1) So the main thing is the LinkedIn myth. Everyone is on it; everyone says you HAVE to be on it. But why? Should you view LI as a visibility tool? A networking tool? A place to find jobs? All of the above? Or does it depend on your status? Let’s put it in perspective.
2) Obviously, joining any social network isn’t enough. Then you have to know the system, the ins and outs that will give you the professional visibility you want. What are three smart things most people may not realize about how to leverage LI for their goals.
Don’t just “set it and forget it.” Update your status and search other people’s status via LinkedIn’s Signal (under the news tab). You can find a lot of interesting information when you look to see what people are posting and sharing — and people can find what you share, too.
Be sure to include keywords in your profile and in your titles. Think about what words people will use to search for someone like you and add those to your titles, your headline and your descriptions.
A network isn’t useful unless you use it. Join a few strong, useful groups. (Evaluate groups by scrolling down and looking at the “insightful statistics on this group” link.) Choose active groups comprised of the demographics you want to know.
Keep track of how many people are viewing your profile and ask people who do view your profile to connect or otherwise follow up. For example, “I noticed you visited my LinkedIn profile. I hope you agree we have a lot of professional interests in common, and I was wondering if you’d be willing to connect online, and possibly set up a quick introductory phone call to see if there are ways we may be able to help each other.”
3. With everyone trying to Link to you, whom should you accept? Only people in your field? Or maybe it doesn’t matter–since the more connections you have, the more synchronicity there is?
This is a matter of opinion. Some believe you should connect with everyone. Others say “only people you know in person.” Others go with “only if there is a reason.” There are reasons to have a large network, as it puts you in contact with more people and you will access more information as a result of that larger network. Personally, if someone asks for a connection and tells me why we should connect, I generally accept. For example, “I read your blog and enjoy your books. Can we connect?” I don’t personally accept every random invitation, especially the ones that seem to be spam.