Today on Twitter I was complaining about a problem I was having using LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network that connects working professionals around the world. About 8 months ago – LinkedIn was probably one of my favorite online Networks. I would constantly praise the fact that they did not allow pictures in their profiles – so that unlike other networks it wasn’t a meat market or potential dating site. Of course now they do allow photos – but I think it’s limited to one.

But as I got more involved with Social Media – I found myself using it less and less. One of the things that I love most about Social Media is the Open Nature of communication – and I’ve felt that things like LinkedIn Mail are barriers to real communication. And in a world that moves as fast as this one – barriers just don’t work anymore.

Additionally – I was having issues with what I thought were expired invitations – although I might have been looking at the InMail system incorrectly. So in this case it was plain and simple user error.

In any event – I sent out a tweet about how frustrated I was with LinkedIn – and how I thought it was a closed system. Imagine my surprise when I immediately (I mean within 5 seconds) heard from one of the folks who works for LinkedIn. Steve Ganz. Now Steve and I have never met – so I imagine he must have been using the Twitter tracking service to track the keyword “LinkedIn”. What’s really awesome – is not only did he look into my issue – and politely let me know that I was actually mistaken. But he also offered to open up the discussion about why I think LinkedIn is a closed system – and what I think they can do to improve. Nice. Here’s the email I received:

Hi Erica,

I did a little digging and found that there really aren’t any instances that we actually expire a request. Can you tell me what type of request it was that expired for you?

The only thing I can think of is if you were to send a LinkedIn invitation request to someone who wasn’t already a member, we would send out a reminder to them once or twice and then stop the reminders. But it never actually expires.


P.S. Also, if you wouldn’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear more about your feelings that LinkedIn is a closed system. What can we do to open it up more for you?

How’s that for Open Dialogue? I’m going to be formulating a list of things I love/hate about LinkedIn as it currently stands for Steve and also post them here. So expect an update on this soon. In the meantime – Kudos to LinkedIn for an amazingly quick response and terrific user support!

It’s interesting to note that today’s users not only expect companies to listen – they also expect them to respond and take action. My friend John Moore often says: “Be Everywhere Your Customers Expect You To Be”. I think the follow-up to that is – “If you want to really impress your customers – be where they don’t expect you to be too.” Once again – Bravo to LinkedIn for listening, responding, taking action, and being cool enough to hang out on Twitter.

10 Responses to “When Companies Get It Right: LinkedIn Hits the Mark”

  1. [...] Comment, Comment, Comment: Commenting on Blog posts by sharing feedback and or getting involved in the community shows a real passion about the topics at hand. Especially in communities like technology/web/internet, you will gain a massive amount of respect if you can hold your own. Be active on your own blog: So, you wrote a blog, people are getting to it, linking to it, and commenting on it…you’re done right? WRONG! There is still another step to this, staying active and responding to your comments shows that you care about the community following you. The Mozzers over at SEOMoz do a great job of staying active on their own blog, and same with Aaron Wall of SEOBook. Ever heard of “Twitter”, if not, you better!: Microblogging using sites like twitter is an awesome way to reach users and amazingly enough, control any negativity. Although it is widely used for sending out updates and such, using the “track” feature, you can find out what people are saying about your brand. Steve Ganz at LinkedIn does this CONSTANTLY and I am always watching him follow up with complaints, issues, etc. and it just makes me feel good knowing that some people really “get it.” As a matter of fact, a blog post recently talked about how LinkedIn Hits the Mark. [...]

  2. P.S. GetSatisfaction allows anyone to set up a customer forum for any company.

    Comcast’s not using that as effectively, but some smaller companies (like Value of n’s Sandy) use it for all of the customer support.

  3. Bobby Moore says:

    Great stuff and missed you last night at the tasting room. please call me when you get a chance. I have a great oppportunity for you. (713) 385-0077

  4. Ynema Mangum says:

    I love LinkedIn. When I was looking for a job, my connections through LinkedIn were like gold in my pocket. So, I’m really grateful that site is alive and kickin’!

  5. I’ve been on LinkedIn longer than Facebook and Twitter, and while I love both Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn frustrates me continually. Part of the problem, I think, is that Facebook and Twitter are totally free, whereas LinkedIn has a higher level that has a fee and on principle I refuse to pay that fee.

    So I am constantly thwarted when trying to make connections on LinkedIn by getting that notice that if I paid the fee I’d have more access. Personally, until LinkedIn changes that aspect, LinkedIn will never be as useful as Facebook and Twitter.

  6. Erica,
    I saw your presentation at PowerTools. You have some very innovative ideas. I am a Grants Manager, but I am also an author.
    I signed up on Twitter as you suggested. However, I’m not sure how to “follow” people. Actually, because I’m a writer – I’m not terribly social.
    Have any suggestions on how I can start doing better on Twitter.
    my name there is “mmjournal”.

  7. [...] Erica O’Grady, Peanut Butter Media"When Companies Get It Right: LinkedIn Hits the Mark"We love examples of companies showing how to appropriately engage customers, because those experiences make such an impact. (link) [...]

  8. chale espinosa says:

    I was surprised and turned off, when I tried to send a message via LinkedIn Mail, and was asked that before send the message had to up grade. It made sound that, you dont pay, you dont have access. Well I found the persons e-mail, it took a little more effort abd time, but I found it, and it was free. Restrictions such as the one imposed by LinkIn are a thing of the past, think about it.

  9. Lisa Stone says:

    Yes, I really respect LinkedIn’s response. And I think you did a great job with this post — giving props to companies that listen to users is as important (if not more so?) as letting those companies that don’t know they’re being watched. Closely.

    Look forward to seeing you at Mom 2.0!