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December 29, 2009

Why Accepting All Invites is the Curse of LinkedIn

Over the last year I have generated earnings in the low 7 figures for my company as a result of some of the techniques I have employed on LinkedIn. One of the constants I have been pushing throughout this time is to treat LinkedIn, and your LinkedIn connections, as you would do if you met them offline.

In fact, LinkedIn is like a 24/7 trade show in your industry that everybody came to!

This means treating people with the respect you would do if you met them offline, it also means being selective in who you connect with.

As time winds on I am more convinced about the last point than ever. For months I seemed to be inundated with spam messages, outrageous job offers, irrelevant invitations, and lots of people who wanted me to be a notch on their LinkedIn profile. (Instead of a valued networking connection)

I also had an update stream that was totally irrelevant to my daily work, my interests and my goals as a professional. (This isn't Facebook after all)

So I took action. Over the last few weeks I have spent a lot of time cleaning out my connections. This means getting rid of people I do not know, from companies I do not know, and in industries that have nothing to do with me.

It also means reinforcing my network with decision makers and others in my areas of expertise and interest. I also took out a few snipers (competitors with access to my connections), every single LION and TopLinked that had connected with me.

Lastly I rearranged my LinkedIn group memberships. Committing to more groups aligned with what I do, and far less groups on marketing, social media and other flash in the pan types.

The results?

My update stream is now filled with people I know, companies I know, prospects I want to know, and trusted relationships I need to continue to nurture.

Instead of it being an annoyance every day it has turned into one of the great advantages of LinkedIn, far more than I ever imagined. I can now see when a contact gets promoted, when they move company, when they change departments, and who else they are connected with.

This is powerful information if it is all about relevant people... it is useless if it is about a bunch of people who are just out to collect as many noches on their profiles as possible.

If you are serious about LinkedIn as a B2B tool for your business, and you are currently wondering why you are still using it, then I sincerely recommend trying out these tactics as they have worked incredibly well for me.

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