Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR and Enterprise Nation Champion for Nottingham, discusses LinkedIn etiquette.
At the time of writing, my original post over on LinkedIn on this issue has received over 7,000 views and a huge amount of comments so it appears to be resonating with many people.
Fast forward 6 months though and despite my very public rant and standpoint and it is STILL happening, even after people have ‘been exploring your profile etc etc’.
What could possibly have vexed me so much and wound up so many others too?
Well, it was a pitch, over social media. A REALLY bad pitch. TWICE. I’d just had two ‘professional’ marketers ask to connect with me on LinkedIn with standard intros – lazy. Then, IMMEDIATELY after I connected, they pitched me on LinkedIn messenger with a standard copy and paste message.
Someone had clearly been on a training course. A bad one at that. So what went wrong? Firstly, the etiquette is poor. I am not a HOT lead to be jumped on just because I accepted a request to connect. Secondly, if you were that good, you wouldn’t pitch me within seconds with a standard message. Thirdly, I now think less of the businesses these two ‘experts’ represent.
It is so tempting to look at LinkedIn as a source of leads and it can be brilliant but you need to earn the right to pitch your offering before you do. Treat it like you would meeting someone in person. Unless you do it that way too when you network in real life, in which case, good luck.
Imagine a crowded room at a traditional networking event. You spot a group of people chatting away who you believe you might have things in common with or who you could learn from or help. If you were really good at this, you would have done some background research ahead of the event.
Now, you make your way to them, probably balancing a paper plate of dodgy sandwiches in one hand and a cup of coffee with a saucer in the other.
Top tip 1 – don’t bother with the saucer and extra teaspoon.
Top tip 2 – don’t have food in your hand… or worse still, your mouth.
Now, hopefully, you would be LISTENING to the group chat before you barged in, frantically waving your business card and waffling about your Value Proposition. Hopefully. Now you know what the conversation is, you might nod sagely at a few comments and smile at another observation. You will probably have been noticed and eased into the gathering by now. You might be able to add value to the conversation yourself. Go for it. Just don’t pitch.
That is how you should look at social media. Treat it like a real party. Don’t just fling virtual business cards across the room. Join in. PS you can connect with me HERE on LinkedIn, just a tip, don’t pitch me. YET.