Got LinkedIn hacks? I wanted to know how resourceful folks are making the most of LinkedIn and bending the rules these days so I asked them via a recent LinkedIn update and here are some of the hacks they kindly shared. I’ve included some of my fave hacks too. Sharing is caring, so please pass this on 🙂
Update (Feb 2019): Has it really been 18 months since I wrote this? Wow. Time flies. I’ve not been resting on my laurels, I found more hacks 🙂 Wrote about them here:
8 Stunningly Clever LinkedIn Hacks
AUDIENCE & BRAND BUILDING
(1) UNICODE TO BE UNIQUE TEXTUALLY
I happened to see Andy Hawkins’ Profile the other day and was impressed and intrigued by the Matrix-like text waterfall on the word “hacker” in his Headline. Never seen that before.
How did he do it? LinkedIn doesn’t even let you type spaces!
I messaged my friend Shane Gramling https://www.linkedin.com/in/gramling who is a whiz with all things design & graphics (he designed my spiffy new LinkedInsights.com logo btw). Shane quickly found out how Hawkins did it. Turns out he simply used the “Glitch Text Generator” by lingojam https://lingojam.com/GlitchTextGenerator
There’s even a “Craziness Level” slider. Simply type your normal text in the left box and the software will present “glitchy” text in the right box. Copy that glitchy text and paste it in any LinkedIn text field. Voila. You have now been freed of all text restrictions on LinkedIn, you can add “fancy” or “glitchy” text anywhere on your profile. My advice: use this new found ability sparingly, nothing worse than seeing a profile full of bat shit crazy symbols/text. There’s a very thin line between annoying distraction and getting attention on this professional site ya’ll. Less is more, I’ll demonstrate:
I used “Fancy Text Generator” https://lingojam.com/FancyTextGenerator to get the blocky, black background for “YOU”. I like the way it works with my logo. Everything may look spiffy on your desktop but be sure to check the mobile version, some of this unicode just doesn’t work on IOS/Android, can look like garbage.
(2) LEVERAGE THE POWER OF HASHTAGS
LinkedIn hashtags are a relatively new feature on LinkedIn (Feb, 2017) and they’re great for associating you with a particular search term (for example: #linkedinhacks). You can use them on your summary, updates, articles, company pages and you can add them when commenting. Hashtags essentially bring people to you and show you where engagement runs and coalesces. Study the Grandaddy of hashtags (twitter) and see how and what is being tagged on LinkedIn. My advice: don’t get trampled by the bandwagon, create your own unique hashtags and build your own unique base of support. Thanks to Mark Stonham https://www.linkedin.com/in/markstonham for sharing how he has been able to leverage unique LinkedIn hashtags as a key part of his LinkedIn marketing strategy.
(3) BUILD AUDIENCE FROM LINKEDIN TO FACEBOOK
This one intrigues me. I’m not a Facecbook guy, maybe I should be? John McGarry is. He shared this hack “I export my connections on LinkedIn and then import the email addresses into Facebook to create a Facebook Audience or list . This audience is made up of the people who used the same email address when creating their LinkedIn and Facebook account. Normally I get around a 50% match when doing this. I can now promote my content to my connections on Facebook where they are most definitely spending much more time than on LinkedIn.” Seems like a neat and effective method to find your LinkedIn peeps on Facebook and cater to them where they spend a lot more time. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcgarryjohn
(4) INCREASE PROFILE TRAFFIC
If you build it, they will come. Right? My advice: create your clickable LinkedIn profile badge and add it to your email signature, blog and anywhere else it could get clicked. It’s really easy to do, makes you look like a total LinkedIn pro and more importantly, encourages people to visit your profile. Why wouldn’t you do this? Not having a clickable profile badge is like having an open house in a castle with the draw-bridge up. Click on “Edit your public profile”
Look for “Create a public profile badge” at the bottom right, click on it and follow the directions.
Here’s mine (just a screen shot folks, don’t click on it):
(5) GET ON SOMEONE’S RADAR
The quickest non intrusive way to ping someone on LinkedIn? Visit their profile. Obviously make sure that you are not in anonymous mode, so they know it’s you. If they return browse, you’re off to the engagement races. Either send them an invitation request, a free message (see #10 below) or find their email and take the conversation off LinkedIn. You’ve only got 300 characters in the invitation box, be succinct, don’t spam. What’s in it for them?
(6) THE SMART WAY TO BUILD YOUR NETWORK
PYMK (People you may know) is a very handy tool LinkedIn gives everyone for free (currently). It uses an algorithm to suggest people proximate to you geographically and helpfully tells you how many people you have in common.
I’ve built a tightly knit network full of amazing people using the following technique: (1) click on PYMK (2) click on someone with more than 10 connections in common (3) look at their “Highlights” section (4) send a connection request communicating what you have in common. I’ll demonstrate with Geoffrey:
Including a personal message when seeking to connect is never “optional”, ok? Geoffrey accepted my connection request shortly after I sent it. I have a very high success rate using this technique.
(7) EXTEND COMMERCIAL SEARCH LIMIT & BROWSE ANONYMOUSLY
I’ll be searching away, getting stuff done when LinkedIn suddenly decides to throttle my industriousness.
Fucking annoying, right? Don’t get mad, get resourceful. I just continue my search in my other profile. I’ve never had to end a search because of the “commercial use limit”. The only thing you need to open a LinkedIn account is an email address. Bonus: instead of farting around in settings every time you want/need to browse someone anonymously (we all do it) – just use a fake name 2nd account with the anonymous setting already dialed in. Obviously: using a fake 2nd account is against the LinkedIn UA, so you should understand that there is always a risk when you bend specific LinkedIn rules.
(8) CONNECT WITH YOUR SHARERS
Whenever you post an update or write something on LinkedIn, the platform shows you who has shared your stuff. What a tremendous opportunity to engage with your engagers! Send a connection request thanking them. These folks have actually used their valuable time to share and promote you, they are the folks who make content go viral, they are the catalysts in a social chain reaction. My advice: embrace and pull them in to your network, tout suite.
(9) CONNECT WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS
Same approach with Followers – someone cared enough to follow you? You know they’re just dying to be asked to connect, right? To find out who is following you, click the 3 dots at top right of any post in your Homepage feed, click “Improve feed”, then click on the number of Followers near the top left of the page.
My thanks to Bruce Johnston https://www.linkedin.com/in/brucejohnston115 for this hack (btw if you ever need to find a certain type of customer/person on LinkedIn, Bruce is your man – he specializes in advanced search techniques via LinkedIn. He’s also Canadian, which means he’s smart, fun and incredibly polite).
(10) SEND FREE MESSAGES TO ANYONE
Did you know that one of the major benefits of joining a LinkedIn group is that you can send messages for free to any fellow group member? This major loophole was kinda closed by LinkedIn (June 2015) when they got wise and limited group messaging to a maximum of 15 messages per month. Nonetheless still a great way to communicate for free. Make them count. See someone you want to communicate with (and don’t want to pay for InMail)? My advice: look at their profile to see what groups he/she belongs to, join one of those groups and send a precious free message.
(11) “FIND” YOUR SEMI-ANONYMOUS BROWSER
Some people like to lead you on.
Instead of being anonymous, they tease you with [Job Title] at [Employer]. Why? Good question. My advice: click on the semi-anonymous badge and then click on all 10 of the possible browser profiles on the first page. Why? Because the person who was trying to hide will potentially be impressed that you “found” them. Bonus – you’ve just increased your profile visits since a high percentage of those other folks you clicked on may be curious enough to return browse. Win, win, win.
(12) DO IT ALL IN COMMENTS
LinkedIn doesn’t like when you add a url in the main post, they penalize you because they don’t want people to be tempted away from LinkedIn to other sites. Penalize how? They’ll reduce the circulation of the post by showing it to fewer people. So if you’re dying to add that link, add it as the first comment beneath the post and don’t get penalized. My thanks to Ben Bradbury for sharing this hack https://www.linkedin.com/in/benbradbury1 If you want to keep an eye on a post simply add a comment and LinkedIn will notify you of any additional comments, until the discussion dies down, or until you mute the post itself. Tagging someone in comments is roulette. My advice: if you can’t tag someone go ahead and add “@” before their name when you reply/comment so they can see that you tried to tag and it was LinkedIn’s fault that you couldn’t.
[addendum: You can sneak a URL bypassing the algorithm (even above the comment line) by: (1) writing your update without link; (2) post; (3) edit and then add link. My thanks to Carol Roberts for the additional hack :)]
(13) WHAT HAVE YOU WRITTEN, WHAT’S YOUR REACH?
LinkedIn seems to have put LinkedIn publishing on the back burner. A lot of smart people I know are eschewing publishing (aka long posts) for updates (short posts), for a bunch of reasons to be discussed elsewhere. One of the annoying changes of the new LinkedIn UI (Jan 2017) was relegating an author’s content to a scrolling list of content which didn’t show stats. But thankfully the old view and reach info is still there, you just need to know how to find it. Simply add the author’s handle to https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/[x name of author] i.e https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/linkedinsights (to see mine) and now you can see all of someone’s Publisher content at a glance, including views/likes and comments. Thanks to Michael (Mike) Webster https://www.linkedin.com/in/franchiseeattorney for this hack.
(14) FEED LONG POST WITH SHORT POST ENGAGEMENT
So this one’s untested, by me at least. But Kishore Dharmarajan https://www.linkedin.com/in/kishoredharmarajan swears by it. In essence he published a long form post (Publisher article) and then a short post (update) without a link, he says as soon as your short post gets 500 views insert the link to that post in your article. He reckons the momentum of the short post “takes the long post with it”. I dunno, could work? Anyone out there with hard evidence? Another commenter on this subject, Jim Hayes https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimrhayes said that he managed to get 41k views/750 likes on a long form post which he promoted to his interested connections on LinkedIn (by tagging and messaging them) and then spent $50 to promote to interested twitter audience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: LinkedIn needs to let people opt in to read their favorite authors. That’s why people are resorting to these hacks.
EXPLOITING MOBILE WEIRDNESS
(15) CONNECT WITH ANYONE VIA MOBILE
Some people have reported that it’s dead easy to connect with anyone on LinkedIn on your phone. Sometimes, on the desktop version you need to know their email as part of the connection request. So I tried to connect with Jessica Alba (I really wanted to connect with Jessica Chastain, but alas she’s not on LinkedIn).
And found it much easier on mobile.
Thanks to Dave Campbell https://www.linkedin.com/in/davecampbellofficial and Jonathan Taylor https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonjaytaylor for this hack. I’m not sure if my connection request to Alba went anywhere. Hat tip to the somewhat audacious Stan Tran https://www.linkedin.com/in/stan-ai who seems to have been successful (It’s his screenshot I’m showing below), knock yourself out people.
(16) GET AN EXTENDED HEADLINE
For some strange reason it’s (currently) possible to type an extra long Headline on mobile, so instead of being limited to the usual 120 characters on the desktop, you can type up to 220. Look at how much attention space Shane Gramling gets compared to the other also rans.
My thanks to Shane Gramling https://www.linkedin.com/in/gramling and Sebastian Nagel https://www.linkedin.com/in/sebastiaannagel for telling me about this one. Bonus: if you’re comfortable doing the grunt work on mobile and don’t want to use a 2nd LinkedIn account to search (after the ‘commercial use limit’ kicks in), then just do all of your searches on mobile – apparently there is no limit. Thanks to Johnny Rafidi https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnnyrafidi for telling me about this.
(17) IT’S NOT LINKEDIN, IT’S YOU
You could be forgiven for blaming LinkedIn every time something strange happens or the platform doesn’t behave in the usual manner. Everyone knows that there are bugs from time to time. Well before you start typing that complaint in Help Center (Customer Support) or communicating your ire to LinkedIn’s twitter support handle (@LinkedInHelp), go ahead and clear your web browser cache. Taking this simple step basically flushes most of the interweb code snafus away and you’ll get a clean slate. Could be all that was required.
Thanks to Bruce Johnston https://www.linkedin.com/in/brucejohnston115 for the sensible reminder. LinkedIn Customer Support thanks you too!
(18) HOW BIG IS SOMEONE’S NETWORK, EXACTLY?
LinkedIn does this net nanny thing where they slap a 500+ label on a profile when you reach that arbitrary threshold. Most people know that to see the exact number above 500, you simply click on ‘Activity’. But what if the person has no activity? SOL right? Nope. You just add the magic ‘recent-activity’ after their LinkedIn url. I’ll demonstrate with Oonie’s profile:
i.e https://www.linkedin.com/in/ooniechase/ becomes https://www.linkedin.com/in/ooniechase/recent-activity and now we know that Oonie has 1,317 ‘Followers’ (Connections).
I was first alerted to this hack by the very thorough and clever Sid Clark https://www.linkedin.com/in/sidclark
That’s all folks. Thanks for reading all the way down to here. I know you’ve got a ton of important stuff to do today. I hope you found these hacks, enormously useful 🙂
I wrote an article back in 2013 (3 Stunningly Good LinkedIn Profile SUMMARIES) which bootstrapped my LinkedIn consulting career, 2,000 people have shared it on social media. The guidance I gave 4 years ago in that popular (and widely ripped off) post is still applicable today, I hope you get an opportunity to read it sometime. If you need help with your LinkedIn profile, summary, headline or LinkedIn strategy/goals/aspirations, email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m currently accepting new clients.