts, I knew I just had to try it out. I have not yet been disappointed with what LinkedIn has offered this far, and I consider it my go-to location for all things connections, including phone, email, skill sets, etc.

After using is for the past two weeks, I can say that LinkedIn is an outstanding, easy-to-use contact system. After signing into LinkedIn Contacts with your LinkedIn username and password, you can view all of your LinkedIn connections in several filters, including alpha order, those you most recently connected with, or those you recently added to your connection list. You can even sort connections by the company they work at, by job titles, etc. (I had not realized how many non-profit executive directors I was connected to, for example.)

Another great feature: you can sync LinkedIn Contacts with a Gmail account, Yahoo contacts, Outlook, TripIt, with your existing Apple contacts, and even Anthony’s favorite app Evernote. After doing so, you will be able to view your to-do lists and daily calendars with direct links to the LinkedIn account of anyone you will be meeting or collaborating with. (This is actually quite interesting, as it also illustrates who you have not yet added to your connections.)

And perhaps the best features relate to its practical uses: search for a connection, find their contact information, and either send them an email, a LinkedIn message, or call them (if you are using the app on an iPhone) by touching one button. While their profile is open, the app will also display how long you have been connected, your shared connections, full profiles, any notes, etc. You can even search for people that you want to connect with.

One issue I usually have is keeping up with connections that change contact information. (I really loathe having to periodically purge my contact files.) By using the The LinkedIn Contacts app, however, I will always have my connections’ most up-to-date information (especially valuable for one guy I know that seems to change jobs every 4-6 months.)

I am actually starting to prefer the LinkedIn Contacts app over the actual LinkedIn app now, with the speed that I am able to get contact information and the absence of any news or updates.

My only caveat: it is only an iPhone app right now: you can use it on the iPad, but it is not optimized for iPads. Yet. I suspect LinkedIn will change that soon.

But since my phone contract will allow me to upgrade to an iPhone in 19 days (who’s counting), this will not be an issue for me for long…

Quick Tip Tuesday: What’s the difference between a LinkedIn status update “like,” “comment,” and “share”?

like comment share

There are three different ways to interact with a status update shared by another LinkedIn user. Here’s a look at how each of the three is different.

  • Clicking “like” is a simple way to say you agree with, or find value in, a connection’s update. When you click “like,” anyone who views that user’s status update will see that you “liked” it, and your activity stream will show that you “liked” it as well.
  • Adding a “comment” is a little more substantive. That means you have something to say that adds to what your connection posted. In effect, you’re continuing the conversation. One note: if your comment includes a link to a webpage, it will not be hyperlinked* (anyone wanting to visit the link would have to copy and paste in into their browser’s address field). As with “likes,” anyone who views that user’s status update will see that you commented, and your activity stream will also show that you commented.
  • Clicking “share” gives you the opportunity to repost another user’s update  as your own status message. This is where things get tricky, however: if the user’s status update doesn’t contain a link. you would be “sharing” his/her status update itself and have the opportunity to add your own comment. Here’s an example:

share just status

If the user’s status update does include a link, however, you’re just given the opportunity to share the link–not the comment that goes with it–and add your own thoughts. Here’s a look at what happens when you click to “share” a status update with a link, with the original status update on the left and the box that prompts you to share on the right:

share with link

As you can see, there’s no mention of Jason, the person who originated the post, or his status update that accompanied the link (“Keeping an eye on this … interesting – Target links Facebook with discounts”). In effect, you end up starting a new conversation. Of course, you could tag the person who originally posted the link if you want to acknowledge where you found it or invite him or her to share a thought.

One last thing about shares: as you can see in the examples above, you can simultaneously share  on Twitter the status update/link you’re reposting.

If you have any questions or anything you’d like to share, just drop a note in the comments below.

*I’ll bet that LinkedIn’s working on this as we speak, if they can find a way to limit link-baiting and other link abuse.

“Introducing the New LinkedIn” scheduled for May 21

NEW LinkedIn

On Tuesday, May 21, I’ll present “Introducing the New LinkedIn” at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. I’ll review some of the recent changes to LinkedIn and discuss some of the new opportunities available to LinkedIn users as a result of these changes. Registration is just $10, and all proceeds benefit Cancer Services. I hope to see you there!

“Introducing the New LinkedIn”
Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Register here

This month’s Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly column: What’s new on LinkedIn?

Every month, I write a column about social media for the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly. This month, I’m sharing a round-up of some of the most significant changes introduced by LinkedIn in recent months.

What’s new on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has long been considered somewhat drab and gray in the otherwise colorful world of social media. During the past couple of years, however, LinkedIn has been shaking things up, innovating and adding features at an impressive rate. The changes are the result of several factors, including LinkedIn’s status as a publicly traded company and the rapid growth of its membership, which surpassed 200 million earlier this year. Here’s a look at what’s new:

A revamped homepage design. The LinkedIn homepage is more visually appealing. A news module called LinkedIn Today is at the center, and notifications of new messages and activity relevant to user profiles have been added as well. In addition, the homepage menu is now “locked” at the top of the screen so it remains visible even as you scroll down the page. The result is that it’s easier — and therefore more likely — that users will navigate to other parts of LinkedIn before leaving the site.

Enhanced company pages. Company pages, which allow businesses to have a presence on LinkedIn apart from their employees’ profiles, have been revamped substantially. Companies can post status updates, add a large profile image and develop specific pages for individual products and services. The result is an increased opportunity for businesses to promote themselves and build relationships with LinkedIn users directly.

Endorsements. Endorsements are perhaps the most controversial new feature on LinkedIn. Endorsements allow LinkedIn users to recognize each other for specific job skills and attributes. One reason endorsements have generated so much conversation is that they compete somewhat with a long-standing and generally well-regarded LinkedIn feature called “recommendations.” A common complaint is that where recommendations require some thought, endorsements can be made with little effort and with no context provided for why the endorsement was given. Endorsements are likely here to stay, however, because they are quantifiable, meaning that LinkedIn can glean actionable data from them.

Several well respected "influencers" are now sharing original content on LinkedIn.

Several well respected “influencers” are now sharing original content on LinkedIn.

Original content from “influencers.” LinkedIn is making significant inroads into becoming a content portal. One example is the addition of original content written by influencers like President Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington and Tony Robbins. When LinkedIn users “follow” these influencers, they get access to content created exclusively for LinkedIn that focuses on the influencers’ industries or areas of expertise.

Tagging in status updates. Facebook and Twitter users have grown accustomed to “tagging” their connections in status updates, which in effect includes them in the conversation. This feature now is available on LinkedIn as well, filling a void that made LinkedIn appear to be a little behind the times.

Redesigned user profiles. If you haven’t seen the new LinkedIn user profile design, you’ll be in for a surprise. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has described the new profile as “one of the biggest changes to a LinkedIn pillar product in the company’s history,” and he’s not exaggerating. User photos are significantly larger. An activity module displays the most recent actions taken by the user on LinkedIn, which makes the profile more dynamic and current. The background section now includes logos next to the companies listed in the “experience” section, and users can add media — such as presentations, videos, or white papers — to their profiles.

In addition, users see a visual representation of where their connections, groups, education, work history, and skills and expertise intersect, and have the ability to see how their connections are distributed by employer, industry and location.

Finally, LinkedIn has added new modules like patents, publications, and volunteering and causes to allow users to provide depth in areas important to them. Altogether, it’s a much more robust opportunity to tell your story as a professional.

As you navigate through the new LinkedIn, it’s worth remembering the motivation behind these changes. LinkedIn is hoping you’ll spend more time on the site so it can increase advertising revenue and sell more premium memberships. As a result, you should expect even more changes in the future as LinkedIn learns what keeps us engaged — and what doesn’t.

If you’d like to learn more about these changes, join me for “Introducing the New LinkedIn” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 21 at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, located at 6316 Mutual Drive in Fort Wayne. Registration is required, with all proceeds benefitting Cancer Services. To sign up, visit http://csnism2013-2-eorg.eventbrite.com or email me at ajjuliano@gmail.com.

LinkedIn introduces new, less-lame subject lines for connection request emails

It’s amazing how a little tweak can make a huge difference in getting your attention.

I’d gotten so use to seeing the ultra-lame-o default, un-personalized LinkedIn connection request that I couldn’t help but notice one I received last week that came with this email subject line:

Anthony, stay in touch with me on LinkedIn

And then Monday night, a different one:

Anthony, please add me to your LinkedIn network

The funny thing is, this wasn’t initiated by the member making the request; it was initiated by LinkedIn.

What appears to be at play here is an attempt by LinkedIn to make up for its members’ ignorance/laziness. If those making a connection request don’t know to, or aren’t willing to, personalize their connection requests, LinkedIn is giving them a little help with subject lines that feel more personalized.

Pretty sneaky, LinkedIn…maybe just sneaky enough to make those generic connection requests a little more likely to be accepted.