A little over a year ago I wrote a post entitled ‘Who are you? And no I’m not going to accept your LinkedIn invitation‘. The general idea being that random people ask to ‘join my network’ without my knowing anything about them aside from their own LinkedIn profile. My network is precious to me as is my reputation. The last thing I wanted was a bunch of people I don’t know contacting people in my network suggesting that since they knew me they should be trusted. Ugh!
I received some blowback from the post that I was being ‘too negative’. That kind of stung a bit because in general I am a very open and engaging person who loves meeting and talking with new people. Yet it seemed to me that the people that were (and still are) contacting me are reaching for low-hanging fruit – people who just want to build their networks and scour your contacts for possible business opportunities.
Then like now, I almost never receive a LinkedIn invitation that notes that in addition to looking at my profile, the inviter looked at our company’s website and has some basic understanding of what we do and how we like to represent ourselves. More recently I have received 10-20 invitations per WEEK from LinkedIn members that are offering me lots and lots of business leads. Which strikes me oddly since there’s no way they can identify the kinds of companies that our agency is best suited to work with. Again, low hanging fruit, fruit in my case that shall go unpicked.
Some of the inquirers are quite persistent – three emails in a week asking if I read their earlier emails and whom they might talk to if I am not the right person in my firm. Often they will ask if I can let them know if I am not interested so that they can take me off their list. I’ve not fallen for that one. LinkedIn is becoming like my 1995 postal mailbox with many ‘opportunities’ (i.e. junk mail) for me to review. In fact if I were to answer all of them I’d be spending time I’d rather not spend each week replying – no thank you I’m not interested. And while that will stop most of the inquiries it won’t stop them all from trying me again in the future to see if anything has changed.
I spent a good part of my earlier career ‘cold-calling’ but haven’t done that in years. It’s very difficult and almost entirely not fun at all. The only time it is fun is when you get a live one. I wrote about stockbroker cold calls as well not long ago.
You might think I don’t like LinkedIn much but you’d be wrong. I really like it and am a Premium member (this means I pay for it) and I use it all the time. LinkedIn in many ways has turned into an online job market. However, since I am not in the job market I am of no use to LinkedIn’s revenue stream there. What I am is a target for others to try to engage. I am ok with a well-conceived pitch and approach and absolutely will respond to good and appropriate pitches. But the flood of irrelevant pitches is increasing at an alarming rate and LinkedIn had better think about doing something about this before others become as aggravated with these unsolicited sales pitches as have I.
I think LinkedIn can do better. So can the LinkedIn member pitches. Don’t you?