What is LinkedIn for you: a digital business card, just an online resume, a sales tool or even your most consumed daily newspaper? Without doubt, it is one of the best business engagement tools worldwide – if only all participants knew how to engage properly.
Connect with quality towards quantity
The success in using the platform is related to the behaviour how we use social media platforms and how others treat us. Unsolicited connection requests from unknown people – without any hint and often from abroad – offset the prospective business gains for less active professionals. It takes quite a long while before LinkedIn blocks stalkers who send hundreds of connects without a notification – what I call the “deadly sin” of distraction. Handling too many of those requests prevents members to actively use the platform seriously.
More recently, there is a visible trend towards quantity in LinkedIn connections. Rahul Kumar, CEO of Resonate Business Ignition, strives for qualitative engagements and suggests deleting connections if they don’t lead anywhere. He proposed “to develop a network of relevance, with consistency” in his article LinkedIn Network – Quantity or Quality?
Regarding unwanted arrival of connection requests, social selling expert Mark McInnes accepts only two out of five requests confirming: “I’m actually seeing less personalised requests in the last 6 months. I fear most people have gone connection crazy and are just loading up with almost anyone. As if it’s a competition to see who can ‘get’ the most connections.” This will destroy the LinkedIn experience as the conversations won’t be targeted enough for people to take any value from them.
Most users of the native LinkedIn app simply click on the “Connect” button while only the desktop site suggests adding a note. The three little dots (iOS) or the drop-down arrow (Android) at the top of the app were too far out of sight, more recently LinkedIn moved them down next to the “Connect” button. A little hope for a better connection experience?
Engage with others using appropriate behaviour
How to behave properly and use LinkedIn as the best possible engagement tool? Let’s first clarify: LinkedIn is not just a place solely for job seekers with static profiles. It is also not a market place to sell transactional products, rather Facebook likes to play that role. The similar search for new contacts could compare LinkedIn even to a dating site as provocatively mentioned by Tony J. Hughes.
The real benefit from LinkedIn is the possibility to engage with people we don’t know yet, not just to stay in touch with former colleagues. As John Smibert recently pointed out: “Customers will engage with those who they perceive have the intent and expertise to help them achieve their desired outcomes.” According to LinkedIn’s own statistics, sending InMails results in a hit rate up to 25% which is 300% higher than sending emails. But that works only when reaching out wisely.
The full article with infographic can be found here on LinkedIn.
About the author: Gunnar Habitz helps small & mid-sized enterprises protect their data in the cloud as Sales Manager for CloudRecover in Australia and New Zealand. As Chartered Manager at the Institute of Managers and Leaders (IML), he mentors the next generation of leaders.