Sunday, 7 June 2009

Quick LinkedIn tip – connect with your colleagues

When joining LinkedIn, or updating your profile, one of the first things you should consider doing is to do a group email around your office asking if anyone else is on the network. My tip is that you then should all connect, and secondly, if you are apart of a small business and your company profile is not set up yet, do it. Once you are all connected, you will have access to each other's connections, which in turn becomes an internal resource – a giant rolodex if you like. This allows for a state of greater collaboration and connectedness.

I'm suggesting this because there have been so many times where I have gone to connect with someone from a certain company, knowing that I am already connected to an employee from there, and then see that the two are not connected. Now, I know in huge organisations, it might not be possible to have this level of connectedness, but I always wonder why the two employees aren't connected. Do they know each other? Do they communicate regularly? Do they like each each other? Who should I contact? Is it due to hierarchical reasons that they aren't connected? Have they just been primitive in their people search?

After every new connection, LinkedIn makes a suggestion on who to connect to next and this often covers profiles with the same company listed, so the level of transparency is there – it's just waiting to be taken advantage of.

The use of social media for personal or corporate reasons needs to be strategised by all businesses. Connected employees who display a consistent message allows for a more thorough branding of a company.

So, if you are a CEO or MD, connect to your inferiors, and if you are a budding account executive and see your boss on the network, be bold and send through a request. LinkedIn doesn't have to been about the external promotion only – it could help you get the internal exposure to bring you over the line when next considered for a more senior role.


  1. Hey Kate,

    It's great when something so simple is so accurate - nice points.

    LinkedIn could be an invaluable tool for business and employees if used well. Some good tips. Unfortunately as you point out the trend thus far isn't exactly so.


  2. Here's an alternative suggestion - perhaps people don't join LinkedIn to participate in a hive mind of their current co-workers. And perhaps they are not interested in helping their employer streamline their branding.

    Instead, perhaps people use LinkedIn to create a professional profile independent of where they currently happen to be working. Maybe they're using LinkedIn to scout for a new job and they don't want their boss knowing this.

    And perhaps they don't want to spend lots of time and cultural capital building professional networks, only to be forced to share them with every lazy schmo they work with.

  3. @Mel... true true. I actually feel sorry for those people though. Sorry, that they aren't currently where they want to be and sorry that they don't work with people they can trust and be open with. Perhaps I've had and eaten too much cake in my experience?

    On another note, I know a lot of entrepreneurs so building the company is as important as building their own profile.

    Basically, it comes down to why bother using something at 10% of its capacity? If one wants a new job without the investment of laboriously building online networks, then why not just check out SEEK or the like and save time? For me, LinkedIn is a long-term commitment – a celebration of connecting with and solidifying relationships with individuals with the possibility to collaborate on projects at a later date.

  4. Nice post Kate. I am on LinkedIn but haven’t “gotten around” to putting any real effort into it. But then the other day my boss asked me to look at setting up some groups around courses that we teach.

    Whenever I do something like this my first port of call is searching for information on the net. Surprisingly there is a real lack of it around companies and groups on LinkedIn. I even failed to get an email response form the LinkedIn blog?!?!?

    However, essentially this forced me to think harder about LinkedIn and it’s use rather than simply mashing up others work. It is coming a long nicely and I think it might have some value as a post on my blog.

    The paper looks at how to encourage staff to connect with students, how to use the groups and ultimately the value it will add to both the company and the customers.

    LinkedIn isn’t the sexy SM tool like Twitter, Facebook etc and I didn’t know that you could set up company profiles … thanks for the tip, I am onto it.

  5. Thanks Oyst.

    In my area of B2B – LinkedIn is the 'sexiest' thing going, well after Twitter of course.

    At my work, I setup the 'Australian Marketing Group' on LinkedIn with the underlying aim of providing marketers a space to network and discuss current issues (most of the other groups were industry specific or digitally focused). It is hosted by myself at 'Marketing' magazine so the moderation is catered for and content is auto-RSS'd through so there's always something fresh happening.

    I thought this take was better for interacting with and providing value to our audience, than setting up a token 'I read Marketing magazine' style group. Afterall what does that really say about an individual if displayed in their profile? Perhaps on Facebook it would be great, but on LinkedIn it is more about the service than the product and obviously peer-to-peer.

  6. Kate, I don't think you understood the point of my comment, which is that people's one-on-one professional relationships are not resources for companies to plunder.

    You're right that LinkedIn is a long-term commitment - which is why I think it's creepy and invasive for a company to think it 'owns' its employees' entire professional histories and the relationships they have built up over time.

  7. Mel, this is not some exploitation-land, Mike Moore docco, Gen Y, anti-capitalism crusade – it's about using something smartly and yes, comfortably. If there is mistrust or resentment present in a workplace, then yes, there are more points to consider.

    Basically, it's not about anyone 'owning' anything, it's about collaboration. Corporations don't sign up and communicate like robots – these are people's colleagues speaking as individuals – people who see each other in their working day.

    Don't forget that the whole point is to be 'linked in', therefore it's about transparency of connections. It's about opening up networks so that your 'professional history' is available for someone (internal or external) to potentially benefit from it and hopefully, vice versa. Again, this isn't something for people who are still in the stage of thinking that putting personal things online is creepy – this is for people who want to connect in a business manner.

    If you are a journo working in a SME or individually, fair enough, you might like to keep things private as your contacts as your 'currency'. But, if you are a sales rep for example, and don't go on social networks for 'fun', then what a fantastic way to share contacts with your colleagues. If you end up leaving an organisation after a certain time, these are still your contacts – yours to keep and if you feel uncomfortable you can always alter the settings or delete former colleagues. :-)

  8. LinkedIn is an interesting one, I almost see it as a "must have" and honestly don't spend too much time on it. It's only occassionally that I'll go through, update it and search for some new people to add.

    But I think you're quite right about the internal requests, and in today's times they might soon be external anyway!

  9. I totally agree with Mel... Pretty soon in our court systems there will be a debate about 'privacy' in Linkedin; there is already much legal discussion about employer/employee privacy issues with Facebook. Sorry Kate, it's not soley a matter of what you personally think is a good idea or not. Just because something is 'trendy' and 'popular' doesn't mean that it can't impede privacy laws.

  10. It's the double whammy - anon commenter on an old post. Check out for new content and debate.



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