LinkedIn is an incredibly valuable business connection and resource site. When used properly, LinkedIn can help you expand your reach, increase your credibility, and grow your business.
But lately, I’ve experienced a lot of people using it incorrectly. Because I do a lot of writing and public speaking, I tend to accept LinkedIn connection requests from many people I don’t know. It’s a decision I made consciously.
In the past, the majority of the people who sent me requests were people who genuinely wanted to connect professionally and build a relationship. Or they wanted to be able to follow what I was writing and find out where I’d be speaking in the future.
Lately however, people have chosen to use LinkedIn to solicit, and even worse, to try to create personal relationships.
In one week, every connection request I accepted was immediately followed by an email telling me about the person’s product or service and why I should want to purchase it from them. Beside the fact that I didn’t even really know them yet, they didn’t know me. They didn’t know my company or my needs. They assumed because of my title and my company, that I must need what they were offering.
This, in my opinion, is one of the worst sales techniques in the world.
The other day I was contacted by someone who I share a connection with. So, you’d assume that 1 degree of separation would be a good thing and there would be a conceivable reason for us to connect. I accepted the request and then received this:
“I want to thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn and I am glad you did because I will like to get to know you more and share lovely ideas with you both business and other things. I must tell you that you are so beautiful and nice and I will love to know you more, so please feel free and tell me more about yourself? Thank you and hoping to hear from you soon.”
Okay, the first thing is – I’m not sure what this person is actually wanting. There could be a language gap. So I asked and then received this response:
“I have gone through your profile and found out that you are dealing with Project, I am contractor engineer in mining and pipelines and I can invest in any good business that can bring good money, I am not giving you a compliment about you being beautiful, think I am telling you the fact about your looks, can I ask you. . .hahaha, are you married? Can we be friends? I know it will sound like a bombshell to you now lol. . .but I am serious about it. Can you share a little about yourself and also give me your private email address for more communication with you?”
Seriously? LinkedIn is not a dating site!
When people use LinkedIn incorrectly it does two things:
- It diminishes the value of the platform. If too much soliciting and inappropriate communication persists, good people will disengage from the site. This will lead to the site becoming less and less valuable for business development – and that would be a shame.
- The people who are behaving badly are really hurting their businesses. When you interact, whether in person or online, you are acting as a representative of your company. Therefore, the decisions you make can result in growth or destruction.
It’s my opinion that you don’t want to become the person others avoid or warn others about. If you want to maximize your LinkedIn experience, consider doing the following:
Reach out to people you know for connections. If you want to connect with someone you don’t know, tell them why – and make sure it’s a business reason:
- Seek to learn about companies: Their goals, needs and challenges (instead of seeking to sell them something).
- Connect people to solutions: Even when it’s not something you sell.
If you approach your LinkedIn experience with these ideas in mind, you’ll find it to be a very valuable resource for your business.