LinkedIn for Birders

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LinkedIn immersion week for Birders. What I have learnt.

So, as mentioned in my last post, I did a week trying to make LinkedIn work for me and understand the platform a bit better. The results of this week are: 227 new connections, a new post on my profile, several posts in groups and creation of a new group for birders – World Birding Tours – that may just be the type of groups that leverage well with LinkedIn. And I created my company LinkedIn page.

I did several things to increase my presence the platform.

  • Invited contacts already on LinkedIn.With a click of a button LinkedIn gives us the option to invite all our contacts. And so I did. In hindsight I wish I had been more selective. LinkedIn has a max of 5000 invitations one single person can do. Thus, the invitations you do should be treasured and used for people you have a reasonable chance of connecting with. It is probably a good idea to only invite contacts that have a working profile.In general, I’d suggest not inviting connections without a profile picture, unless they are people you do business with already.
  • Sent out invitations to contacts not yet on LinkedIn. BIG MISTAKE. This is probably not at all that beneficial. At this point and age of the LinkedIn history, your contacts have probably already gotten invitations to join LinkedIn from other contacts by now. If any contact of yours is not on LinkedIn already, it is unlikely that they will sign-up for an account now just because they got yet another invitation from you. It probably would have done no harm, had it only been a handful, but In my own case, over 3000 invitations were sent out with a click of a button. I consequently lost my ability to invite anyone as contact on the platform as I past the limit of 5000 invitations. I feel I was tricked to do so. Nowhere in the process was there a warning of inviting too many people. I have complained to LinkedIn and demand that my invitations are withdrawn and my invitation options restored. We’ll see what happens. It can take up to 14 days to get an answer.
  • I published my Social Media Immersion blogpost from the other day as a Pulse article. Question is if this duplicate posting will affect the Google Page Rank negatively. According to many SEO experts it may, while other say that an occasional reposting on LinkedIn aiming to reach a new audience will have no negative effect on SEO. In any case. Make sure there is a link at the bottom to your main blog. By all means post some of your best material, but repackage it so it is not identical to that of your blog. It is a good idea to post from your best blog posts, especially those that can be of value for others.
  • Reached out to Group Owner of Bird Watching Group, noticing that the group lacked activity and that people just posted self promoting crap, which is rather similar or worse than in the groups I was being so disappointed with on Facebook. If there should be any quality in this group in the future, there needs to be some rules and education of good practices when posting. I suggested to create an editorial board consisting of participants who in the past has shown proof of wanting the LinkedIn group to be better in creating dialogue than groups of Facebook.I fear the train left, though. It is probably too late to try to shape up the group. I tried to get some discussion going by asking a question that most community members could have something to say about, even if the question is rather trivial. “What is your favorite bird?” allowing for up to three species. It got some conversation going, but I doubt this will be enough.
  • My own group Birding Professionals, which indeed seek to use the strength of LinkedIn to connect professionals in the field with each other, has gained only a handful new members and with only 65 members overall thus far the group is really too small for good ongoing discussion. The idea is still valid, and hopefully this group could grow to have some value, but as for now there is not much activity.
  • I created a new group World Birding Tours. This could actually be the perfect fit for LinkedIn. Too many groups both on Facebook and on LinkedIn suffer from overly commercial posts and sneak advertising from operators. Birding Tour operators will be allowed and encouraged to post their tours here. Anyone joining the group will be interested in taking a birding tour so they would not be bothered about commercial messages. Hopefully, this will also keep the commercial messages away from other groups. Click the link above and JOIN NOW!
  • Shared a few posts on my own profile and in groups. It is important to share posts of other people as well. You want your presence to create value to other people, remember.

Is LinkedIn Useful for birders?

There are two questions that needs anwering. 1. Is it useful for birders in general? 2. Is it useful for someone who has a birding business.

Usefulness for birders in general.

The short answer is: Not really, at least not now. There is far less activity for birders on LinkedIn than there is on Facebook. There is only one group for birding in general “Bird Watching Group” and the activity is quite low in spite that there are over 2000 members. There are a few interesting posts, but in general most people posting are using LinkedIn as it was Facebook or Twitter. The result is that most posts posted get virtually no likes and creates no discussion. It remains to be seen if the World BIrding Tours group gets any traffic. If it does, it may well be the take away for birders in general on LinkedIn and justify the presence here.

Useful for birding businesses.

I think it is important to create a good profile both for your business (one may also create business accounts on LinkedIn) and for yourself. Birders as potential clients are well-educated and many will have LinkedIn accounts where they display their professional credentials. Having an account with some endorsements from your clients gives a very professional look. Also, understand that every time you make a change in your profile a note is sent to the wall of your connections. Even if it is not an active marketing attempt it does give you and your business regular exposure. Exposure is sublime marketing if it is not overdone. A business LinkedIn account is also an additional link back to your web-site and could well have a positive effect in SEO.

In my previous post, I recommended LinkedIn for Dummies, and it is a very good book if you are interested in networking professionally, try to find a new job or recruit someone for your business. But if your conclusion is like mine, that LinkedIn is of little value as birder, but could have value as a birding business or if you want to work in the birding business, then it is probably best to take a more limited approach and just work a little bit on your LinkedIn profile – and set up a business account for your birding business if you don’t have one already. One of the best books I have found is is the ebook How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile….And 18 mistakes to avoid available directly from the publisher. At only half price of the Dummies book, it gives a fast recipe of what you exactly need to do to maximize the effect of your LinkedIn profile. It gives you the bare minimum action you need to take. It is also updated for 2015 so all the info is relevant. I have started implementing suggestions from this book and updated my LinkedIn profile.  This book made me aware of the importance of having a LinkedIn Company page. I shall follow ensuite and incorporate the other suggestions as well. If you do the same, then you will only need to check in on LinkedIn very occasionally and still get the best of it.

Mobile App

I have put LinkedIn’s mobile app on my iphone. It gives a fast way to check what is going on, accepting and deleting connection requests and perhaps share something interesting posted on pulse.  Highly recommended. See example of my screenshot below.

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Gunnar Engblom is a Swedish birder who lives in Peru since 1998, where he operates birdwatching and nature tours for Kolibri Expeditions. He is popular guide both for hard core birding groups, as well as for groups who combine nature and culture. He is also a dedicated 3:14 marathon runner, right now training for Buenos Aires Marathon on October 11.

Connect with Gunnar on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

DISCLAIMER: This blogpost contains an affiliate links to books I personally recommend. A small percentage is given to me as commission if you purchase the book.

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