Wondering Out Loud

Pitch alert: Abusing LinkedIn

Holy cow, but there are a boat load of groups on LinkedIn to choose from. I’ve joined 16 – some related to my industry, others related to my profession – and have, over time, figured out which have value and which have nothing to offer. In some cases the line between treasure and garbage is quite clear and I can sum it up in one word: Pitch.

Have you ever come across a discussion that opens in a fashion similar to this: “Is your business suffering from a lack of qualified leads.” If you can answer yes to this question my advice is to drop it to the bottom of the list and leave it there.

I may be daft, and am willing to admit it in some arenas, but I’m done with people using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool – recall this post from last week – and am making a point of leaving groups that tolerate it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a marketing guy and am measured on, among other things, how many leads I can drive, but there is a time and a place for everything and far too many are abusing my time time and this place.

Last week I was reading a response to a question on LinkedIn. It was well written, well argued and, just when they had me interested out came the pitch for the beta version of their new software. The only thing missing was “operators are standing by” and “order before midnight and receive a free bamboo steamer.”

Sadly, this is not unique. I had a conversation last week with a company wanting advice on how their sales team could use LinkedIn to generate leads and they were going down the bamboo steamer path. Their strategy was to look for discussions to which they could contribute and pitch their particular products as a way to solve problems. 

 I should have invoiced them for a percentage of the sales I saved them.

Here’s the upshot – read last week’s post – then raise your right hand and swear to the following:

  1. I will never pitch my product or service to anyone on LinkedIn unless they ask me to do so
  2. I will raise my hand and be heard when I find someone trying to pitch me without my permission to do so

LinkedIn is second to none in the world of  professional networking sites (Plaxo fans can complain in the comments) and it is up to those of us who use the site to keep it that way.


August 4, 2009 Posted by | Marketing, Social Media | , , , , | 5 Comments

Drive by social media

The good news and the bad news of social media are one and the same: Anyone with a computer and Internet access can do it. Whether from home, office, library or another venue, engaging in social media is as easy as opening your favorite browser and getting to it.

Social Media is of the people, for the people and, most importantly, by the people. As wonderful as that is, the fact that it is open to virtually everyone means we, the people, are responsible for the proper use and consumption of social media is all its forms.

What set me off on this journey of pondering is this article from gogamecocks.com, which is the official website of the athletic department at the University of South Carolina. The story is about the women’s basketball coach, Dawn Staley, and how she used Twitter to complain about how she was treated at a local restaurant. According to the story, she had previously used Twitter to rave about the same place. In this case, however, she told her followers she was treated badly and would never return. What happened inside the restaurant hasn’t been made public, so we don’t have all the facts, but the incident got me thinking about using Twitter and other social networking vehicles to lodge complaints.

Again, I don’t know what happened in this case, but, in my opinion, anyone faced with such a situation owes it to the company to bring the complaint to them, in private. I believe it is an abuse of the power we have as social media practitioners to give into the urge to spread word of a transgression as soon and as widely as possible, before engaging with management in an effort to resolve the problem. Let me say again, I don’t know what happened in this instance.

I’m sure there are exceptions, but most times a comany deserves the opportunity to make things right before being publicly pilloried

As consumers of the same social media we have a responsiblilty to view everything through a skeptics lens. Not that anyone is being dishonest, but a 140 character Twitter message, or a 500 word blog post for that matter, is written with built-in biases. In most cases they are biases we don’t understand and can’t detect because we simply don’t know the author well enough. Also, we are only hearing one side of the story and human nature dictates that, when we tell our side of the story, we do so in a way that paints us and our actions in the best light.

Practicing and consuming social media in a responsible way is good for everyone.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Social Media | , , , , , | 1 Comment


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