LinkedIn Celebrates 8 Years and 100 Million Members

LinkedIn celebrates it’s 8th birthday May 2011. The company has grown since LinkedIn started out in co-founder Reid Hoffman’s living room in 2002. LinkedIn says their official launch date was May 5, 2003.

LinkedIn is now an important business networking tool and sales prospecting tool. When I teach my two hour “LinkedIn for Business” seminars, students are surprised by the features and functions within LinkedIn which they we not aware of. Almost all students recommend a longer or follow up session.

LinkedIn becomes more powerful as a networking and sales tool as your network grows. When I first joined LinkedIn, I found it was not useful to me. Once I began to connect with others, I was able to unleash the full potential.

LinkedIn social_linkedin_button_blue_128

LinkedIn

It is not uncommon for me to get calls from prospects who find me in LinkedIn then call to inquiry about working with me. They read my posts and watch my contributions and become interested. Then they view my accomplishments and recommendations on my LinkedIn profile. This is “attraction marketing” working for me.

Keith Warrick, fellow BDPA LinkedIn group member told us how to find out what member number you are when you joined LinkedIn. Keith was a fairly early adopter of LinkedIn, and member #1,551,555.

I am member #2,303,036, joining on April 1, 2005. Thanks for this tip, Keith.

To find out your member number, click on PROFILE and View My Profile. In the URL address, you will find a number after id – that is your member number.

What member number are you out of 100 million current LinkedIn members?

Map Your Connections with LinkedIn Inmaps

LinkedIn recently introduced a feature called InMaps which produces a visual representation of your connections. The map color codes your connections using an algorithm. On the bottom of the page, there is a blank legend.

It is up to the LinkedIn member to determine what connection these contacts have in common and fill in the color coded legend. The common thread could be a former employer, family or industry.

LI my networks stats

Checking out my LinkedIn profile InMap I got this message, ”

Wow! That’s one large network.

The good news: you’ve got an impressively large network. The bad news: we can’t currently create a map from so many connections. Stay tuned – we’re working to increase the limit!”

You can read more about InMaps on LinkedIn’s blog. Check out your profile map on LinkedIn. What common connections did you find?

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Social Networks Are The Newest Recruiting Tool

I just read an article in Forbes that said social networks are the newest recruiting tool.

Here are a couple of LinkedIn statistics from the article:
* used by 80% of companies recruiting through the social Web.
* 90% of companies that recruit through social networks have successfully found candidates on LinkedIn.

I talk with recruiters and hiring managers every week who tell me the same thing. They research candidates online and what they find impacts their decision to follow up. They do not hire those who have negative comments or pictures on their profile.

Just as interesting, they do not hire people without a social networking presence either. They assume the candidate who is not online is “behind the times”, “out of touch”, “just not current”. Who wants to hire someone like this?

I am so passionate about the topic, so I had to write this book, Social Networking Throughout Your Career: What’s All the Buzz About? I go way beyond the basics in the book. My goal was to answer some of the deeper, more specific questions I’m asked.

What would you say to someone who asked you “Why should I join LinkedIn?”

LinkedIn Profile Photo

Does your LinkedIn profile have a photo? People remember faces and your profile photo helps others recognize and remember you.

Did you ever attend a networking event then get an email from someone you met there several days later. When a photo accompanies the name, we are more likely to recall meeting the contact.

Here are best practices for choosing a LinkedIn profile photo:

  • Photo should be high enough resolution so as to not look grainy
  • Project a professional image
  • Close up image so you can be recognized
  • Image of you, not a group of people
  • Photo of a person not a logo or graphic
  • In good taste and not offensive according to generally accepted standards
  • Upload only images you have rights to use

LinkedIn may remove your photo if they consider your image inappropriate. Follow the best practices above and  you have no need to worry.

Include a photo in your LinkedIn profile and put your best face forward.

LinkedIn Customized Profile URL

Did you know you can customize your LinkedIn profile URL? Every LinkedIn member can create a easily recognizable link directly to their profile in LinkedIn.

When you create a profile in LinkedIn, the system automatically generates a link to your profile. By default, this is a meaningless string of numbers and / or letters. I recommend Linkedin members edit this field and creating a custom URL for their profile.

Create your own LinkedIn customized profile URL

My custom profile URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/aprilmwilliams. Clicking on this link will take you directly to my profile page in LinkedIn.

Click on my custom URL http://www.linkedin.com/in/aprilmwilliams and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Members can customizable the last part of their URL or the segment after “in”.

http://www.linkedIn/in/<CUSTOMIZE>

Each LinkedIn member profile is unique. If you have a common name, you may have to be creative in your selection. Consider these options:

  • <FirstName LastName>
  • <FirstName Middle Name LastName>
  • <FirstName Middle Initial LastName>
  • Tag line: i.e., WorldsBestLawyer

Add your newly customized LinkedIn profile URL to your email signature and include it in your resume.

Enter a comment below and let us know your customized LinkedIn profile URL.

A Picture is Worth 1K Words

The classic saying says “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. Your online brand includes your picture, avatar or graphic representation. What does your profile picture say about you?

When you post on a blog or website, your picture helps to enforce your message. Do you want to project a professional image? Choose an avatar that complements your message in a professional manner.

You can create your own unique Gravatar image to follow you around from website to website appearing beside your name when you write a comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

Gravatar pluggins are available for WordPress blogs and other websites. You can learn more at the Gravatar website.

You can select different avatars to appear for each email address. Just log into Gravatar and set up your free account. Add each email address you use and confirm by clicking on the email you receive in that account. Log into Gravatar to upload your pictures and images. Select the image you choose for each email account you registered.

Post a comment here and let us see your Gravatar.

Myself
Creative Commons License photo credit: erikpaterson

Rock the World with your Online Presence book

Mike O’Neil knows how to with music and LinkedIn. I picked up new techniques on updating my profile while reading a promotional copy of the book. Mike and his co-author Lori Ruff weave the solid advice on building a strong LinkedIn profile with classic rock songs.

The book walks the reader through each element of a LinkedIn profile starting at the top. Chapter by chapter, you will learn how to maximize the law of attraction to let others find you online. Using screen shots, examples and tips, these authors start with strategy then get to the details. Mike and Lori focus on the hard tactics which make all the difference online.

Their tips on creating an attention getting LinkedIn profile headline include keyword search strategies, number of characters allowed (120) and using market test strategies.

The power of keywords is a feature often overlooked by LinkedIn users. Mike and Lori show you how to enter keywords in the best segments of your profile so they become searchable by others.

This book is about LinkedIn though there is references to integrate LinkedIn with other tools. The importance of status updates is discussed and links to Twitter updates as well. They discuss the recently added LinkedIn status functionality which allows an instant update to your linked Twitter account.

Their suggestions for giving and receiving professional recommendations are right on. With 3-5 sentences, you can get to the point and make your case. They show you how to make it easy for others to recommend your work.

Linkedin regularly changes the user interface or adds new features. To keep the book current, there is a website where updates and additional content are posted.

Check out this book if you are ready to dive in to create a LinkedIn profile that “Rocks the World.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Duplicate LinkedIn Profiles

Duplicate LinkedIn profiles are common. This can happen when you create a LinkedIn profile using one address then you receive another LinkedIn invitation to join through a different address. When you click on the link to the LinkedIn website, it does not recognize your email address and you are encouraged to create a profile.
ivan-walsh-linkedin-profile
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ivan Walsh

Why is this a problem? When you build connections and recommendations they are tied to a single profile. Currently, there is no way to merge two different profiles. They are each stand alone entities independent of one another.

Think of a customer or client who looks for you on LinkedIn. If they see two separate profiles, how will they know which one to connect with? The only way to resolve this is to delete one profile. When you do this, you will lose all your connections and recommendations on the deleted profile.

You can prevent this from occurring by updating your LinkedIn profile with all the email addresses you use.

Who is THAT?

Last week I met with Ross Anderson, Regional General Manager for Duke’s Waikiki Restaurants. During our talk, he called over his marketing team to introduce them to me. As he started the introductions, they interrupted him to say “We know April. She is one of our Twitter friends.”‘

April M. Williams

Here is one of April M. Williams profile photos

This instant recognition happened because they viewed my picture within Twitter messages over many months. Through multiple interactions, they felt they knew me.

Why is this so valuable? Because people buy from those they know, like and trust. “Buy” can mean purchasing products, services, referrals or hiring you as an employee.

I can share many similar stories like this where people commented on how easily they recognized me based on my online profile photos. Including a picture in your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other online networking sites helps others develop a bond with you before you meet in person.

I can also share stories of people who are surprised when they meet someone in person who looks very different from their online photo. Sometimes the pictures are several years old, several pounds ago or from back when they had a full head of hair.

A red flag seems to go up when the real person does not match their photo. Take a look at your online photos. If they are more than a year old, consider giving your online look an update.

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