Are You Still Linking In?

When LinkedIn started back in 2003, it was an effective networking tool for businesspeople. But lately, despite growing to include 830 million members worldwide, it’s become less useful as a tool to connect with colleagues and potential contacts. 

What happened? For starters, it’s been overrun with spammy advertising. In just one 24-hour period a few weeks back, I received seven messages from various dentists offering to clean my teeth. Seven messages! I’m all about good dental hygiene, but that’s a bit much. 

I’m also seeing more people on my page using LinkedIn the way they might use Facebook or another social media app — but is LinkedIn really the best place for posting your vacation photos or complaining about a neighbor? Let’s keep those interactions over on Instagram and Next Door, please. 

I can’t quit LinkedIn (remember those 830 million members?). But I am starting to use it — and my other social and professional apps — differently. And so should you. 

What’s your why? 

Before you hit “post,” think about why you’re posting. Is this a personal post, or a rant about your job? If so, move it over to Facebook or Instagram, or tweet it out instead. Make sure your LinkedIn posts offer useful content to your professional colleagues. 

Focus on the bio 

LinkedIn is still a great resource for gathering intel on potential clients, future colleagues and others with whom you interact professionally. I use it to find out where someone went to school or where they worked in the past — after all, it’s meant to help me find connections I wouldn’t otherwise uncover. That’s why I also make sure my own bio is up-to-date and full of details that show others I’m a person they want to work with. 

Forget about followers 

These days, everyone wants to collect followers.  While that’s fine for Twitter, it’s not how LinkedIn works. Focus on quality, not quantity, when it comes to followers. You want solid contacts in your corner — the people you can call on for work advice, referrals or references. You don’t need to keep track of high school buddies or neighbors on LinkedIn — and certainly not strangers who send you a connection request. 

Treat your LinkedIn account as part of your work life and update it accordingly. Let’s get it back to what it used to be — a virtual office space meant for collaboration and connections. 

by Melissa Mathews