I’m about to have a rant so brace yourself. I am a LinkedIn user and more than understand the usefulness of using the website for business networking. It is particularly good for keeping in contact with other business owners who you have met at networking events and reaching out to contacts through contacts you already know. We call this getting an introduction.
So what is the nature of my rant? Why am I getting so peeved at other LinkedIn users’ usage of this popular networking website? Is LinkedIn doing all it can to moderate its users?
My main problem with LinkedIn are some of the users and we’ll call them spammers. They, at least, spam to a certain extent and it is annoying. So if you don’t want to be considered a spammer then I’ve put together five top tips in how NOT to operate on LinkedIn.
Basically how you behave on LinkedIn should mirror how you operate professionally in the real world. For instance, you wouldn’t go up to a complete stranger in the street and say “let’s do business”.
So here’s my guide on how NOT to use LinkedIn.
Don’t be obsessed with the outcome – don’t focus on the sale. Instead think about simply networking with people. Listen to what they have to say. People like to talk about themselves. If you become obsessed with selling people something then you won’t be focusing on their needs.
Don’t ask for referrals from someone you’ve never done work with – this is one of my pet hates. People who ask for recommendations about their work or referrals to business people I know who may need their services when I don’t even know them in the first place. I just find this to be a backward way of thinking and not what I’m about. My business contacts are precious and I wouldn’t jeopardise these valuable relationships, which I’ve built up over time, by recommending they do business with someone I don’t even know or trust. Also, I wouldn’t give a recommendation to someone who I don’t know or haven’t worked with…this would be unethical and isn’t the way to build a personal brand or a good reputation.
Don’t use a “scattergun” approach, target your efforts – our time is limited and we are told to use each minute wisely. Every second counts and the decisions that we make day-to-day do matter. They work either for us or against us. It’s important to realise this. Marketing in general is all about targeting our efforts so don’t just contact everyone on LinkedIn, be selective and profile your target market.
Maximise your profile and don’t forget your profile picture – I see so many LinkedIn profiles without profile pics. If you’re going to do a job then it’s worth doing well. You wouldn’t go out half dressed without our hair done would you? No of course not. Then why would a business person bother to setup a profile on the most popular online business network website without going to the effort of filling in their profile properly. The lack of a profile pic is most obvious. It’s the first thing that we notice when browsing a profile but what about other aspects of the profile that isn’t filled in including previous work history, company name and so on.
Work within the parameters of LinkedIn – use Linkedin wisely and don’t try to break the rules…it will only annoy people. I become a little irritated when LinkedIn users contact me claiming that they know me but don’t. This, again, is unethical as it is basically lying. Don’t do it please.