One Linkedin Power User Update Requests

I’m a power Linkedin user. I love Linkedin. Even though I am active on multiple online platforms daily, Linkedin is by far my favorite. And I hang out with people who are power users too. This has been my second home for a little over a year now. We share and promote content, we network, we collaborate, we consult others how to grow, we meet up live on Linkedin Lives and podcasts and at conferences and Linkedinlocal events…and we talk about and teach about our beloved Linkedin! Note that I am a Product Marketing Manager by background so I know and appreciate very well what kind of work goes into defining and building good features and functionality.

But there are several issues I would love to see improvements in:

CONNECTION INVITATIONS

Another day passes that I open Linkedin to discover multiple connection requests. Out of 20+, only two are personalized. And even the personalized ones are really short and not very compelling or precise.

Connecting with someone on Linkedin is a bit like a Jack-in-the-box. Once you hit “Accept”, you never know what you are in for. It is a hit-or-miss.

Why risk it? We connect with strangers because that’s what Linkedin is for — turning a stranger into a friend, (hopefully) a new client, or finding your next hiring opportunity. The days of networking online only with people you know offline are over. People are trying purposely to build networks outside their work colleagues, former bosses, and second cousins. Whether your goal is finding leads or a job or connecting with people in niche markets based on areas of your interest or expertise, Linkedin is the platform for this.

Linkedin delivers all the information you want about a person via their profile. We can see where they are based, their company, their title, their prior work experience, education, top skills, and any recommendations. Even their photo is attached! Linkedin is a dream for business development folks and recruiters.

But there is a small problem. Linkedin allows you to send connection requests to anyone without requiring to say why. The connection limit for your first-person network is set at 30,000. I’m not sure what the logic behind that was but after you reach your limit, people may still follow you. I currently have around 18,000 connections and receive dozens of new requests every day. Only a few small number of these requests are personalized, meaning they include a short note. Therefore, I can only guess of the real reason these people want to connect with me. Considering there is a limit on the size a network can be, I only accept a few new requests weekly, in the hopes to keep my network value-driven. For me, this means I’m looking mainly as criteria for industry expertise and potential business opportunities.

So when I hit ‘Connect’, I wait to see what the person will write to me, hoping they have good intentions. These are the most common types:

  • Colleagues who work at the same company or in the same industry who I’ve met before
  • Business partners, vendors, clients, or those hoping to work with me
  • Fellow content creators. As I am a big content creator, writing and publishing daily on multiple platforms and dabble in video, podcasting, book and article writing, interviewing, and social media messaging, I tend to have a lot to discuss with others doing the same.
  • Group interests for industry-wide business networking or conferences

Unfortunately, there are many other types who try regularly to connect with me: People trying to sell me things I don’t want, many, many flirts, people asking me for money or to find them a job (disclaimer: I am not a recruiter) and even those asking me to sponsor their visas! Linkedin allows this junk mail and there are currently no filters to stop it.

Until recently, Linkedin did not do much to make invitations more meaningful. In mid-2019, they rolled out a new add-in feature called Priority Invitations to filter to the top the invitations Linkedin believes to be most relevant to the person. This is definitely a small improvement but in my opinion, it is really not enough. The entire process needs several improvements.

My first request would be to allow us PERSONALIZED INVITATION TEMPLATES. On the sending end, I would love a built-in feature to enable me to save and populate my connection requests with my own personalized invitations. Similar to email marketing tools, we should be able to build our own customized email templates and save them to personalize easily whenever we want to send connections requests. On the receiving end, I would like Linkedin to let me make it mandatory to only accept requests that are personalized. This would greatly reduce the spam requests I receive. In fact, if I were to PMM on this, I would add a drop-down feature to enable selection of the template that I build to customize every time as well as a connection category type. The category type would enable the recipient to see quickly what you want from them, like New Business Inquiry, Mutual Interests, Mutual Connections, etc. You could even block requests that you don’t wish to receive.

On a similar note, I’d like to be able to enable INVITATION ACCEPTANCE AND REJECTION AUTO-REPLY TEMPLATES to accept or reject a connection request with a personalized note. It would be easy if the requests were personalized to begin with. Someone is asking me to help them get them a job. I’ll select from a drop-down menu of replies and choose “Unfortunately, I can’t assist you.” Sent. Done. Or if someone says they are interested in business with me, I’ll select “Let’s find a time to chat.” with a link to my calendar. Right now, since this doesn’t exist, I sometimes get the same people trying to connect again. Or angry I didn’t accept them and wondering why. Or even worse, missed business opportunities because their request is buried in my long list of (mostly spam) connections invitations. Linkedin, we can do much better than that!

Furthermore, can you please show us USER ACTIVITY in a more straightforward way? When I receive or send an invitation, I like to know how active the person is. Instead of having to lurk on each profile, can you show us next to the name their number of connections and average activity level or the number of articles or any data that would help us evaluate if this person is active or not? This information may not deter me from connecting but it may be important to some like it is to me.

Lastly, I’d like to see a MULTIPLE CONNECTION REQUESTS field or symbol. This would tell me if a person has tried to connect with me before and when. This information should ideally be next to their name in the invitation they send. They don’t have to see this information but the recipient should. It can better help me understand if they really, really want to connect and if I rejected them in the past or not.

MY NETWORK

Oh my, I could write a book on this part! There are so many improvements I’d like to see because this is the most important feature of Linkedin. We are here for our connections.

First off, Linkedin gives us very limited SORT options. I have had both the upgraded Premium and Sales Navigator accounts but it doesn’t matter: in the Linkedin regular interface, we can all only sort by -First Name — Last Name — or — Recently Added. I would love it if Linkedin could introduce advanced options to sort and filter my connections and I think it is fair to pay for those features too based on which version you are using.

Secondly but most importantly is SEARCH. This is really the gold of Linkedin. Inside my Connections list, I’d love to filter by USER ACTIVITY. I like to know who is dead weight and never logs in. Also, I would like a filter to see when we connected and when was the last time they engaged on MY content. Maybe they are active but not really into my stuff. I’d love to know. This could help me isolate the people I need to re-engage with. Again, I think it would be fair to give these advanced features to upgraded customers like Premium level. I also think the current FILTER features really need to be re-evaluated and seem outdated. I have a lot more feedback but will stop here. Please, Linkedin, really put some love into SEARCH. I’d be happy to come work for Linkedin on this project myself!

Furthermore, why doesn’t Linkedin allow for MASS ACTION? Where is the checkbox next to each connection to do something with them in bulk? What if I want to filter and remove several? Where is the checkbox to invite multiple connections to a group? I have around 18+k connections and growing yet I don’t have the ability to mark my favorite connections. Why not? Please, Linkedin, allow us to add a favorites symbol (perhaps a yellow star) next to our favorite connections to signify that we prioritize getting their content in our feeds. I am honestly surprised that Linkedin doesn’t anticipate the needs of users here. Lastly, I’d love to have an alert symbol (perhaps a red rectangle) next to any connections who we have not had any sort of contact within a certain set timeframe, such as 30+ days. This would incentivize me to follow up and check in or remove connections who I no longer wish to connect with. Of course, any mass features need to be carefully defined and limited, and warnings must be issued that these actions cannot be undone.

HOME (AKA THE FEED)

Let’s talk about how we use Linkedin. I’m referring to our feed. From the HOME tab, we immediately see content from our first connections with some sponsored ads thrown in (hey, Linkedin has to make money, right?). But the feed is not good, Linkedin! I want a much more CURATED EXPERIENCE in my feed and I think others would love this too. I’d like to star connections in our network whose content we REALLY want to receive. Following isn’t working well enough. I regularly wonder “Hey, why haven't I seen any posts from (insert friend’s name) for a while? Are they ok??”, only to find out they post ALL the time but Linkedin will not show me those posts. I’ve experimented by going to a profile and liking two or three posts to see if it’d start showing more in my feed but nope…still not seeing new content! The same with hiding content. I’d tried that and it doesn’t work well. The problem is to have a more customizable experience but the solutions are many. We may be able to star connections or companies we love or create a PRIORITY CONTENT section at the top with headlines only so we could get a daily report from our favorites. I have more ideas! It would just require a discussion with IT followed by a detailed Product Update Plan. Users would love this, absolutely love this.

PERSONALIZATION

This is the fun part. Branding consultants tell brands to focus on differentiation to make themselves stand out. But Linkedin doesn’t offer much in terms of LINKEDIN BRANDING options. How about allowing video for the profile background? Or a rotating background that changes every week? Or audio files to a voice introduction attached to the profile page? Same for the photo. I’d love to change my profile picture to an animated GIF or upload 4 pictures that change every 10 days. There could be a cool framing feature too around the photos that Linkedin builds a few templates for and allows users to pick from. Linkedin is a professional platform but that is no reason to kill creativity. This month (June) is pride month. Why not allow users to add a rainbow frame around their photo? Also, I’d love to be able to pin my most popular posts to the top under my articles. I know these ideas may be controversial because often people complain “this isn’t Facebook” but personalization is the end goal I’m after. The actual features can be researched and beta tested to make sure users truly want such options (they do, trust me).

Thank you, Linkedin, truly for everything you’ve given us. I really feel that Linkedin changed my life. I’ve met more amazing people online who I never would have otherwise connected to. I’ve gotten such unique collaboration and business opportunities, all thanks to Linkedin. I had the pleasure to become a Linkedinlocal host and speak at several related events too. Lastly, I’ve made lasting friendships. I am infinitely grateful for my Linkedin family. Please create a position for me as Linkedin’s #1 Community Ambassador/Power User.

Sincerely,

Your Biggest Fan

Krista Mollion helps new and aspiring business owners launch successful businesses. Reach out to find out more about her coaching and mastermind programs here. Follow #thesassymethod to get her posts.

#linkedin #linkedinplatform #linkedinfeatures #linkedinproducts #socialmedia #jeffweiner #productmanagement #socialfeatures

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