More Social Conversations, Not Social Broadcasts

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Of all the social networking tools out there, LinkedIn appears to be the one most favoured in the world of business. And I can see why—the stated purpose of LinkedIn is to “exchange information, ideas and opportunities“. I think that’s a very solid reason for business professionals to use it. The problem is many users stray very far from this purpose to use LinkedIn as a social broadcast medium rather than to engage in meaningful conversations and nurture relationships.

I am careful about inviting or accepting an invitation on LinkedIn; much the same way as I would do in the offline world. If someone were to ask me how many connections I have on LinkedIn, I really don’t know and it does not matter. The numbers are irrelevant; the quality of my connections is important. People in my LinkedIn network are the ones I would gladly meet and network with face-to-face because we share some common interests, can add value to each other’s professional lives and would be happy to have useful idea exchanges with. A member that doesn’t fit this bill doesn’t need to become a connection.

Recently I accepted a LinkedIn invitation from an individual who was (a) a common connection between a few other people in my LinkedIn network and (b) I did see some commonality of interests between us. I would be okay with receiving a message on LinkedIn or even an email from this connection. However, the individual really jumped the gun and crossed what I truly believe should be a line of “netiquette” by contacting me the very next day on the phone! The reason for his call was to meet with me in person to present some sort of business solution. I declined politely because I truly did not have any need or interest in what he had to offer. Plus, I was definitely put off by this blatant, in-my-face selling as opposed to what could have been an attempt to gauge my interest level and willingness via a social conversation on LinkedIn.

If the sales cycle was that short, quick and easy, we would all be very happy and stress-free in our lead generation. The reality is there are no shortcuts, whether you use online methods or offline or both.

If I were to author the “Emily Post” of LinkedIn Etiquette, there is a good post on the LinkedIn blog that offers some clear and easy to follow guidelines. It’s not merely about “being nice” and following good etiquette; it is about having a smart, clear lead generation strategy. The smart strategist would buy into this quote from The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk: “When given the choice, people will always spend their time around people they like. When it’s expedient and practical, they’d also rather do business with and buy stuff from people they like. And now, they can.”

The tactician would be sending out numerous messages to people on LinkedIn and calling X number of people a day with a similar message I described above. So I’d like to remind you of a post I wrote some time ago on a “Do Not Bug Registry“. We have to remember to apply common sense and follow good etiquette to engage prospects in meaningful relationships. Take a professional, measured approach to engagement rather than a mass mailing or broadcast approach…please! Make no mistake; strategy wins, every time.

Perhaps in a future post I will write something about LinkedIn Do’s and Don’ts. Would you like to suggest any from your own experience? Leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to include them.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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