Sue Stockdale, I am a motivational speaker, executive coach and author, and work with clients ranging from global multinationals and leading Universities to entrepreneurs and not for profit organisations. They are based around the world and have one thing in common - the desire to achieve exceptional performance. (you can view Sue's LinkedIn profile here)
When was your LinkedIn date of birth?
October 11th 2004 which made me one of the first million users worldwide!
Finish this sentence "to me LinkedIn is………."
A quick and efficient tool to establish, build and maintain relationships. I tend to connect with a lot of people who have heard me speak so they know more about me than I do about them. LinkedIn helps me understand them better and assists me in being able to communicate in a relevant way that is of interest to them. I used to use a CRM tool called ACT but now I only use LinkedIn as it has all the functionality I need. I have created many detailed tags to keep my connections organised. For instance if someone sees me speak at an event where the subject is focused on Leadership then I will tag them as such and when I wish to share a blog or article on Leadership I will send a direct message to every connection with that tag.
When do you login to LinkedIn and how often?
At least once a day and very often visit the tab multiple times a day if I am in the office and even when I am on the move I will often check my messages & updates on my iPhone. I use it to check people out, consume news and information and contribute to groups
How many connections do you have and why do you connect with someone?
1095 The vast majority of my connections are people I have met, maybe 20% would be people who I haven’t met but who have invited me. I would only accept invites if I think they are relevant, I wrote a blog post recently about people who send invitations without personalizing the message and describing themselves as a ‘friend’ which is a real bugbear of mine! I connect with most clients unless they are a client I am working with as an associate of another organisation, in this situation I wouldn't feel it appropriate to invite them as that may be questionable in terms of ‘who owns the contact’. If they invited me that wouldn't be a problem but I am careful about inviting someone who is officially the ‘client’ of the company who have booked me.
What features of LinkedIn do you use most?
Status updating is the number 1 feature for me. I know my connections have a chance of seeing it on their homepage but more importantly they will get an email which may include my update. I try to make my updates relevant and interesting and if I do this on a consistent basis I do see some positive results. This feature helps me keep in touch, enhance my brand and show people what I do. If I read something good or see someone speak who is impressive I will always share this with my connections. I occasionally ‘like’ other people’s updates as well. Groups are also a favorite feature of mine as they are a great resource for me, for instance if I am preparing to give a talk on a certain subject I will ask a question in relevant groups and counsel the opinion of other relevant people but this also helps to build my profile and visibility. I find groups are a great place to get answers to questions and I don't think enough people use them for that. I really feel that groups are a community and I feel happy asking questions within a community like that and I find people are always keen to help you.
What is your favorite feature?
Who has viewed my profile, I frequently like to see who has viewed me although I don't usually act on it - often its fairly obvious why they have viewed me because we have just met, are about to meet or I have viewed their profile.
What success (if any) have you had from using LinkedIn?
I have received direct bookings as a result of people noticing my updates and then contacting me, often they were not aware that I spoke about a certain subject and that might be something they are keen to book a speaker or trainer for. I have a lot of recommendations and I know for a fact that they have helped to give me credibility for some speaking bookings, I think this also helps when people are considering whether they want to connect with me.
What new features would you like to see?
I mentioned earlier that I like to use my tags to organise my connections but this is only relevant when sending direct messages. As I have said my favorite feature is status updating so it would be fantastic if you could link your tags to your updating so for instance I could send an update only to connections who are tagged x,y and z. That would be really useful
Will LinkedIn still be important in business in 2020?
Well that is only 8 years away and I have already been on LinkedIn almost 8 years so why not? I think the quality of your profile will be more important as more people are on LinkedIn it will become (if it isn't already) the place to go to find out about someone professionally. I also think the quality of your connections will become even more important as the network grows and it will be more about quality than quantity.
I first met Sue when we were both speakers at an event on a cruise ship (nothing glamorous, it was anchored off the coast of Jersey!), I was mightily impressed when I saw her speak and found her story about how she became the first British woman to ski to the Magnetic Pole both interesting and highly motivational. You can read more about her here. Sue is clearly an experienced and pretty sophisticated user of LinkedIn, I love the way she sees groups as trusted communities and I know that she contributes to those communities in a big way. I also love her idea about linking tagging to status updates which would be a fantastic feature. A big thank you to Sue for giving up her time and sharing her LinkedIn story with us. If you feel you have an interesting story and fancy doing an interview just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org