Recently I found that there has been a change in the way many are approaching ‘LinkedIn’. Have you noticed it? It’s like a disease. Mindless, endless connection requests of no value.
A swarm of people, all seemingly trying to RUSH to increase the size of their network in order to reach eye-popping levels, with what appears to be no real regard for quality, reaching out for a mindless connection.
My guess is they might be thinking that having 10,000 connections is important, or more likely, will make them seem important to others. They might believe that at that level of connections, business will be pouring in through their Inbox. (It won’t) I believe they are gathering connections in the same way my teenage niece has thousands of ‘friends’ on facebook but yet she couldn’t tell you if she was standing next to 20 of them at the bus stop. Friends who are not really friends. Connections who are not really connected, or even interested. Think, how much are those connections really worth to you? Zero.
So with all those ‘useless’ connections are you truly ‘well connected’ or are you just overloaded & crowded?
If the quality of your connections are JUNK, what’s the QUALITY of your network? – JUNK.
Your network is your Net Worth. What’s your NET WORTH?
Rubbish in – Rubbish out.
A FOOL with a TOOL is still a TOOL.
Interesting how I can use an old CRM saying and it seems relevant talking about LinkedIn, don’t you think? (LinkedIn has certainly changed a lot in the last year).
Let’s say you do get to 50,000 connections. How would you credibly engage with them all? You can’t. NEWS FLASH. It’s not the shares, likes or views that matter in this game, it’s the quality of the engagement.
Social is social, that means interactions, it’s not a database, it’s not a calling list, it’s not a ‘number’ of connections, it’s not a CRM. If you can’t provide some insights or some value to those who want to connect with you or that they provide to you, then why are you connecting?
Having lots & lots of connections will not automatically make you a LinkedIn superstar. I would argue that having the wrong connections will actively ruin your LinkedIn experience and at the same time make it significantly harder for you to use LinkedIn for what it is designed – a networking tool which should be helping you to drive great conversations and then, eventually opportunities.
Of course, there are exceptions, enter, people like Tony J Hughes. He uses LinkedIn very well to publish, he wants as many people as possible reading his material, which I personally love BTW, He has a strategy which works for him. But it’s not a strategy which will work for most of you, it will work for 5% of people, maybe. (Have you seen how well he writes)?
I’d suggest, don’t connect with everyone you see and don’t connect with everyone just because they send you a connection request, that’s dumb.
Currently, I’m only accepting around 40% of the connection requests I get. The other 60% are simply not a good fit for my network and (here’s the rub) they are actually much better off without me in their network. I will drive them, their network and their feed crazy with my sales orientated conversations and posts. (just like this one).
I’ve spent a significant amount of time DELIBERATELY crafting and designing a network which is high value to me, high value to my network as well as my business strategy. So if you’re not going to add value to the network, to me or I to you. I’m probably not going to accept.
The average person who needs to use or ‘leverage’ their LinkedIn account to help them to grow their business or perhaps find more business opportunities is using the platform incorrectly if they are connecting without thought and without a clear, defined strategy.
I’ve written about this previously and I’m sure I’ll need to repeat myself again. You need to deliberately design your professional network in the same way as you deliberately look for a workplace who has a culture you think will help you to be successful. Your social feed has its own culture.
Why? If you fill your network with ‘randoms’ it will be INCREDIBLY harder to shape your online conversations in order to be of any benefit to that broader audience. There are plenty of subject matter experts out there, so how can you ‘talk’ (post, share and comment) to a broad audience about everything? You can’t. In fact, you might find you’re not getting any traction at all with a broad, large, but weak network. Posting articles, posts, blogs, pictures etc are all designed to drive engagement if you’re connected to 10,000 people and only 500 people are interested in your business proposition, or what you’re posting about. I’d argue you really only have 500 connections and 9,500 people who’s feed you are destroying with ‘rubbish’ which is not relevant to them. Do you want to be that person who is posting crap which nobody wants to read?
Believe me, I’ve been there and done it. I’ve made the mistakes. I’ve been at parties on the weekend where people I know from a more traditional social context have connected with me on LinkedIn, prior to me figuring all this out, and they typically say something like – “Man, you’re all over LinkedIn with your sales stuff. Every time I go there my feed is smashed with all your activity and sales talk”. This is not a good conversation to be having in a truly social context. In this instance I am not building a future customer, I’m just annoying someone who happens to work with my wife. I’m wasting both of our times.
So have a think about you connection strategy (Do you have one)? and make the necessary changes to make sure your LinkedIn network has the best chance to give you what you need from a truly business networking sense.
Failing to do so up front, will potentially mean trying to ‘undo’ 10,000 poorly crafted connections, that’s not going to happen easily. You will need to either
A: Abandon the platform altogether,
B: Forget about using LinkedIn as a BDM tool.
C: Delete your account and start again from the beginning.
That’s why I’m selecting ‘IGNORE’ – it’s the polite thing to do.
TO BE CLEAR: – If you’re in any aspect of sales from within APAC send me a PERSONALISED connection request and I’ll connect. If you’re in IT from Canada, I’m probably not interested – sorry.
A personalised connection request trumps all. Tell me why you’d like to connect and chance are I will. As will your perfect future customer. You might even start a conversation.
It’s all about the engagement.
If you found this to be useful please share amongst your connections, like or comment. It’s how the social media thingy works. If we are all only passive viewers, eventually the content will stop. I know I’d hate that.
As well as being a sales execution coach and trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Mark is the #1 ranked Linkedin Social Seller in Australia. Contact Mark via Inmail message or firstname.lastname@example.org for a discussion around sales growth, coaching, social media, golf, cycling, AFL and sales effectiveness.
Twitter: Mark McInnes @mamcinnes