LinkedIn - Connections
How to create new connections
There are a number of steps required in order to develop your connections:
- Search for and invite colleagues and friends to your networks.
- Import from your email contacts
- Suggested connections from old schools, universities and past and current work places will appear on your homepage.
- Have a great professional headshot- first impressions count!
- Create a personal invitation so they know you are interested in them.
How to leverage existing connections?
When you join LinkedIn, you have 5 free introductions and you can get more by upgrading your account. With introductions, you can ask your connections to link you to one of their own connections; a great way to leverage your trusted connections. If you upgrade your account, you have access to InMail- which allows you to directly contact anyone on the LinkedIn network without an introduction, and OpenMail- which allows you to receive OpenLink messages from anyone on the LinkedIn network. Joining groups and commenting relevantly and intelligently will open you up to more possibility of being noticed, and gaining useful connections. Write statuses regularly; if your connections comment, their connections will see this and you’ll become more prominent to them, leading to more invitations.
Rights over contacts
The traditional downside of moving to a new company is that you lose your readily available network of contacts and have to start afresh in building professional relationships. With increase in use of social media this is no longer a problem as you take your contacts with you on your individual LinkedIn account. However, as this is a relatively new phenomenon, it is still unsure what the protocol is considering your connections in regard to their connection to the company. Like leaving behind your company laptop and mobile, should you leave behind your company connections? As social media is becoming more and more key to businesses growth, more and more are including in their employee contracts clauses to cover social media activity. However, it is safe to say that it will be some time before the wider economy adopts a general rule. Hung Lee cast a poll which returned results showing that 76% respondents thought that their LinkedIn profile belonged soley to them, whereas 24% disagreed. However, worryingly, those that disagreed were all employment law professionals or HR professionals having the same debate in their own company.
Case Study: Edcomm
There is an example of a company (Edcomm) that changed a fired employees name (Eagle) and photo on LinkedIn in order to keep her contacts. This was because others at the company had managed and had complete access to her account (not really the point of LinkedIn). The lesson is not to let companies control your account. The woman that allowed others access to her account gave permission to the company use her account as a company account rather than her own, so the individual ownership is dodgy.
“The employee, Eagle, sued the company for 11 causes of action, including violation of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA), violation of the Lanham Act, identity theft, unauthorized use of name, invasion of privacy, conversion, tortuous interference with contract, and civil conspiracy. Eagle regained control of the LinkedIn account but then allegedly refused to turn over Edcomm’s proprietary business information, such as the LinkedIn connections of other Edcomm employees. She similarly refused to return the laptop. In addition, although Edcomm had disabled Eagle’s cellular telephone number, she apparently succeeded in having the number transferred to her own account. Edcomm countersued, alleging much the same against Eagle as she had alleged against it.”
What should you do?
In the above case it can be seen that both the company and the employee are in the wrong. Following this, it would seem that there are no certain rules considering if you can or cannot compile a database of all your employees’ connections, but intuitively it would seem it is not the company’s place to use individuals’ connections in such a way. As there is no definitive laws as of yet, precautions such as these should be taken into account; setting up an alternative email to your work email to your account, as when you leave the firm you’re leaving the email address too, and paying for your account yourself will eliminate confusion as to who owns the account. Basic rules of business apply to social media- don’t cheat, lie or steal! The same applies to connections as does to physical or monetary property.