In 2013, LinkedIn exploded in popularity among professionals, but not all LinkedIn users are created equally. Below are seven levels of LinkedIn users. See if you can identify your type.
• The Absentee. “I know I have a LinkedIn account, but I have no clue what the password is. Someone set it up for me years ago.” Neither can the Absentee remember the email address she used to set up the account, making it difficult to retrieve the password. LinkedIn is beyond useless for the Absentee.
• The Duplicate. “I’ve set up a LinkedIn account already, but then I forgot about it and set up another one. What do I do now?” I don’t want to generalize, but it is usually the older set of LinkedIn users who duplicate accounts. To merge duplicate accounts, go to the Help Center on the LinkedIn site.• The Seasonal Visitor. “When I was looking for a job three years ago, I think I logged on.” A few months ago I jumped onto LinkedIn with a Seasonal Visitor and he had 130 invitations waiting for him. Seasonal visitors are passive, jumping on rarely, but at least they know where to find their LinkedIn account and how to log in.
• No Face. A full third of the profiles of Am Law 100 partners have no picture, according to my research. Many more haven’t filled out their summaries. They might have hundreds of connections, accept invitations and send and receive messages, but they haven’t taken the time to finish their profile. They are getting value from LinkedIn, but aren’t putting themselves out there in a professional way. A picture says a thousand words, but a missing profile picture sends a message , too, and it isn’t flattering.
• Friends with Strangers. These get a 10 for effort but 1 for strategy. They “friend” as many people as possible but in an impersonal way, with no clear business objective. They tend to make LinkedIn annoying. I’m not saying don’t accept connection requests from strangers, but if you can’t see an obvious connection, just click “ignore.”
• The Benevolent. These add value to everyone connected to them. They make introductions. They share helpful articles. They actively engage in discussions, but not in a self-promotional way — rather, they share great content regardless of the source. The Benevolent make LinkedIn a better place and by doing so are building their brands.
• The Closers. These by far are the most successful users of LinkedIn. They are strategic in their connections, focusing on setting up meetings with high-value contacts. When Closers send a LinkedIn invitation, they personalize the message. They have 500 connections because they are just as active networking offline as they are online. And in my experience, they represent fewer than 3 percent of the lawyers on LinkedIn.
Adrian Dayton is an attorney and author of the book Social Media for Lawyers (Twitter Edition). His website is adriandayton.com.