BEHAVING LIKE AN AMBULANCE CHASER ON LINKEDIN ISN’T GOING TO GET YOU ANYWHERE

30 SECONDS AFTER ACCEPTING A LINKEDIN CONNECTION I RECEIVE THE EMAIL. WOULD I LIKE TO BUY WEB DEVELOPMENT OR HERE ARE OUR SERVICES, AREN’T WE GREAT? IT HAPPENS A LOT, AND IT’S A REAL TURN OFF.

Why would anyone think the way to my business wallet is to behave like the digital version of an ambulance chaser? Maybe success rates are high – but I doubt it.

Inviting connections on Linkedin isn’t a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with growing a list of business connections. Useful when you want to recruit, or when you need an introduction or to find something with the skills to run a project. But the idea the way to promote and sell products is to first ask politely to connect and within seconds push the Send Button with any sense of expectation you’re going to make progress is plain dumb.

Received wisdom, such that it is, argues Linkedin is a useful method of generating leads for business services and products. But the jury is still out how true that is, or how valuable Linkedin can be in raw business development terms. Unlike advertising, which by definition is in your face (i.e. on the page or the web in front of you uninvited), Linkedin is designed to facilitate personal connections.

The ad is designed to prompt a response, to stir the blood, to generate intrigue – to motivate you to click through to a site or make a purchase. But the transaction is clearly understood, and accepted. Ads pushing products are just fine.

Linkedin is personal and therefore social, and therefore different. You have to be socially aware. “Connect and chase” has all the hallmarks of door stepping, and no one welcomes it because no one likes being door-stepped.

This social dimension is crucial and shouldn’t be ignored. So just like networking in person, it’s crucial you handle your introduction properly – if you want to succeed.

The key word is permission, or rather gaining permission to promote your wares to an accepting potential customer.

It is a process. It starts by identifying the people you want to connect with, and who you think there is a reasonable chance might find you a worthwhile contact. Next it is about tracking, so you see what they communicate on Linkedin or on other social media platforms. Only then, when you have a reasonable understanding, is it the right time to make a connection, because this knowledge gives you a reason to connect or something to talk about. Thereafter, the task is to cultivate a relationship with them as part of your contact and communication strategy, so they can learn more about you and your business. In conclusion, it is a process, not a five-second strategy triggered the moment you accept a connection.

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