As the platform continues to evolve and expand, LinkedIn is becoming more complicated. Unless you spend a considerable amount of time there, it may be difficult to keep up with some of the changes that have occurred, just over the last few months.
Here are answers to some of the questions I’ve fielded recently:
Q: Should I accept an invitation to connect from someone I don’t know?
A: That depends on your motivation for joining LinkedIn and participating in the first place. For years, I didn’t accept invitations to connect from people whom I didn’t know at least by name. I likewise wouldn’t extend an invitation to someone with whom I hadn’t exchanged emails or had a conversation.
Times have changed and I now own my business. As the chief marketer, salesperson, customer relations agent, account, HR professional and president of the company, I never know where my next lead or customer is going to come from. Even if I don’t earn a piece of business from a connection, I may well learn something from them – or from one of their connections. I now accept invitations to connect unless the sender’s profile looks spammy.
Q: Somehow I’ve managed to have several different profiles: can I merge them?
A: Yes, you can. Contact LinkedIn and they’ll merge your connections into one account. As of this writing, however, you won’t be able to move your recommendations or work history. Those details will need to be re-created manually.
Q: I’m interested in starting a Group: should members ask to join or should I keep enrollment open?
A: That depends on your motivation for initiating the Group in the first place. If your intention is to the use the Group to communicate with members of a fixed set of people where outside participation is unwelcome, close the Group to members only. If you’re looking to grow the Group and to engage its participants, leave enrollment open.
Several years ago, I was interested in joining a professional society, but reluctant to shell out the $400+ membership fee. I thought I could take the organization for a test drive by first joining their Group on LinkedIn. My request to join was declined because I wasn’t a member of their association. Note that this wasn’t mentioned in their preliminary Group description. Exclusionary practices don’t work in social media. I didn’t join the Group – or their association. Some organizations may perceive their Groups as member benefits and I agree; however, you may be turning off prospective members if you don’t offer open enrollment.
Q: If I join LinkedIn, won’t my boss know I’m looking for another job?
A: No: LinkedIn is a professional networking site and not just a job search engine. Unless you update your status or post in a Group that you’re looking for a job, don’t assume that the cat’s out of the bag. Use LinkedIn to start networking your way to your next job.
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