Do you own your LinkedIn profile?

LinkedIn Profile – is it yours or not?LinkedIn connections from your profile

Years ago as LinkedIn became more popular, I noticed people who left their jobs and abandoned their profiles. In some cases, it may have been a non-compete situation, or it may have been a lost password. Some folks just didn’t know that they could add new work experience to their existing profile.

Now that LinkedIn allows you to start a profile at the age of 14 in the United States, individuals who start at that early age will definitely own their profile.

“Minimum Age” means (a) 18 years old for the People’s Republic of China, (b) 16 years old for the Netherlands, (c) 14 years old for the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia and South Korea, and (d) 13 years old for all other countries. However, if law requires that you must be older in order for LinkedIn to lawfully provide the Services to you (including the collection, storage and use of your information) then the Minimum Age is such older age. The Services are not for use by anyone under the age of 13.

Who owns the contacts on your profile?

If you have been using LinkedIn for a number of years and have built your connections up, you may be a valuable commodity to an organization who wants to broaden their reach. Personally, I worked for an organization where one of my major duties was to network and spread the word about the services offered by that organization. Everyone I met was added to my LinkedIn connections if they had a profile.

If your company relies upon you to be their data collector, shame on them. They should employ a CRM of some sort to track their clients, not your LinkedIn profile. In my case, not everyone I met was because of the organization for which I worked. I was involved in community organizations, a family business, and other activities where I met people besides on the job.

The biggest reason you need to be aware of company policy for any organization for which you work is what they deem as appropriate use for their clients in your contacts. This news item from February 2015 on a Fox News Station in St. Louis reminds us to read what you are signing when you enter into an employment agreement with any company. Know whether your clients can be your connections. If you bring a robust profile with you, your profile is yours, but the connections you gain related to your employment may become the non-compete property of the company.

Fortunately, with the tagging function in LinkedIn, you can easily tag any new connections with a tag related to that company so you know down the road what you can or cannot do with that connection.

It is a different situation if you are managing company profiles. Whatever the contacts are that follow a company social media profileIf you are personally

This brings up another question: What happens to your contacts if you bring contacts to the table when you are hired? I asked Jim Voigt of Lavelle Law to help me out with an answer. Here is what he offered:

  • In the rare situation where you actually have an employment contract, the use of your contacts should be spelled out;
  • If there is and employer handbook, you need to review it to see if your employer is making a claim to your contacts – read it!  Even if that claim is made, it does not mean the employer will prevail.  But it is at least good to know that your employer considers your contacts to belong to the company so you can head off misunderstandings early.
  • Whether an employer could legitimately make a claim to your contacts would very much depend on the circumstances.  Were you hired specifically because you had several, or perhaps certain key contacts?  Were you separately paid for those contacts beyond your regular salary and benefits?
  • Analysis in any potential law suit will be very fact specific.  If an employer is making a claim to your contacts, it would be worth your time to at least talk it over with an attorney.  Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation.

Here is my profile tip to you:

Make sure you have at least two email addresses associated with your LinkedIn Profile. People will often invite you to connect based upon the email address that they have for you. It isn’t the correct way, but it happens. When you have a work and personal email address, you will always have access to your account. If you get terminated, just go into your account and switch which email address is your primary email address.

Let us know if you have any social media needs with which we can assist you!

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How many LinkedIn Connections do you have?

LinkedIn Connections help broaden your networking reach!

It is real easy to tell how many LinkedIn Connections you have if you have less than 500. The number shows up on the headline area of your personal profile. But what happens once you reach that magical 500+ number that most people strive to achieve?

Why do you need so many connections?

Part of what makes LinkedIn so useful for anyone is the fact that someone knows someone that might need your services or product. The greater the number of connections, the further your reach is in the LinkedIn network. 30% of the 360m users (as of this writing) are in United States. How can you reach the person you need to reach if you network is small and closely held. Today for LinkedIn to work, you need a minimum of 500 connections. How can you find out how many more than 500 you have?

It is more difficult to find out what that number is. One of the previous versions of LinkedIn used to have the listing of how many contacts you had on the right hand side of your status update stream. When they moved the Home page around, they lost that bit of information.  Now you have to go to your Connections page, click on the settings and find out how many contacts you have there. It will also tell you how many of your email contacts are in your network as well.

Watch this brief video to see where you need to look to find out how many LinkedIn Connections you have.


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Using LinkedIn as a CRM

Do you use a CRM for your business?

If you use a CRM – Customer Relationship Management tool for your business and contacts, that is great! Hopefully you are making use of the automated items that you can set-up to keep in front of your potential and exiting clients.

If not, you might want to investigate the CRM functionality that is happening in LinkedIn. Go to your Connections item on your LinkedIn Menu bar.

LI connections menuIf you hover you will see other options, but just click on the word connections. It should take you to a screen that looks like this:

LI connections page

  1. You can send a birthday message, congratulate someone on a work anniversary or a new position, and …
  2. Review the reminders that you set for yourself.
  3. Sort people by recent conversation, last name, first name, or new connections.
  4. Filter your connections by company, location, industry, and my favorite by Tag.
  5. You can tag people from this page.

What I like a bit better, is to go to the person’s profile page and get into the nitty gritty of what a CRM is really all about.

LI relationship

  1. With this feature, look for the Star underneath the persons picture or the word Relationship. Once you click on it, you can do the following:
  2. Note whatever you want to note about the person.
  3. Add a reminder – 1 day, 1 week, or recurring and more. The reminder function puts reminder into your CRM portion of your connections page. (See below)
  4. Add in how you met and include the people that introduced you.
  5. My favorite – Tag your connections. Those tags appear next to the contact information. You can tag a person with any tag you like.

With all of these features, you are the only person that will see any of this information. That is the beauty of this feature.

Now if you don’t know why it is important to use these tools, let address a marketing tactic. When I teach, I tell the class room an old marketing tip – the more someone sees your name, the more likely they are to remember it.  When you see the following items, take action!

LinkedIn CRM

Take a few minutes to wish people Happy Birthday, Congratulations, or review the reminder that you received from your CRM function!


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LinkedIn Feature – Reply Don’t Accept Yet

Reply Don’t Accept Yet – LinkedIn feature is still there!

I don’t know about you, but I receive a number of invitations from people that I haven’t met. I don’t mind expanding my network through LinkedIn connections, but I try to tag my connections so know where the invitations are coming from is very helpful.

Before LinkedIn changed it’s invitations features, yet again, there was an option to “Reply don’t accept yet” to the person that sent the invitation. I thought this feature was lost forever, the same way that many other useful features, like polls, events, and questions have –  gone the way of the Dodo bird. But I have good news to report!

Reply don’t accept yet is still a useful and available LinkedIn Feature!!!  Watch this short video to see where you can find it. Or follow the directions below.

Need a step by step? Here are the directions:

1. Hover over the icon for messages

invitations NEW 1




2. A drop-down box will open with Messages from People to whom you are connected. Click on the word Messages.

invitations NEW 2








3. You Message Inbox will open. Select Invitations. A list of your invitations will show.

invitations from strangers








4. Click the down arrow next to “Accept” and the option for “Reply Don’t Accept yet” shows. Click that selection and send the potential connection a message. I use the following:

Please refresh my memory of how we may have met. I like to tag my connections for future reference.

That is the one way I can control how I organize my connections. It is really useful for finding people at a later time.

Happy Linking!

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LinkedIn Endorsement vs. Recommendations

One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive is “What are endorsements?  What good do they do?”.  I thought I would put an explanation into words for you.

Endorsements – are a way to give your connection LinkedIn Endorsementsa thumbs up for the skills that they have listed without going through to much effort. Some people think they are a waste of time, but I would tend to disagree. Here are a few reasons:

  • The act of endorsing someone gives you a “post” without having to think of anything to say;
  • Endorsing someone’s skill let’s them know that you think they “own” that skill. I don’t endorse someone for a skill  that I don’t know they possess and I don’t add skills to their profile by endorsing them for something they have not included.
  • Endorsing others might give you an idea for a skill that you possess that you hadn’t thought about including in your skills.

Read more about managing endorsements in this article: LinkedIn Endorsements.

Recommendations – The best part of recommendations is that you can give one to your firstLinkedIn recommendations degree connections without having to be asked. Recommendations are much more thoughtful and descriptive than endorsing someone. This is a way to speak to the quality of someone’s work more than just the skill that they possess.  My caution here is > don’t give someone a recommendation as soon as they have written one for you.  It just looks like “recommendation love” and that isn’t so good.  “Paying it forward” is the thought to keep in mind when you are writing recommendations.  Remember, just because someone writes you a recommendation, doesn’t mean that you have to return the favor.  Perhaps you “pay it forward” to someone else.  LinkedIn used to require 3 recommendations from first degree contacts before they would consider your profile complete.  It is still advised to try to obtain them for your current and past positions.  Just remember, that to write a recommendation or request one, you must be first degree connections with the person. AND by all means, don’t invite them to connect and ask for the recommendation in the same communication!

When you recommend someone, they must approve your recommendation to appear on their profile.  Use your best grammar and punctuation.  Not only will it reflect upon the person about whom you are writing, but it reflects upon you as well. The recommendations that you give, as well as, receive show in your profile for everyone to view.

Product/Services Recommendations – Now if giving and getting endorsements andLinkedIn Product Recommendations recommendations weren’t enough, we have the third option of recommending the company product or service for which the person you are thinking about recommending offers.  This is a great idea if the company is a one-person or small operation. While searching LinkedIn, a company page may appear before they run across the person.  In my case, I am my company so when someone recommends my company, they are recommending me.

I would love to hear your thoughts on endorsements and recommendations.  Tell me what you think!


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