How to be a LinkedIn Open Networker – Some Tips to Do it the Right Way
Being an Open Networker isn’t for everyone (read: To Be or Not to Be an Open Networker). In fact, LinkedIn’s stated policies still stand against the practice of indiscriminately growing your connections. This is in spite of the growing trend of people choosing to be open networkers and these same people usually tend to be LinkedIn’s greatest fans. Below are tips to grow your LinkedIn network with ease, tact and within LinkedIn’s own guidelines.
- Only invite other obvious open networkers and people you know. LinkedIn will restrict your profile when a total of five people hit “I don’t know [IDK] this user” in response to your invitation request. This number is over the life of your account. It is reached easier than you think (trust me). Should you ever find your account restricted because of this, you will have to send an I’m sorry, I won’t do this again, it was an accident email to customer service requesting your restriction be lifted. To avoid this hassle entirely, do not invite anyone you have a doubt could IDK you. If you would like to invite a regular user, someone who has not identified themselves as an open networker (described below), try sending them a message first. You can usually send messages to users who are in the same group or you can use one of your limited InMails. Tip: if they’re not in a group you belong to, join one of theirs. After you’ve established a rapport as them if they’d like to connect.
- Let people know you’re an open networker subtly so other open networkers can find you. Join the largest open networking groups on LinkedIn. By joining these groups and just as importantly displaying the group badges on your profile, other members will identify you as an open networker and feel comfortable sending an invitation to you. TopLinked will send you a weekly InviteMe list which you can upload and mass invite a list of people who have identified themselves as networkers open to receiving invitations – by you. The list is sent freely to all members of the group but being on the list requires a monthly fee.
- TopLinked (80,400+ members at “press” time)
You will see many open networkers with the terms LION, TopLinked or something similar directly after their name in their profile designating their membership to one of the above mentioned . Although doing this clearly announces to those in the know that you will accept a random invitation to connect and that you will not “I don”t know them,” I do NOT recommend you do this. For two reasons: a) people who aren’t open networkers may be weary of these terms that they either know designate you as an open networker or they don’t know what it means and think you belong to some _____ (insert their imagination) LinkedIn group. Either way they aren’t an open networker and you should strive to have some trusted connections – in the intended sense of the word trusted b) I read on another blog that LinkedIn will shut down your profile if they notice these designations. I doubt this true but for the very chance that it is, I wouldn’t do it. Keep it safe and stick to the globally recognized distinctions CPA, Phd, Dr and MBAs. If you have a certification that is meaningful to your field (like PMP) and you are on LinkedIn primarily to conduct business in that field, it would be appropriate to add that.
- Get invited, don’t invite. You do not have a never ending supply of invites. LinkedIn starts you out with 3000 invites. Right now that is the only thing that is certain. After you go through this initial set you can request an additional batch from LinkedIn customer service. I haven’t found any written policy and whether they will give you a set number of additional invites or even that they will. (so far I have gotten a batch of 500 additional invites with one request) To my knowledge LinkedIn doesn’t limited the number of invites you can receive and accept. To get invited, follow tip #2. To get invited by a large number of people and grow your connection base quickly, you can use OpenNetworker. For a small monthly fee ($9.95) this service will email your profile info to their entire member base. This gives you the opportunity to grow your network by thousands of connections. This is how most, if not all, of the most connected people (who aren’t widely known public figures) on LinkedIn have ammassed their connections and more specifically thousands of incoming invitations – which don’t count against your outbound invite limit.
- Control your email. Being an open networker will undoubtedly subject you to more email and communications. You’re reaching out to everyone for a purpose and you can expect your connections to advertise their purpose to you. You can’t eliminate all of the mail here are some tricks to keep your InMail (email within LinkedIn) and regular email in check.
- Set up an email just for use with LinkedIn and set this as your primary email address. You can then address any emails you get from being inevitably put on your contacts promotional mailing lists on your own convenience. I would recommend you still provide LinkedIn with any email address your contacts outside of LinkedIn may have for you a this will help people find you when trying to reconnect with you.
- Change your email notification settings to “No Email – Read messages on the website.” I have my notifications set so that I do receive external emails from people within the one group that I manage, WordPress D.C., just to be safe.
Settings (upper right) – - -> Email Notifications – - – > Receiving Mesages
- Filter out confirmation emails. If’ you’re inviting a ton of people, you’re going to get a ton of “So and So is now connected to you on LinkedIn” confirmation emails. In my example, I’ve set a filter in my gmail account to send all messages from connections@LinkedIn.com containing the words “has accepted your LinkedIn invitation” (just to be safe) and go straight to the trash. If you need any helps setting this up in Gmail, let me know.
- Do not use your connection list as your business mailing / pitch list. This should be self explanatory but I get the same emails from some irrelevant service or product pitch person biweekly. It is become almost worth my energy to romove those connections. I recently had a daughter of one of those guilty parties start sending me the same pitch doubling the number of emails I get for this one marketing scheme. I regress. Communicate with people in a context that is relevant to them. Looking for web design advice or a referral, email the web designers among your connections. Have a new mutli level marketing program? Email the connections that you know are into those things. Don’t email me.