Spotting LinkedIn thieves

13 Oct


LinkedIn is widely seen as the biggest and best connected business network to which to belong - and yet so many people don't take full advantage of it, or worse still, get taken advantage of by other users.

The connectivity of LinkedIn means you can pretty much find anyone you want in terms of expanding your network of potential clients and suppliers. It can dispense with hours of searching for that dream client, provide you with a good idea of the value of a supplier and, if you are lucky, get you past the gate-keepers who turn you away while engaged in cold calling. And yet so many people fail to take full advantage of it as a marketing tool.

I once asked a client who did not see the value of LinkedIn to name his ideal new client company. I then asked him who he would like to speak to at the company about his own services. With the name of the company and the person's title to hand I hit search on LinkedIn and up came the profile of the very man my client wanted to talk to - "Do you mean him?" I asked, "Yes; how great would it be to be able to talk to him and see if he would be interested in buying from us?", You may be able to guess what I suggested next.

So many people know they need a LinkedIn presence but then fail to do anything with it. I recently spent 20 minutes going through contacts who had connected in the last month but had not actually been in touch with me since. I dropped them a line to say hi, to remind them that it had been a while since they connected and if there was anything I could do to help. Only those that replied after a given time are still in my network.

Now you might see that as a little harsh, but the simple fact is, once people connect with you they have access to your network of connections - in other words, they may not interested in you, but in who you know; these people are not connections, they are networking thieves and you are aiding and abetting them in their endeavors to grow their own businesses.

Of course not everyone will be that way, some will simply not be making full use of LinkedIn, they may not have email alerts set up so they don't know if you have sent them a message or they just might not be that active on social media. That's fine, but what value are they adding to your network and what opportunities are they providing for you. In marketing, we should all be focusing on the targets that provide the best returns.

Are all of your connections providing opportunities and are you making the best use of your connections on LinkedIn and can you spot the Networking Thieves in your connections?

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