LinkedIn Networking Run Amuck!

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I wish I was making this stuff up, unfortunately, the incredibly bad practices of too many on LinkedIn are far more intriguing than anything I could make up.

This morning, I get two LinkedIn messages from the same individual.  The first was a InMail–it had something to do with effective use of LinkedIn InMails, and email marketing, but he wanted to talk to me about a product he is selling to do this stuff.  The second was an invitation to connect — and you guessed it, it was the standard LinkedIn invitation, “I’d like to connect…..”

You can already begin to see where this is going and all the stuff that is just fundamentally flawed and wrong with this guy’s approach.

In fact, I tried to find anything right, failing miserably!

First, an InMail from a stranger, talking about the effective use of InMails and trying to arrange a meeting to pitch his products that enabled us to exploit InMails and LinkedIn information for other email marketing programs.  Hmmm, I suppose this guy and his company think they are something of experts in doing this.  I suppose his approach is representative of what they would call best practice.  Funny, it’s as far from best practice as anything I can imagine.

In his InMail about leveraging the power of InMail and LinkedIn, naturally using his company’s product, he neglected to give one powerful capability in InMail—”Report As Spam.”  I shouldn’t have to know that capability, but it’s one I know very well, and use on at least 90% of my InMails.  Unfortunately, too many use InMail as just another path to spam people about things they have expressed no interest in.  Makes me wonder, perhaps LinkedIn should introduce an “Opt-In” capability/requirement for InMail.

Then, this expert in email marketing and LinkedIn, after first trying to build a relationship by selling me something, invites me to connect with him–again using the standard LinkedIn note.  Well, you can guess what I did, I ignored this request.  He has already started blindly pitching and selling me before we have a “relationship,” imagine what it would be like, once I accepted it.

But the point is less his horrible practice–it’s actually no different from many of the InMails and invitation pitches, I mean requests, I get everyday.

My astonishment is he and his company purport to be experts at List Building, Email Marketing, InMail/LinkedIn Marketing.

I would suppose an expert would demonstrate their expertise by practicing what they are preaching.  So maybe the believe these are acceptable and best practices.  Maybe this is what the promote–providing tools to facilitate others to do the same as they have done in these two communications.

Clearly, this is a sham.  Clearly, this person and his company are to be avoided at all costs–at least if you want to have prospects respect and pay attention to you.

If it was just this one “expert” demonstrating the worst practice in his area of expertise, it’s not terribly noteworthy.  The great sadness, is this has become common place.  My mailboxes get filled with trash–email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, from so called experts in Social Engagement.  Each selling me the latest greatest gimmick to spam total strangers, all in the name of building relationships, building business, and selling.

It’s so sad that we have come so far in the possibilities of engaging customers and prospects in truly impactful ways, only to see these channels clogged with garbage.  I suppose we will never learn.

(By the way, I won’t mention the name of his company here, not because they don’t deserve mentioning, so you can avoid doing business with them–but just to avoid the inevitable harassment that follows and the time it will waste.  But if you want to know a company to avoid doing business with, so you can also share with your friends, email me.  I’m glad to share it with you offline.)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.

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