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Your approach to using LinkedIn is making me sad

When it comes to using LinkedIn, I find the approach you've adopted for the professional network is, quite frankly, upsetting.
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So, you find yourself often using LinkedIn and you have over 1,000 connections? Aren’t you doing great?

Wait, and you have 500 friends on Facebook? My gosh you must be popular.

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We spend hours on Facebook, yet rarely pick up the phone to ask how someone is doing. We connect with old school pals but don’t talk, we see what our friends and family are doing but rarely engage, we like but never comment.

I am starting to see the same when using LinkedIn and quite frankly, it’s upsetting. People post fantastic stories, share new trends to simply gain a few likes. How do these people feel about what you published, what do they think? When you click LIKE on something, why do you like this, why did you feel the need not to comment?

My personal profile has been raised quite significantly recently, and just last week I got a large number of connection requests when using LinkedIn. Of those, some were blatantly recruitment sales people seeing if I wanted staff, but the others wanted to talk to me about my services, didn’t they?

They are doing it all wrong.

Imagine walking down the street and some random person just stops you: “Hello, my name is John, I’m an accountant, let’s do business.”

For one, this person is a total stranger to me, why would I instantly want to buy from him? What value is he providing me with? Who is this person, who does he work with, why is he so keen to sell to me the first time we meet?

This happens to me week in, week out; mostly recruitment or software companies offering me the next best thing to sliced bread.

Like the person before them, and, most likely the one after them, they have the ultimate digital marketing software that generates the best leads in the world.

And then there’s the person trying to sell me their recruitment services, telling me that no other company knows recruitment how they do. But how well do they know the digital industry and the people that work within it, since that’s more important to me.

One of the requests in particular was from a director of a cleaning company. Maybe he has heard about the great work we do and wants to discuss how we might help him?

No, of course not. I left it a day or so hoping that a total stranger that requested the connection would send me a message or even introduce himself. As expected, nothing came. What did this guy actually add me for?

Being intrigued by most people, I decided to take a look at his website to see how well he was doing digitally-speaking, and his website was quite nice. 

One thing I did notice though was that it had been hacked. I took it upon myself to message the guy, thank him for the connection request and inform him that his site had been hacked. As expected, I did not get a reply, but two days later the hack had been fixed.

Still no reply from my new LinkedIn buddy. It does make me sad. Maybe I will just keep doing my thing, and hope that some of my content talks to him and he realises that I might be able to help him.

My point is, if you are going to be using LinkedIn to connect with people, make an introduction, at least say hello or worse send me a YouTube link to a random cat video – I do love cats you know, doesn’t everybody?

If the guy wanted to keep an eye on my content he could quite easily follow me, but connecting indicates to me that he might want to do business or at least start a discussion. Or, are we just becoming a nosy nation and do what the software tells us?

Maybe also, we need to take responsibility ourselves. Maybe we shouldn’t accept invitations from people we don’t really know. Maybe we should ask about why they want to connect. Maybe we’re all using LinkedIn wrong.

Dave Hartshorne is co-founder of dijitul

Image: Shutterstock

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