A shocking discovery from a survey of 220 LinkedIn training participants in my workshops revealed that nearly two-thirds of them have NEVER downloaded their LinkedIn data.
Most LinkedIn users have spent quite a bit of time and effort building their network. Yet if the platform went away, changed the rules, or worse yet, you got suspended, all your hard work and your valuable network would be GONE! Poof.
In a world driven by data, it’s constantly changing.
If you’re like many LinkedIn users, you are probably overlooking diamonds in the rough in your data. Mining your data can give you a leading edge, especially when it comes to your LinkedIn database.
According to this Pew Research Center report, overall, 2.5% of workers—about 4 million—switched jobs on average each month from January to March 2022.
This share translates into an annual turnover of 30% of workers—nearly 50 million—if it is assumed that no workers change jobs more than once a year.
It is higher than in 2021, when 2.3% of workers switched employers each month, on average.
About a third (34%) of workers who left a job from January to March 2022—either voluntarily or involuntarily—were with a new employer the following month.
So when you first connected with Andy two years ago, he was at ABC company. Andy now works at XYZ company in a role that matches your ideal prospect. You wouldn’t know this unless you review your data.
Your next big deal or profitable relationship may be hiding in the data that you already have in your account.
It is critical to remember that LinkedIn is effectively rented space. Any number of things can compromise your access, including:
Restrictions on your account, which can happen even when you do nothing wrong
Phishing, malware, and attacks from hackers
Platform changes, enhancements, and upgrades
Even though the platform doesn’t belong to you, the connections, relationships, and history you have with people do. When you take the time to download your data, you are back in the driver’s seat and can make the most of this information.
The first step is to follow LinkedIn’s instructions for downloading your data.
Once you have the full archive zip file, you will see many different CSV files helping to categorize and organize your data. Here’s a video tutorial on how to get your data:
From here, you can start putting this data to work for you.
This is probably the most important section of your data. When I onboard my clients, this step often yields uncovered business opportunities. We start by importing the CSV download into a spreadsheet to allow us to sort the data in various ways.
Start with sorting by company, then create a filter to highlight the most relevant positions.
For instance, if you work with CFOs, filter the position column for that title. You can also add additional data points to your spreadsheet by viewing their profiles for industry, location, follower count, activity level, and more.
Once you have collected, filtered, and organized your data, you can implement a re-engagement strategy with your connections. After all, what’s the point of collecting connections with no further communication?
Here are some re-engagement strategies to activate your network:
Reengage with your connections who have changed jobs or locations.
Reach out to connections with whom you connected but never engaged.
Ask for and offer to make introductions to your connections.
Move your engaged connections to a CRM for nurturing follow-up.
Your messages CSV file can also yield hidden opportunities. This file has all the correspondence, both sent and received, from your LinkedIn inbox with your first-level connections.
Search your messages to find requests that were missed.
Search by keywords to find specific discussions.
Search by sent or received connection names.
Identify dropped conversations for follow-up.
After seeing all your information in one place, you may realize that the companies you are following are not relevant anymore. Unfollow connections and companies no longer relevant in order to focus your time on the relationships that matter to you. Streamlining your newsfeed to your preferences will make your overall experience more productive.
Keep in mind that it’s better to unfollow rather than remove a connection. When you unfollow, their activity will no longer show in your newsfeed, but you will still maintain second-degree proximity in your network.
Your connections are only the first step. There are many more ways you can put your data to work for you and your business.
Make use of the “Recommendations Given” CSV by adding them to your website and other marketing platforms to build your credibility. The last thing you want is to lose this valuable social proof because of a change to your LinkedIn account.
Your “Rich Media” CSV files are a virtual catalog of all the photos, articles, videos and documents you’ve shared on LinkedIn. Viewing this may help you discover ideas to build on for your content or other marketing strategies. Sometimes we spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel when the answers are right under our noses.
Do you remember all the apps that you have given LinkedIn permissions to? Most of us don’t. Your data is a good single spot to check in on your account and clean up any permissions that are no longer relevant or helpful. On the flip side, you may realize that you have tools you forget to use or take advantage of on LinkedIn.
One way to prevent losing your account is by keeping track of your logins and active sessions. It can help you identify if you have been hacked or if you have sessions open on devices that may be vulnerable.
Take the time to download your data on a regular basis: whenever your network has grown, before making major changes to your profile, or when you find that many of your connections may have changed jobs, roles or locations.
Your data is one of the most valuable assets in your business. You may be sitting on a gold mine without even realizing it.
• Download your complete LinkedIn database
• Analyze your data so you can leverage that information
• Look for opportunities to reengage your network
• Be a resource to your connections by engaging with them
• Utilize your data to build your credibility and discover opportunities
Judi Hays @judihays
LinkedIn Strategist and alumni of the SMMS Original Gang!
Author of ‘Elevate Expand Engage,’ a Refreshingly Different Approach to Winning on LinkedIn
Subscribe to my exclusive LinkedIn newsletter - The LinkedIn B2B Minute
Read my articles in Forbes