I have 3 active groups on LinkedIn. Two require me to approve members and the third automatically accepts members…that is until today.
I received a request from a person, B2B Discounts and Networking, to join my North Fulton Business Group. This is something that I’m starting to see more and more of on LinkedIn. Most of these have 0 connections.
On many social applications you can choose to have your presence based on your company name or your real name. LinkedIn is different. LinkedIn is about business professionals connecting to other business professionals. You’re interacting with people, not brands or companies.
Whoever is behind this profile just doesn’t get it. There is an unwritten rule on LinkedIn that you are up front in how you present your self and that you don’t conduct direct marketing to fellow connections or group members.
That doesn’t mean you can’t market your self, your business, or your products. It just means that in most cases you need to do it indirectly.
The number one way to market yourself on LinkedIn is by providing value. Value might be a presentation or white paper, it might be a great answer to someone else’s question, it might be introducing two connections, or it might be sharing an interesting news article.
One place you can be a little more direct is with your status update. I like to post mini success stories …”Sean just saved a client $xxx.xx on their health insurance”. Or maybe “Sean is working on quotes for people that got a Health Insurance rate increase in May”.
The one thing you have an opportunity to do on LinkedIn is to communicate. You may prefer to be more direct but you have to play by the house rules.
B2B doesn’t get it. LinkedIn is about people not companies. Sure you can look up a company but the most important piece on the company page is the people listed, and how you are connected to them. If this person wants my business they are going to have to connect to me on a personal level.
Before someone will choose to work with you or buy your product there is a hierarchy of familiarity that must be satisfied:
1. They have to know you – I know nothing about who B2B is
2. They have to Like You – My current perception isn’t positive
3. They have to Trust You – There’s not a person here to trust
This is about marketing plain and simple and that’s not what LinkedIn or social media is about. It’s about giving to others and hopefully down the road you’ll gain. If everyone is focusing on giving eventually you can’t help but to be on the receiving end.
I like that when I connect with someone I can see who they are and then choose whether or not I want to learn more by visiting their website or reviewing information they share through applications. I would hate to see LinkedIn become more about companies than people.
What do you think?