Monday, November 15, 2010

Three Smart LinkedIn Tips for Professionals

Commitment, commitment, commitment.

Read On:
Don’t worry this is not going to be another one of the typical social media posts written by another one of the self proclaimed, online social media gurus. Instead this is a post written by a networking junkie who has failed numerous 12 step programs. I developed my networking habit pre-Web 2.0. Thanks to LinkedIn, my habit has gotten worse.

LinkedIn is a great networking tool that supplements my classic networking modus operandi. The one common principle that pertains to whether I network online or offline, I made the commitment early on. I established a goal to be a long-term sustainable networker who values relationships. So the three smart LinkedIn tips I would like to share are: commitment, commitment, commitment.


· Once you start, stay committed.
Great networks are not built overnight.

· Once you start because you need to find a job, when you land the job, stay committed. In this turbulent economy, chances are you might get fired again, and again, and ……….

· Once you start because you are looking for a business opportunity that does not yield immediate results, stay committed. One of my best business opportunities surfaced after ten years over a cup of coffee because I was committed and remained connected to the individual who looked me in the eye and said: “You are right, I need a business plan.”

· Once you start participating in a discussion group because you read a whitepaper on How to Use LinkedIn for Business, stay committed. Maybe you will not truly engage/connect with anyone, but worse case you will learn that LinkedIn discussion groups are a great place to learn. The same applies to participating in Q&A.

· If you read a blog about how important it is to engage with people you connect with via LinkedIn, stay committed. Authentic engagement takes time to cultivate.

In closing, I have met my fair share of networkers in my lifetime, but I have only met a handful of great networkers. What makes them great? They make the commitment!


  1. I think commitment to LinkedIn (or any social network) comes from seeing it be effective in whatever your objective. If you join LinkedIn to find a job, you need to change your objective once you find one, or else you won't stay on. Some get it...and some don't. Be one who does.

  2. A good reminder Jim, I have been guilty as well of losing a bit of focus lately after finding a new job, using getting up to speed in the new role as an excuse to not network elsewhere (like, with you for instance). Seems year-end is always a good time to put a little investment in the activity and commit to doing better next year.

  3. Jim,you're so right. Whether one wishes to lose weight, get a better job, or network successfully, commitment is required. Social media, especially, is a process...and one that can move slowly, in some cases. You won't build a profile today and have $1 mil in sales next week. Or even next year! I think it was Tony Robbins who remarked that half the battle in achieving success is just 'showing up'. So many of us half-start objectives and jump ship at the first sign of trouble. No medium has ever been as effective as social networking, but it does require that you show up, every day.

  4. If I can add to your point about doing it right: Networking is about cultivating relationships which means being generous first. Give before you get. I'm tired of those who keep wanting without having first established any sort of basis on why someone should even care.

  5. Well put! LinkedIn is like any network, it's what you make of it. Sitting back and waiting for it to bring you results isn't the way.

  6. Thank you for your comments. Interesting, we all agree that to be a good networker it takes commitment. I also find it interesting, that all the comments were from people in my community that are in the plus 35 crowd. I apologize, just a marketing geek's observation.

  7. Jim, I think perhaps it took many of us to be about 35 to truly understand the impact of one's network in one's life...just saying! :-)

  8. I love these tips! One thing that I recently learned from a LinkedIn book I read was the idea of connecting with anyone on LinkedIn who wants to connect with me. At first I thought, "why would I want to connect with someone I didn't know?" But through the advanced search and the idea of "Paying it Forward" - I've come to be more open to who I connect with. Now I'll connect with someone, see they have a specific need, and connect them with someone else. Although I'm connect with *everyone*, I do connect more often now.

  9. Hi Jimmy,

    As usual your post is right on the money.

    I still have a lot more to do in terms of raising my activity level within the groups I have joined, getting back into answering questions in the Q&A arena on a regular basis, and reaching out more to add value to my direct connections, but I look on this aspect as a long term investment which will pay off in spades.

    Thanks for your post which has reminded me that commitment without consistent action will not get me the outcomes I want.



  10. Rebekah, Matt and Daniel:

    Thank you each for your comments. Rebekah - same here. I wish someone taught me the benefits of networking back in school. Thanks to geometric progression I would really be deep at this point. Matt: Good point, but I am still select when it comes to connecting. For me it still takes enagagement since I believe in Dunbar's 148.7 factor. However, thanks to engagement I have had the good fortune to connect with you and Rebekah on the Left Coast and Daniel all the way on the other side of the world. As I said, it takes commiment. In closing, thank you all for your readership.

  11. Jim,

    Great points made to using LinkedIn, and defining your goal, and jumping in and using the medium.

    If I may add something that goes with the saying, "It's not what you say, but HOW you say it." LinkedIn is a great tool and heck, it's how we came to be connected, right? :)

    But, don't forget the value of using keyword phrases that you want to align with your brand in your posts. Also, searching for people to connect with, you will probably use keyword phrases to search for connections in a certain industry or company.

    I think it's great that we have access to such powerful social tools on the internet that get us connected and offer us ways to meet others, but unless we use the right words, too, we'll never be found. If a tree falls...

    Thanks for your thought-inspiring post once again.

  12. Good tips, Jim. And I agree with what Jackie mentioned above - when approaching any social networking site, or any networking for that matter, the first goal you should have is to figure out how you can be of help to others, no matter how small. Remember that many others are doing the same and will gladly help someone who is willing to put others before themselves.

  13. Hi Jim,
    Great advice for someone who is just recognizing the power of networking. I always learn something from your thoughtful posts. Thank you, Jeff

  14. In the words of the great Mr. Matorin:


  15. Tanveer, Jeff, Sara: Thank you all for your comments. Since I know each one of your personally, Jeff the longest, Tanveer and Sara via LinkedIn in 2010, you all have one thing in common that does make for a great networker - you people value sustainable relationships, thus are very giving people, not one and out like most people that network these days. Again, thank you for your readership.

  16. Fantastic post!

    It seems like an obvious statement that networking is about commitment – but it is harder than it sounds. Making the commitment to stay in contact with those you network with does require a lot of effort.