If you follow me on Twitter, you know that when something annoys me, I share it. I don’t want to call myself a ‘guru’ since I’m not very fond of the word, but I have spent a lot of time participating in LinkedIn over the last 5 years. At my last company, I was able to turn the network into our second highest source of converting leads and even landed my last job as a result of my participation.
So how are you using this professional social network to share and promote your content and, more important, yourself as a professional? And are you ‘doing it’ right?
I am going to assume that many of you are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others site but I feel there is still some misconception about what to do on each. Whether you are participating for lead generation, thought leadership or personal banding and development, the rules are a bit different.
Here are 5 of my biggest LinkedIn pet peeves based on actual events witnessed by myself and a myriad of unfortunate others that I sincerely hope will cease and desist.
1. Do not start a discussion with just a link to something
LinkedIn is a great place to share your content in order to extend your reach, get more exposure and hopefully increase your subscriber base. I know I will get a lot of ‘uh –huh’s’ for this one because anytime I mention it, I get a lot of people agreeing with me shaking their heads ‘yes’ ferociously. Nothing irritates me more than a great discussion title that leads me off LinkedIn to another site to read something. It’s not that the content isn’t great – it usually is – it’s that this is NOT a discussion. Please add some context. What’s your point of view on the article? Did you even have one or are you just starting discussions to get your name on the ‘Top Influencers of the Week’ list?
If its your own content that you are sharing, state why you wrote it and why you are sharing it with that particular group. Ask a question and facilitate a discussion around your article. Think about how you structure content like blogs, there is usually a call to action at the end so start the discussion with this.
*I know part of the reason we are seeing this more and more is because LinkedIn removed the ability to add content or news. Perhaps their reasoning behind this decision was to facilitate discussion which is what the social network is all about anyways.
2. Do not talk about an awesome whitepaper and give me a link to a form
I know that LinkedIn is a lead generation tool and I know that B2B companies see the best conversion rates from this social network more than any other (in some cases but not all) but you cannot generate leads the same way as you do via other methods like email marketing and PPC. The best way to leverage LinkedIn for lead gen is to help. You are not helping me or anyone else by promoting a whitepaper and then forcing me to complete your form to read it. Why not just give us the direct link to it? Show some thought leadership by providing some great content and then because we liked it so much, we will remember you and ask for more.
3. Do not try and connect with me saying we worked together at xyz company when you and I both know we did not
I know I am not the only one with connection request pet peeves but this one drives me a little bonkers. I receive a request to connect from an individual indicating they have worked with me at a previous company. Nothing wrong there until I realize I have never heard of this company or this person before. I have a pretty tight network on LinkedIn and that’s because I know everyone in it. It’s not common for me to connect with someone new everyday or every time someone says something I like or adds something interesting in a discussion thread. This is not how you build a community or respected network. Customize your approach. Worse case, say you are a friend or we share a group and then customize the message to tell me why we should be connected.
4. Do not send me a message that is comprised of a copy of your elevator pitch
I received this message with subject line ‘LinkedIn Group Introduction’:
I’m XXX, I’ve just recently joined the B2B Lead Roundtableand it’s interesting to see similar-minded individuals. I’m looking forward to share thoughts and ideas with you.
My company, XXX, provides lead generation and appointment setting for various accounts in the US, UK, Australia and other parts of the Asia Pacific. Should you or anyone you know might be interested with our services or would you like to discuss our services further, feel free to contact me.
Looking forward to hear from you!
Business Development Executive
A genuine start to the message and I have reached out to people within my groups as well, but I was sincerely disappointed to see a message about this individual’s company and the services they offer. Does anyone else get these? I probably receive about 2-3 per week and I delete them all. Why? Because I don’t know this person and the best way to introduce yourself and your products is to talk about something relevant (at least that’s how I see it) then see if your solution matches my problem. If you truly believe that my profile is an ideal match to your target customer, send me a note with a link back to some great content.
5. Do not start a discussion that entails ‘let’s follow each other on Twitter, subscribe to each other’s blogs and become fans on Facebook’
Even I have posted my Twitter handle, shared my Facebook address and of course the link to subscribe to my blog when someone starts a discussion like this, but I only did it once. Why? Because nobody really followed me back, or subscribed to my blog or ‘liked’ me. Is it my content, what I tweet about or the pic of me drinking from a coconut on Facebook that dissuaded them? Doubt it.
So why do people still start these discussions and why is this topic the trending ‘manager’s choice’ in one of my groups with over 1,500 comments for almost 2 months now? It sure looks popular but is it effective? Are we sincerely helping each other? How about telling me why you won’t subscribe or follow? That would be more helpful than us each taking the time to share our credentials just to ignore them and not take an action.
LinkedIn has made a lot of changes and modifications to its site that have forced people into these kiddy-corners and the results have been actions like these. The site’s primary purpose is to connect professionals and provide an online network of organic discussions.
How do you use LinkedIn to share and promote your content? Are you guilty of any of these?