Where solid business strategy and smart marketing ideas converge.

Don’t Make This LinkedIn Mistake – Or You Could Run Out of Invites Before You Know It!

I was pleased to be mentioned in the National Law Journal last week by social media columnist Adrian Dayton! Full disclosure – Adrian is also my friend and co-author of our upcoming book from Ark Group Publishing about developing business using LinkedIn and Blogs.

I was mentioned in “Five LinkedIn Tips that Lawyer’s Don’t Know” and it contained some great ideas that we would all benefit from. Adrian and I agree that there was one suggestion that I should clarify for those of you who might be thinking of trying it..

Adrian suggested that we update our Outlook contacts on a regular basis by re-uploading them into LinkedIn – presumably to catch the new ones who weren’t there when we opened our LinkedIn account a couple of years ago. While keeping your LinkedIn Contacts current is critical to your successful networking, uploading that Outlook CSV file a second time could be problematic.

If you did upload your outlook contacts a first time, the rest of this article is for you. If you never really dumped your Outlook contacts into LinkedIn in the first place – jump down to the footnote at the bottom and I’ll convince you to do so.

If you re-upload your Outlook contacts, LinkedIn will not tell you which ones are already your contacts, and it will not let you know who didn’t respond to your invite. You have to manually figure this out – which can be like using the hunt-n-peck typing method to write a book – tedious! To add insult to injury, you have a lifetime maximum of 3,000 LinkedIn invitations to use, and uploading your outlook contacts twice (and duplicating lots of them) could use 1/2 or 2/3 of those invitations. Three thousand sounds like a lot now, but I can almost guarantee that it won’t in 3 years…

Hopefully LinkedIn will fix this problem, but for how, you have to manually cross-reference your new Outlook list (in a CSV file) with the Sent folder of your Linkedin Inbox [Inbox > Sent]. Dunno ‘bout you, but I have 247 pages, with 15 per page. Not happening.

My best advice is to keep up with your contacts by ALWAYS sending out Linkedin invites after events, conferences, etc. My second best advice is to pour a glass of wine one evening and page through your Outlook contacts noting who is a newish contact who might not have made it to your Linkedin list. Note them down and head to Linkedin to add them.

Last piece of advice: If you are customizing your invitations the way you should be, stick with one glass.

Footnote: If you never actually uploaded your Outlook contacts into LinkedIn because you were worried about not being able to control the process once it started – get over it and upload the list. I promise that LinkedIn will allow you to choose who gets an invite before it actually sends them – each name has a check box. You are still in the driver’s seat, even after you upload the CSV file. And your LinkedIn strategy is only as strong as your network. Here are the directions for the procedure. Good luck!