As a Sales Professional it pains me to hear from clients the way other Sales People leverage and use Social Media connections is becoming obtrusive and overbearing. I take great pride in being very Socially active with a presence in many different avenues and work hard to be quite active on most of those Social Networks. It wasn’t just one client complaining about this it has been 5 or 6 in the past week.
So what is it that has frustrated these otherwise steadfast and laid back IT Professionals? The truth is it is a phenomenon called LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) and while I have a few within my “collection” of contacts I have only on a few occasions added someone to my LinkedIn without having had some form of positive interaction with them before doing so. A LION is all about building a massive Network of connections so that they can see well beyond just their primary connections. Heck even with my hard work I have barely broken through to having access to 1% of the total connections on LinkedIn.
LIONs in principal are not bad things, that is how Social Networks grow, connect and evolve. This is not the issue, it is the shady side of sales that has people either pushed into doing advanced searches and blindly connecting and then once connected think that that is an invitation to start blasting SPAM at those people! There is an old camping saying that I will clean up a little just so that it does not get hit by the Web Content Filters out there but I strongly believe that “Pooping where you Eat” is never a good idea…especially with the heat here in Southern Ontario (a whopping 43C with humidity factored in yesterday – for those still on the Fahrenheit scale that is 109F).
I have been diligently growing all of my networks in the past several months and this “Social Butterfly Status” I still don’t feel the need to blindly reach out and connect and build unknown connections that I will likely never speak to in the future. LinkedIn is a powerful tool and if used correctly can be (and has been) a life saver in reconnecting with former clients at new jobs or being a way to Professionally keep business relationships active after your last interaction (phone or in person).
This is an open message to all Sales People…save your SPAM and your connection requests. Use Social Media Marketing for good. Create a UNIQUE presence and ENGAGE your customers and potential customers. Just because you have a TOOL does not mean you need to USE it for every blind message and garbage marketing trend!
Relationships do matter, but when the actions of a few start to soil the fertile grounds on which we all feed…then this is one guy who will not sit back and idly take it.
Doubling ones Social Connections in a two month period is not an easy feat (unless you only had one or two to begin with) and doing so organically by having meaningful conversations or being honest in why a connection request is made (I am member of Toastmasters so I have started to make connections with other Toastmasters, who happen to be in IT).
It was good to get that off my chest, now for another fun filled day of work!
Chris J Powell