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October 23, 2010
LinkedIn With POTUS

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know I’ve dished out career advice for creative professionals in the past. I recall writing if creatives only spent as much time and energy managing their careers as they do creating their work, they wouldn’t be where they are now -- unemployed or unhappy.

I’m back on topic today and on my mind is LinkedIn. Chances are you have a LinkedIn account. I was on LinkedIn the other night and was eyeing the “Viewers of this profile also viewed ...” when I spotted a familiar name -- Barack Obama.

It was late. I blinked a little incredulously. Barack Obama, the President of the United States, on LinkedIn? Now, I know in our social media world we can follow celebrities and athletes and just about anyone else on Twitter and Facebook, but I’ve treated LinkedIn as more reserved for professional contacts.

Check out President Obama’s LinkedIn page here. He’s a No. 3 level to me, which also was surprising. But note his profile. It’s like he’s one of us. There’s his Current: President at United States of America. He has more than 500 contacts. His Interests are basketball, writing, and spending time with his kids.

Wait, a second. Obama? Ogden? We’ve got a lot in common! Then an idea took shape. Why not try to add POTUS to my network? I hit “Add Barack to your network” and sent in a request. Mr. President, I’m awaiting your confirmation.

OK, so I’m dreaming. A handler handles his LinkedIn account. But how cool it would be. I’d love it if just my daughter could score a playdate with his daughters.

Anyway, when you’re on LinkedIn and try to add a contact, LinkedIn puts the following message in. “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” I use this, but tailor the message by adding in a little personal charm.

For example, with Obama, I wrote: “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn because we're both in our 40s, we both lived in Chicago, we both have daughters about the same age (mine would love a playdate with your girls!), and we both wisely married up!”

Wouldn’t that hit home and make him smile? I think so. You can do the same with your LinkedIn requests and boost the acceptance rate. Just think about your shared history and jot them a personal note.

Of course, there are many other tips and tricks with LinkedIn like groups, the ability to share presentations and blogs. You can link to your websites. There’s now a follow feature. You can create a poll and send it to your network for free.

For networking, sales, exposure, and job hunting, it’s hard to beat LinkedIn. The latest stats are impressive. LinkedIn has more than 80 million members in more than 200 countries. Every Fortune 500 has executives on LinkedIn, and every second, a new member joins LinkedIn.

True, Facebook has millions more. Twitter has its rabid fan base, but as someone once said, LinkedIn is your business suit, Facebook is your casual dress, and Twitter is a cocktail party. Business can happen on any social network. It’s just that LinkedIn is better suited for presenting your professional brand.

If you’re unemployed or unhappy at work, it might be time to revisit your LinkedIn profile to update it and to take advantage of new features. You can visit my LinkedIn account here.

I welcome connections and your suggestions. Maybe by the time you reach out to me, I’ll be able to count the POTUS in my LinkedIn network and christen you a No. 2 level contact to the leader of the free world.

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Mike Ogden is a digital/senior writer based in Kansas City. Ad agency stops have enabled him to create for major brands like American Century, Capital One, Sprint, and USAA. Seasoned and sharp with a touch of gray, Ogden, aka Og, is known for creating and championing ideas. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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