Networking on LinkedIn
Hi. I'm Angela, Director of Stop the Train, and a keen networker. It's rare for me to hop on my soapbox but just this once, for a special 'how not to' on LinkedIn.
I've been on the networking circuit both online and in the real world for just over 11 years. Over that time, I've experienced a wide variety of approaches, styles, comedy moments, and cringeworthy moments. Speaking of networking, that reminds me of a great e-book you must grab a copy of - Working from home by Russ King.
So, back to LinkedIn. I'm not a huge fan but it does have its place in our marketing strategy. Like other networking sites and events, there's an etiquette to consider. Even though most of us network to gain business, and we have an agenda (come on, you know we do!), we should do things in the right way.
How well do you think I'd get on walking into a networking event, (where everyone is there to sell), and thrusting my business cards in people's faces with a 'use Stop the Train for your marketing' pitch? I'm suspecting, and I admit to guessing here as I've NEVER done it, that I wouldn't do very well.
The same rule applies to LinkedIn for me. I don't recall ticking a box inviting people to pitch to me within seconds of connecting, and I really don't appreciate it. (If such a box exists, and I've ticked it, than I'll quietly clamber down from my soapbox and adjust my settings accordingly.)
If you're genuinely interested in pitching for my business through LinkedIn or any other networking, make the effort. Find a common interest. Sound interested in my business rather than telling me all about yours. Take the time to look around our website. Ask me a question. Ask me about BNI for example. Find out what sort of introductions I'd like, or who would be an ideal client. Make me laugh. Send me a Wispa Gold. But, for the love of God, make me feel special and not just a notch on your LinkedIn belt.
If you'd like some pointers, this LinkedIn blog is a good place to start.