LinkedIn or Linked Out?

LinkedInWhat a great innovation. LinkedIn gave us a true social media-connecting place. A home where we can share profiles, experience and get in touch with past, present and future peers. LinkedIn was an open place to learn from others and share our knowledge, but something went terribly wrong. This group of networking individuals became a fertile hunting ground for Gypsies Tramps and Thieves.

Profiles are now being read, not to build personal relationships, but to collect marketing contacts to pitch unwanted products and services. Is there any doubt that many C level executives, decision makers and busy professionals have linked out of LinkedIn? No one wants to put a “Kick me” sign on their own back. As the number of LinkedIn departures grow so does the entrance of more and more marketers. LinkedIn Trainers have now broadened their scope from how to set up a profile and use LinkedIn to how to increase your revenue by harvesting this social media crop of networkers.

Introducing Patty Profiler. Patty spends her days, using LinkedIn search tools, to find people who are targets for her products. Once located you are asked to connect for the purpose of her gaining more contact info to be put into a database to be texted and emailed the benefits of her products and services. Should you somehow make the mistake of revealing your phone number in your profile, you will then enjoy and endless stream of phone calls from offshore solicitors.

Introducing Dan Discussion. Dan spends his day joining and participating in discussion groups and is eager to respond when innocents, seeking guidance or information, ask questions. Dan is quick to respond and skillfully turns the question or problem into an opportunity to provide a raving review of how this similar problem was solved by using XYZ product. Dan of course sells the XYZ product. Dan has also been known to start a discussion by dangling a question, as bait in front of his discussion group members who think they are participating in an information exchange but in reality will wind up with an unsolicted sales pitch.

Introducing Terry and Tom Tag Team. Like Dan, Terry and Tom are self-promoters but have figured out that once they enter a discussion group, members can view their profile and see their profession. They realize that the value of their sales messages would be diminished if they pitched their own wares so Terry and Tommy, who are from different industries, take turns creating responses to discussions that praise how they have benefited from each other’s products or solutions. The innocent discussion group member once again believes they are getting generous unbiased direction but in reality have just been Tagged Teamed.

Introducing Carl the Collector. We all know Carl; his profile shows up as having over 500 connections and is proud to brag he has several thousand. Carl couldn’t possibly connect with all these people with the intention of which Linked was built. Mathematically, if he made contact with two each day, it would take him over three years to get around to all of them. So why is Carl such a collector? What does he do with all those connections? Carl’s wife is Lisa the list seller. Connecting with Carl and giving him access to you and your network is a free ticket to automated phones calls at dinnertime pitching you a free summer vacation.

And finally, I present to you, Competitive Connie. Connie is in the same business as you are. She is your competitor. Under the guise of, “ I think we should talk and help each other”, asks to join your network. Once in, Connie scans your connections and guess what? She just got access to your customers for future prospecting for her services. The fox is now in your hen house, the very hen house you built on LinkedIn.

Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves have driven out many a sincere LinkedIn user. More and more people grow weary of spending time on a social media site that now puts them at the bull’s eye of solicitation. As these people leave and more marketers join, the future LinkedIn might just be a place where no one is sincerely connecting, everyone is pitching and no one is catching.

Author: Rich Lucia

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