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May 3, 2012

Use LinkedIn for engaging, not hard selling…

LinkedIn is a terrific business tool for a lot of reasons…

  • To connect with someone at a specific company
  • To participate in a discussion about an important industry topic
  • To post a job opening at your firm
  • To connect with a group of liked-minded individuals (in the LinkedIn groups)
  • To provide something of value like an eBook or white paper

Want to put on a hard sell?  While LinkedIn (and all social media, for that matter) is not the venue for a sales pitch, far too many people use it for that… each time lessening the overall value of the platform and alienating its members (like me).

Here’s a verbatim quote from a recent post in a LinkedIn group to which I belong: “The staff at [company name] want to earn your business!  It is not about selling someone a Market Research Report but establishing a long-term business relationship.”

Really?  That post is not about selling?  All that post is doing is trying to sell me… but all it’s accomplishing is ticking me off!  It didn’t try to engage me.  It didn’t provide me with anything of value.  It’s from a company that’s too lazy to do a little work… to put in place a social media marketing plan or think through marketing strategies to take advantage of all that social media has to offer.

What they should have done is offer up a free report on a relevant industry topic.  Had I been interested, I would have willingly gone to their website and given them my contact information to download the report.  Now they’ve engaged me.  Now I can see the quality of their work.  Now I can learn a little about what they do and what they stand for.  Now they’re on my radar… and I’m on theirs.

So take the time to do a little planning and then think through the execution of your plan… the improper use of social media can negatively impact your brand, but the proper use of it can be a great competitive advantage.

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