Tag Archives: LinkedIn

LinkedIn cloned accounts show our desire to connect to scammers

I regularly get requests to connect with people on LinkedIn. Sometimes they want to hire me, sometimes they want to follow my updates or try to access my other connections to connect on through.

But today I got a request from Omar Lavoie,  a commander in the Canadian Army. His credentials were very impressive indeed.


Intrigued, I looked at his profile. I replied to his connection request and asked where we had met. I also connected with him out of pure curiosity and waited for his response to my initial message.

I then became suspicious that the ‘real’ Omer Lavoie’s account had been cloned and I was getting messages from someone quite different to the person I expected to hear from.

I received two emails in quick succession:


This is not the sort of English I would expect from someone at this level in the Army. the grammar is poor and the terminology could be a lot better. I then received a response to my connection request email:


Why on earth would a Commander in the Army change jobs to become a ‘self-employed non-governmental business personnel’?

I checked out Omer Lavoie on LinkedIn and i was not surprised at all to find two  Omer Lavoie accounts. the name was the same names and so were the profile images. One was the account I’d just connected to and another at my 3rd degree level connection.


My 3rd level connection Omer had actually been working at 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade but he stopped that role in June 2012. My first level connection is doing that job now.

Brigadier General Lavoie has had his LinkedIn profile cloned by someone who is using his account profile to connect with a variety of people around the world. The cloned account has some strange connections – non of them connected to the army.

But I’m puzzled. Why should someone want to clone an existing account and use this account to reach out to my connections?  Why use someone well know, easily contactable and high profile?

Why use the naive language exhorting me to chat by Skype? The army has proper conferencing facilities. What is this person’s agenda for connecting with me? 

Perhaps it is someone bored and wanting to chat. Perhaps it is a crude attempt to mine contact information from LinkedIn. But whatever the motives. This Mr Lavoie has been blocked, reported to LinkedIn and blogged about.

Perhaps I should have taken them along a little further – just for the ride….

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Are you being ‘used’ for your connections on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is an amazing tool and the site that professionals rely on to keep in touch with their connections and maintain that connection throughout your career. It is often frustrating to try and get in touch with someone only to find that they have moved companies and you no longer have their updated details or new phone number.


With LinkedIn you can maintain the connection easily, staying in touch as each of you move roles and progress across companies, email address and phone number.

Used correctly, LinkedIn is very powerful.

Some connections use the LinkedIn Openlink Network, available to premium subscribers.

This enables connections to connect with and send messages to anyone in their network.

Others might append LION to their display name to indicate that they are a LinkedIn Open Networker and open to connecting.

But LinkedIn is also ruthlessly used by people who use you to mine your connections and get connected to your own business contacts, partners and customers. This can put your own LinkedIn connections at risk – especially if you maintain good relationships with your clients and partners on LinkedIn.

You could lose competitive advantage, and run the risk of losing business, simply by adding a new contact to your LinkedIn network.

You might receive a message to connect in LinkedIn like this. The messages might be from someone you didn’t know and they might say:

“Hi Eileen, We’re both connected to [CONNECTION NAME] and she mentioned that you would be a great person to connect with. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

If you look at their profile you might find that they work in a similar role or geographical area to you. Their website says that they work with different customers, but they blog about moving into working with the sort of clients that you actually have.

By connecting with the new connection, you might find that they are connecting with all of your hard-won LinkedIn contacts with the aim of doing business with them.

LinkedIn makes it easy to to this by publishing your connections to your contacts by default.  You can turn this setting off in your profile so that no one can see your other connections unless you have mutual connections.

The setting is in the Profile tab of your settings and is accessed by clicking the “Select who can see your connections” link. Change the drop down list box to “Only you”. if you want to protect your connections from being spammed by people they do not know.


If you want to protect your LinkedIn connections and customers, maintain the business relationships you have the consider changing the privacy of your connections and make sure that your customers stay loyal to you – no matter what social network they use…

Image Credit: pasukaru76

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

LinkedIn announces invite only LinkedIn Contacts

LinkedIn is moving even closer to becoming your one stop shop for managing your business relationships. It has been adding features to contacts for some time now with tags and notes fields so you can use LinkedIn as a CRM tool.

imageNow with its introduction of LinkedIn contacts you can bring all of your contacts together from your address books, emails and calendars.

Not only that, but you can remind yourself of the last contact you had with your connection before you go to meet them. Currently this facility is in beta in the connections Notes field, but this re-vamp brings threads together in one UI.

You can now organise your contacts by their job titles, and sources – as well as managing your saved connections.

Existing contact information — such as tagged and location specific information are still there and there is an option to de-duplicate address book imports with the ‘potential merges’ tab.image

When a connection is highlighted, there is the option to see all related information about the contact.

You can see your recent conversations with the contact, any meeting that you arranged – as well as notes about the connection.

You can set reminders about meetings, document how you met the connection – important when you’re managing hundreds of connections and tag the contact from one new tabbed interface.

Information about your connections now appears on your contacts page.  You can now see recommendations, job changes, birthdays and other opportunities to get in touch with your connections.

Register your interest at LinkedIn to be added to the waitlist

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

LinkedIn moves closer to becoming the professional site we rely on

LinkedIn has repositioned itself as a go to site for business professionals. It acquired slideshare last year and has incorporated some of its features into its company pages. You can now drive extra engagement with page followers by attaching files such as presentations, pdf’s and white papers and adding them to company page updates.

LinkedIn is the top social media site for business executives according to a survey reported by Forbes and LinkedIn wants to make sure that it stays that way. It has recently introduced features  such as LinkedIn Today


Users can also follow their favourite influencers.  LinkedIn has identified thought leaders in its network and you can now follow them – just like you can follow companies. The program is now closed but you can apply to be considered a thought leader and might just be included in its list.

We use social media for a variety of reasons – and those reasons are different to the reasons we use Facebook for.  Hubspot has a nice infographic showing the differences between personal social networks  and business social networks and their different needs. In summary these differences are:

Personal Social Network

Professional Social Networks

Distraction, Having fun Aspiration, Achievement
Spending time Investing time
socialising, staying in touch Maintaining Identity, searching for opportunities, make useful contacts
Find content that suits personal interests Get updates on Brands
Get entertainment updates Read up on current affairs

LinkedIn is also testing sponsored content – similar to Facebook’s sponsored stories which will be filtering down to our mobile devices in 2013.  The new UI is certainly much better than its old interface.  The ability to manage connections ands use LinkedIn as a CRM tool for notes and details as well as using Tags for good CRM.

LinkedIn is becoming a very credible business tool that professionals use extensively. And with its income up 66 per cent in Q4 2012 it is a tool that more and more of us will come to rely on absolutely.

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Using LinkedIn company pages to extend your reach.

More and more of my client work involves LinkedIn nowadays. Lots of LinkedIn users use LinkedIn to advance their career. Now companies are really starting to see the value of LinkedIn for three reasons.

Customer connections and customer relationship management

Finding new clients and partners

Elevating their own personal brand so that they stand out in the crowded jobs market.

imageBut companies are using LinkedIn too to make better connections with their customers. Maersk Line and LinkedIn have been talking about the benefits that Maersk Line gets from LinkedIn.

Maersk uses its LinkedIn company page to really connect with its customers.

The page has over 32,000 followers and updates its page daily.

Most of its updates have comments – all have likes by the community. Its products and services page has recommendations for almost every service Maersk offers. 

As it says on its Maersk social blog – every recommendation of its products and services extends its reach of the network. 

I suspect its structured groups will increase its reach and engagement further.

There are almost 3 million company pages on LinkedIn – some large organisations such as IBM, Deloitte and Shell. Small organisations have a great presence too. Almost 200,000 company pages have been created for UK organisations.

The UK small businesses seem to have embraced LinkedIn pages too. Over 82,000 UK based businesses with less than 10 people have company pages. That is 45.8 per cent of the total number of pages.

And 40 of these small businesses with 1-10 staff have over 1000 followers of their page.


Contrast this with US based businesses. There are over 742,000 businesses in the US that have LinkedIn pages. 318,550 are from businesses with less than 10 employees. That’s 42.9 per cent compared with 45.8 per cent of firms in the UK.

Three companies in the US with only 1-10 employees have over 5000 followers. One is a valid small business (not a government organisation) too:


And the most followed company on LinkedIn? Worley Parsons. Headquartered in Australia it has over 53.5 million followers. The company keeps its users engaged by its mix of social updates, career information and news.


LinkedIn has several ways to increase your reach, stay top of mind in across industry. Adding valid credible comments to companies you follow means that other followers will get the chance to see your profile, connect with you and start up a conversation with you.  Just like groups, company pages give you exposure well outside of your  first degree connections.

It is worth looking at engaging with companies if you want to really extend your reach and connect across the industry.  all you have to do is click ‘Follow’ Smile

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

How to use LinkedIn for CRM: Notes and details

When you were tagging your LinkedIn connections, you might have seen some other links on your connection information. LinkedIn provides a handy way to track conversations with your connections and add other useful information

Usually these fields are blank where the connection has not filled in many LinkedIn details on their profile. Some of your connections might have more comprehensive information.

Click on the edit details link to see other information that you can add about the contact:


I can add a selection of phone numbers, web sites, social sites, spouse and manager information. I can add my own custom fields, birthdays and contact notes.


This extra information might just help you when you are trying to work out where and when you met someone. you can look up details such as what you talked about, who their spouse is  — and when their birthday is.

The downside at the moment is that these fields are not exported into the CSV file to upload into your contacts manager – nor are they recognised by the outlook social connector to populate your contacts in Outlook. Perhaps someone at Microsoft might want to create a skunk works project to make this happen? 

The LinkedIn notes feature gives you yet another reason to transfer all of that business card information into LinkedIn’s contact details and throw those dead business cards away  Smile

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Keeping LinkedIn fresh for discoverability and SEO

Its important to update your LinkedIn profile often, but how often?


A recent poll on Smart blogs indicated that less than half of LinkedIn users update their profiles more than once a year:

    • I do it more than once a year: 47.12%
    • I do it once a year or less: 36.09%
    • I don’t have a LinkedIn profile: 8.02%
    • I don’t revise my profile: 7.52%
    • Not sure: 1.25%

You do not even need to directly update your profile to get noticed by SEO spiders. Something as simple as updating your status will do. This announces to the search engines that your LinkedIn profile page is active and should be re-indexed by the search engines.

Any type of status update will do. Traditional update, sharing a link, commenting on another person’s status update. All of these activities places an incremental flag on the database entry that contains your profile and announces to the web crawlers to index your entry.

So keep LinkedIn fresh. Use it for profile management, connection management and to reach out to new people. LinkedIn is a fantastic CRM tool – but many of the little known features of LinkedIn are the ones that will help you work your connections the most..

Look out for a future post on using LinkedIn as a CRM tool and really enhance how you use it.

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Image credit: Knutux

LinkedIn now hides your profile details by default

LinkedIn’s settings prevent the use of effective business networking.  Here’s a screen shot of who has looked at my profile recently:


When i joined LinkedIn in 2005, all profiles were open.  if someone looked at my profile, then it encouraged me to get in touch with them and re-forge the connection – or make new connections and initiate conversation.

LinkedIn has been layering extra levels of security and privacy onto its new accounts.  If you upgrade your account to a subscription option, then you will be able to see who has viewed your profile. For users with the basic subscription you will not be able to see everyone who has viewed your profile.

For new users too, there is an issue.  The default setting on LinkedIn is for your details not to be viewed by default.  This raises an interesting question.

Why do you want to hide your details if the whole purpose of your joining LinkedIn is to effectively carry our business networking?

You don’t attend business meetings and refuse to share any details about yourself.  You give our information about your name and job role.  You hand out your business card and chat about what you do – unless you work in the security services of course.

But now, more and more people who have created accounts on LinkedIn find that they are hidden by default from their colleagues and potential new employers.

Here’s how to change the setting and check whether your LinkedIn account is showing the details that you want it to.

Look for the Settings link under your name in the top right hand corner of the home page



Click on the Profile tab on the left – and the link Select what others can see when you’ve viewed their profile


Choose your display options


Click on Save Changes.

Perhaps you want to be anonymous for a while – as you are building up your profile, or looking at profiles from a company where you might like to work. But many new users of LinkedIn are not aware that their profiles are hidden – and are unaware that they can easily change this setting.

LinkedIn are trading ease of connecting with the desire to earn revenue outside of traditional advertising – and compromising the ethos of the service.

Not good…


LinkedIn users love groups and people they may know


Here are some interesting facts about LinkedIn uncovered and made into an infographic by Wayne Breitbarth.  He surveyed 300 people in the US over a month and came up with a great infographic…


-90.9% of those surveyed use the free version of LinkedIn

- 51.6% of respondents had 200 or less contacts whilst 5.1% of participants had over 1000 connections on LinkedIn

-48.1% of profiles are incomplete – so they are missing out on being found in search results and taking advantage of some of LinkedIn’s advanced features

54.7% of respondents were members of 10 or more groups

- 10.5% of people were spending more than 8 hours a week on LinkedIn.

How much time do you invest in LinkedIn?

76.9% found it helpful for research about companies and people

- 68.6% commented that it was helpful to reconnect with people

- 49.7% stated that it helped them build new relationships with people who may influence new customers

- 44.5% said it helped them be more effective in face to face networking

- and 38.3% said LinkedIn helped them uncover potential opportunities.

Favourite Features?

- 79% love Groups

– 70.6% searching for people

- 66.6% people you may know suggestions

In todays turbulent job market, we move roles regularly. LinkedIn keeps you in contact with the person – no matter how many new work email addresses and mobile phone numbers they happen to have.  For this, as well as being able to keep in touch with connections through sharing and status updates are what makes it an imperative business tool for the professional worker.  It’s much more than an online repository for your CV.  Its now a vital business tool to keep you connected.

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: TheSeafarer

25 ways to improve your online SEO

imageI’ve decided to choose different resolutions this year – just to be different. 

This year, I’m focusing on my online activities and trying to improve what I do online.

Hints and tips for online activity are all well and good – but they’ve got to be achievable.  Unrealistic targets just demotivate people and defeats the objective. 

I hope that these changes I’ll make will improve my online SEO. Looking at the statistics from last year, my blog is getting found for different reasons.  This year, I want to target how readers land on my blog pages.  i want them to arrive here because of social media content, not because of hamsters and kittens as my blogging 2011 year in review indicated

So my 2012 resolutions are easy to keep – hopefully:


Blog http://eileenbrown.wordpress.com:

  • Blog regularly – at least twice per week. 
  • Use lots of white space in blog posts for better SEO
  • Use relevant and useful anchor text links
  • Divide posts up into sub headings for better SEO
  • Use SEO friendly blog titles.  For example the initial title of this post was ‘Improving online SEO’ which I changed as the post evolved

Twitter http://twitter.com/eileenb:

  • Use the 80: 20 rule.  80% relevant, interesting work related tweets, 20% home related or observational personal tweets
  • Use the automatic retweet feature only when the original tweet is too long to use the RT feature, or wouldn’t make sense if shortened
  • Don’t start reply tweets with the @name response.  Adding text in front of the @name brings all of your followers into your conversation
  • Try to tweet daily. Keep things interesting
  • Respond to tweets and direct messages promptly, with humour and kindness

Facebook http://facebook.com/AmastraUK :

  • Ask more questions on my Facebook pages.  Treat each page as a second account with its own personality
  • Cross link my book Facebook page to my company Facebook page (—done)
  • Update the pages regularly
  • Drive people to each page to encourage interaction and engagement
  • Share  interesting links I find

LinkedIn http://LinkedIn.com/in/eileenbrown :

  • Read group digest emails and respond to group discussions
  • Add an auto-signature to each message I post in a group so that I’m contactable
  • Use the remove connections link to prune LinkedIn connections who are using my network as a way to connect with new people
  • Update my LinkedIn status regularly
  • Keep the LinkedIn company page up to date

Google + http://gplus.to/eileenb :

  • Update status with blog posts and updates
  • Share Facebook interesting information with Google + followers
  • Share Google + links with Facebook followers
  • Invest more time in updating the Google + company page
  • Decide whether to prioritise activity on Google + over Facebook, or drop Google + completely

I wonder whether I’ll succeed in my goals for 2012, or whether my final score is only 10/25.

Lets see… Smile


Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image Credit Search Engine People