By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)
This post is long overdue. It is 2017, and yet, on a daily basis, I get tens of irritating and ineffective messages on LinkedIn. But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
Let’s discuss how LinkedIn, as the leading professional social network, should be used. Let’s just get one thing out-of-the-way…
Using a social network, any social network, to connect only with people you already know offline is ludicrous. The same is true for LinkedIn! Connect with people you **don’t** know and wish to work with, not only people who are your next-door neighbors.
Personally, if someone sends me a LinkedIn request and we work in the same industry, and the person seems legit, I accept that request. But that’s just me…
Having said that, accepting someone’s LinkedIn request and getting an immediate sales message is one of the most irritating things on the social web.
No different from any other social network or just generally how marketing should be done, perhaps it’s worth establishing some sort of trust and relationship before selling to that person? But no, hundreds of people think it’s a good idea to send someone a LinkedIn request and as soon as they accept, to spam them and sell their product to them.
I have recently adopted a very simple policy. Someone sends me a spammy Linkedin message with no prior relationship? Automatic removal.
By the way, the same applies to headhunters or anyone else trying to do business on LinkedIn, or anywhere else on the social web. Stop selling, start listening, build trust, and then, when appropriate, perhaps go in for the sale in a subtle manner.
What amazes me most, is that this even needs to be said, but unfortunately it does. These messages seem to be multiplying and I’m personally getting them tens, sometimes hundreds of times a week.
While we’re on the topic of LinkedIn, can we perhaps stop with the ridiculous automatic congratulatory messages? In fact, LinkedIn, as a product, should not encourage this behavior, but if they’re going to, maybe do it in a more pleasant manner? I get these congratulatory messages every time I have a work anniversary and they all read the same.
“Congrats on your work anniversary. Hope all is well…” What work anniversary? At this point, I go to my profile and find the auto post that Linkedin generates letting my network know that I have some work anniversary.
“What do you mean? You don’t know where you work?” Not sure if you noticed but in today’s market, many people do more than one thing. I know I personally have many “gigs” on my Linkedin between my full time, my contributions to tech publications, and the startups I work with in an advisory capacity. So when the flood of incoming congratulatory messages begins, I have literally no idea what they are referring to.
Um, LinkedIn, stop it! People, just because you can, does not mean you should.
It is true that LinkedIn is a professional social network, different than Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, but it’s still a social network, emphasis on the word ‘social’. Be social, be human, and stop acting like a robot always trying to sell something…
Have we discussed LinkedIn endorsements yet? Oh, we haven’t? OK. Well, if we have not worked together, and you were trying to get my attention (write me a normal message and I will respond. Done.), endorsing me for interior design? Perhaps not the best strategy.
Oh, and one more thing. Your one liner on LinkedIn? Writing “Looking for my next opportunity” is probably not the best first impression you can make if getting new connections is your main objective. Nothing says ‘Come add me on LinkedIn so we can collaborate” better than I am out of a job. Same goes for calling yourself an expert, guru, ninja, and on and on. What is wrong with people?
Listen, before you cut my head off, which is generally the reaction to these “This is how you should use social media” posts, let me just clarify. I am not telling you how to use Linkedin. I am telling you how I use Linkedin and how I think you should too, from a purely professional perspective.
Feel free to ignore this post, continue spamming, endorsing, and selling, but then don’t be surprised when your one liner remains “Looking for my next opportunity” for the foreseeable future.
I shared some more thoughts on Linkedin around a year ago in a Meerkat stream (remember Meerkat?), which you can, and should watch below.