July 8, 2008

How can Entrepreneurs use LinkedIn effectively ?

Have been busy in work resulting in a short downtime on my blog sad Today, I received an email from one of my blog readers who is connected with me on LinkedIn and just wanted to know about how I reached 500+ connections.I just thought it would be great to share some of my tips; which would also help me to look back and check whether I am using this great tool to the fullest !!!

Below are my Ten tips [starting with my so called own MANTRAS] which makes my LinkedIn usage effective and helpful.

My Own Mantras

1. Target relevant people:
Many of us who are part of startups would be a part of many mailing lists like OpenCoffeeClub, Startup Specialists etc. This would be the best place to build your network.What I do is "While reading the email of a person on the list, if I get a feeling that it would be useful[as well as relevant] to connect with that person , than I send the invitation" and I am sure that there are lot of smart people around on such lists....Figure them out and add them !!!

2. Be Specific and Personal:
Assuming you follow point(1), you feel that a person X would add value to your network and you would like to add him. What next "Send an invitation" smile [check the image below and the part in Red Color which mentions PERSONAL !!! ]

When you are meeting a person for the first time, it is very important to introduce and specify "WHY" his addition to your network and your addition to his network would be very much useful.Remember Permission Marketing by Seth Godin - "The privilege of marketing to people who are relevant to you", the same principle applies here as well.

It takes 2-3 minutes to be specific but it is indeed helpful. An improved example invitation below:

3. Build a useful conversation and than get the work done :
In case you are connecting with a USEFUL but unknown person, make sure that once you are connected to him/her; you know more about the contact. Write a "Thanks" reply and try to know as much as you can about him/her.
Once you are well acquainted , speak up and let him/her know the NOT SO OBVIOUS reason for the invitation.

4. Group your contacts:
Once you have multiple number of contacts; it may seem difficult to remember WHO,WHY & WHERE of a particular contact.Hence, on a regular basis ; export your contact list into .xls/.csv/other format and align the contacts in proper categories like Friends, Colleagues, Unconferences, Startups etc. to make your search simpler and faster !!!

The Obvious Mantras

1. Be an Open Networker:
The start is always difficult and if you are a waiting for your first connection, than this should be the first step. Just include your email-id in the Last Name field in your Profile page eg. Himanshu Sheth(himanshu.sheth@gmail.com) . This would give an impression that you are open to connect with anyone [with an obvious filter on whether the invitation would be relevant or not].

2. Put relevant keywords:
The difference between "S/W" and "Software" is huge.If you are an engineer and someone searches for Software, profiles tagged with S/W would be filtered out....So, just like coming on Google Search is important, being in relevant LinkedIn searches is important to increase your network.

3. Attach personal photograph:
Imagine being at a conference where you might have many of your new & yet Unknown LinkedIn connections, so "How would they identify you? " ......In such cases, personal photograph on your profile page would be very much helpful.This may also help you reconnect with your very old colleagues.

4. Use LinkedIn badge:
If you have a blog/website, do not forget to use your LinkedIn badge.Many times, the Blog name is not so obvious eg. ThoughtsPrevail is just a random name and does not convey that "Himanshu Sheth" writes that blog [Though smart people would always google for it smile ]

5. Recommend relevant people:
Always try to write Recommendations for people ; who you feel are worth to be recommended.Many people read the recommendations written for/by a person and a recommendation can really add value to the recommender's profile [for his openness] and the recommended person[for the great work that (s)he might have done].This indirectly makes searching for Smart people on LinkedIn easier.

6. Ask and Answer relevant questions:
"Q&A section of LinkedIn" provides an excellent platform to gain & share knowledge, not to forget adds lot of Stars to your profile with the golden word - EXPERTISE.

If you have some more relevant inputs, do let me know and I would add them in the Reader Contribution section.

Reader Contribution:
Ramjee Ganti - Guy Kawasaki on Ten Ways to use Linkedin

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At Jul 11, 2008, 5:09:00 AM , Blogger Ramjee said...

in addition to all you said, this post by Guy Kawasaki is very useful.


At Jul 11, 2008, 5:29:00 AM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

Thanks very much for the comment.I have added the same in the "Reader Contribution" section.

-Himanshu Sheth

At Jul 12, 2008, 12:09:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Jul 12, 2008, 11:47:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this information.Few of the points were definitely being missed and this would definitely help to use LinkedIn as an effective tool.

At Jul 13, 2008, 10:10:00 PM , Anonymous Recent Trends in Human Resources said...

Hey Himanshu,

You have a great space here. I am an avid networker and use linked in as a tool for hiring the best talent from the industry.

I am able to connect with the decision makers of the organizations and in turn they further help me in generating references. I got to meet and know so many people who are unaware of linked in and they thank me for introducing them to such a wonderful platform.

Trends in Human Resources

At Jul 14, 2008, 6:03:00 AM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

Thanks for the comment.True,many of these are basic points but my intention was to highlight the basic points only.

I see many guys not sending targeted LinkedIn invitations and hence, I decided to write this article :)

-Himanshu Sheth

At Jul 14, 2008, 10:42:00 PM , Blogger Alok said...

This can be a starting point for many and I see some really good points you have mentioned that we should remember while using linkedin.

At Jul 15, 2008, 1:42:00 PM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

@Trends in Human Resources:
Thanks for the comment.True, sites like LinkedIn and Xing have entered the new era of Web 2.0 Hiring methods.It is a great tool which enables us to find NICHE people unlike job sites where the main focus is on QUANTITY.

-Himanshu Sheth

At Jul 15, 2008, 1:44:00 PM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

Thanks very much for the appreciation.These are some points which should be made a habit if we want to make the FULLEST use of a great tool like LinkedIn :)

-Himanshu Sheth


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