A few years back a friend of mine who owns a marketing company told me about an upstart web site that was similar to MySpace but for business. He encouraged me to sign up and then invited me to Connect with him. I didn’t think much about it at the time and for almost a year didn’t even look at the site but as time went by more and more people were telling me about the benefits of LinkedIn. I decided to take the next step and completed my profile and ran my list of contacts to see who I knew that was using the site. I requested connections and was approved by most but ignored by some. Those that ignored me were competitors so I assumed they just didn’t want me view their customer base. I fiddled with the site off and on and then completely ignored it as I couldn’t figure out how to make it work for me.
With changes in the economy and business culture in general I saw a major shift in how people were conducting business and knew if my company was going to survive it must adapt to these changes. The most major change I saw was social
networking to obtain business leads and new business. I decided to firmly commit a full year trying to make LinkedIn work for me. I purchased LinkedIn’s upgrade and schedule myself a full day each Monday to see if I could get LinkedIn to work its magic. I scoured profiles and sent out invitations and was surprised that a majority would accept, but there were still those who ignored the invitation and a few that marked me with the LinkedIn kiss of death “I Don’t Know”. Too many “I don’t Knows” on your account and LinkedIn will penalize your account requiring you to know the person email address in order to invite them to connect.
This Monday while working my LinkedIn I got the dreaded notice that I was approaching my quota of “I Don’t Knows”. How is that possible, I thought, while I didn’t personally know a lot of the people I was inviting to connect they were people I wanted to have a connection with because there was a common business thread. I’m in the real estate business and they sold services that would be used by my firm, my vendors and even my customers. It seemed strange to me, but I started to look a people’s profiles closer and I saw something I hadn’t noticed before. There were a lot of people who make their living selling a product who didn’t put a phone number or an email address so that a prospective customer could contact them. That like lease a retail space, putting your sign up and then never unlocking the door and opening for business.
Are you LinkedIn? If you are, take a look at your profile as other will view it and determine if you are sending the message you’d like to be sending.