I've figured out that I should first concentrate on contacting alumni that are three degrees away in LinkedIn by using introductions (Note: An "Introduction" was formerly known as a "Request to Contact").
Why three degrees away first? Because as the introduction to a third degree connection is being passed from my first to my second degree connections, both are being informed of the site as well. Assuming that my first and second degree connections are often alumni as well, I'm often getting my message out to two or three targets using one introduction.
By focusing on third degree introductions first, I should then be able to minimize the number of introductions to second degree connections and the number of emails to first degree contacts since many will already have seen information about the site while forwarding my introductions to third degree connections.
Minimizing the number of LinkedIn introductions is important for three reasons:
- LinkedIn has a limit on the number of active (in process) introductions, so less active introductions sent means more opportunities to contact people concurrently.
- Creating and processing introductions takes time, so less introductions sent means less time spent by me creating introductions, and less time spent by my first and second degree connections forwarding introductions.
Another wrinkle is that my alumni group is geographically based. That is, it's only for people who worked in the San Jose area. So while I can search for people by zip code in LinkedIn, it is not always clear if former employees worked at another location before moving to the San Jose area to work for another company. And by searching by zip code, I could be missing out on people who have moved out of the area. So then I have to look for keywords related to particular divisions that are most likely related to San Jose.
Once I finish using LinkedIn to reach out to as many alumni as possible to join the Yahoo! Group, the next step will be to set up a LinkedIn Group for the alumni group. There's always something interesting to do with LinkedIn.