LinkedIn – A networking tool or a “social” media?
Marketing week recently had a great “marketoonist” piece, poking fun at the different types of people that invite or connect with you on LinkedIn.
The piece highlighted seven types of LinkedIn “request-ers” (as we shall call them), broken down by methods of connection – from the “sneak attack” as they called it (the one who bombards you with a non-stop sales pitch once you have connected), to the “tenuous links” and the “buzzword artist”. If you haven’t yet seen it yet then it is worth a look!
I would imagine that most people on LinkedIn are familiar with a mixture of all seven of those, but what struck me about the article is how frequently I hear people getting frustrated with LinkedIn and how it has changed over the years and become a sales tool. What I hear most is that people are angry at the kinds of people who contact them pushing sales opportunities and wanting to link when they hardly have a relationship with any of these people at all.
When considering their viewpoints, I started wondering if everyone even knew what the purpose of LinkedIn was and is – and what it is there to promote?
According to Wikipedia, Linked in is mainly for professional networking, including for employers to post jobs and job seekers posting their CVs.
LinkedIn allows members (both workers and employers) to create profiles and "connections" to each other, in an online social network, which may represent real-world professional relationships. Members can invite anyone (whether an existing member or not) to become a connection. And in my opinion some confusion lies in this.
If this site is a networking tool, surely you would use it as you would with real life networking events – connecting with people you would not normally meet in everyday life, and finding some common ground whether that be people, or products, or services, or generally an interesting connection.
I too get annoyed with some on linked in – the hard sell – the pushiness. I wouldn’t expect to go to a live networking event and have someone who I had never met simply thrust their literature into my hand and go on a rant about how I should most definitely work with them because they know everything about me before i had spoken a word! But by the same token, I think the platform is there to connect people, not just people you know, but people that you may meet by virtue of the industry you are in and the types of things that interest you. And I think sometimes people forget that fact altogether.
Let us know what you think. And as always, if you are continually struggling to think of engaging, original content to post, let us know if we can help at firstname.lastname@example.org