From a Marketing Consultant’s Perspective…
Yesterday I read possibly the best and worst article about LinkedIn.
Here is the article that made me so happy and then half way through as frustrated as I ever get. So in today’s world where Content Marketing is king, and Inbound Marketing rules, what’s one to do but take to the keyboard and vent one’s disappointment? Well that’s only a part of it, as a marketing consultant and one that also provides LinkedIn training to clients, I know that I have to deliver some solutions to our valued clients, prospects and colleagues.
In summary, the first half of the article promotes all of the amazing benefits that can be gained by correctly using LinkedIn. However the reasons given by the author as to the prospective “decline” of the medium are more of an indication to the author’s own lack of strategy to deal with the so called “information overload”.
On the other hand, assuming that there is a slight possibility that the author’s predictions turn out to be correct and people begin to leave LinkedIn for greener social media pastures, this will actually mean that those that are left and are truly using this social medium correctly to their own advantage, will have an easier time of it!
Here are the 9 problems mentioned in the article and my recommendations on how to best overcome them, after all problems are just challenges that have not been solved satisfactorily!
Problem 1: The dinosaurs have arrived in droves
• Late adopters are joining
• They won’t last as they have no idea of what to do
How exactly does this pose a problem I am not sure!
• There are plenty of users who value LinkedIn and use it correctly
• Dinosaurs who use faxes and rely on their PA’s will as dinosaurs tend to do, die out. They are probably not the type of people YOU should be targeting or networking with anyway.
Problem 2: Information Overload
• Too much going on, profile changes, updates, group notifications, etc
• There are simple technical things you can do to control what you see on your Home page
• There is a way to control how often you get your Group Digest if at all!
• Most importantly you need a strategy as well as discipline that will provide focus of what you should pay attention to and what to ignore. It is no different to managing your email, which by the way most of us could improve tenfold!
Problem 3: Quality of information in many areas is poor and incorrect
• user generated content is LinkedIn’s best friend and enemy
• That can be said about Social Media in general
• Again becoming more astute about what to read and how to do your ‘due diligence’ on the validity of content is something that I have no doubt will be a growing area of education for marketers, journalists, students and consumers in general! Welcome to the new world!
Problem 4: Groups are poor
• Self-promotion, useless posts, and ‘quick hit’ requests are common, ie: “I’m selling this – want one?”
• the author even suggests turning off group notifications
• True, many groups can be poor, some are not with very strict posting guidelines that are policed
• Don’t join 50 groups as the author rightly observes some tend to do
• Take the online etiquette / law into your own hands and “flag” discussions as inappropriate and they will be removed!
• As the author suggested ‘one’ solution himself, I don’t know why this was raised as a problem in the first place. My feeling is that “negative controversial headlines like “LinkedIn is becoming LinkedOut” was an exercise in PR and why not! It was successful!
Problem 5: News Updates
• The news feed is clogged up with 95% of jargon, irrelevant rants, promotional messages, rehashed articles, and recruiters posting the same jobs day in day out!
• There’s a lack of original thought or opinion
• Again I see no problem but a massive opportunity for those that have something to say that is worthwhile and can deliver their opinion in an engaging way! By being original and adding value to your network it will be easier to stand out in the “sea of sameness”!
• Firstly there’s a technical solution to decreasing the type of information you deem to be of no value
• You can also remove the offenders – that is dis-connect from them! and if you want to stay connected but don’t want to see their updates on your home page, you can click Hide when you move your cursor over the update.
Problem 6: User profiles BEWARE!
• “There’s an ex-employee who has a warrant outstanding for his arrest and yet he has a glowing profile”.
• Recommendations are biased.
• Genuine people remain without a competitive advantage. The liars look just as good.
• Actually quiet to the contrary I have read somewhere, I’m sure that someone in the recruitment industry who is a true professional will find this, that people in general tend to NOT “fib” on their LinkedIn profile as they would on their resume! After all the chance of “getting found out is a lot higher on social media”. Just a few weeks ago I met someone who was silly enough to make themselves out to be so much more important than they were! When I examined their LinkedIn profile I realised that they straight out lied about their level of seniority at a major corporate entity!
• Additionally the ability to see who this person in question has a ‘connection in common’ with me, allowed me to get feedback about them that I would have otherwise never received as I wouldn’t have even known who we have in common in the first place!
• LinkedIn RECOMMENDATIONS CAN BE BIASED but you also have to know HOW to read between the lines. It is only human to give a recommendation back when the person asks, and other times you have to do it for political reasons. This is the process I follow:
1) I refuse to give recommendations to people who’s work I have not experienced or am not sure about.
2) If I really have to recommend them I will never recommend their technical skills but talk about attitude and make the recommendation very general – nice guy! Like I said read between the lines! Good recruiters do!
• Finally, “genuine people”, by which I hope the author means people who have the best skills, will always have a competitive advantage if they firstly know themselves well enough to know what makes them unique (Branding 101) and can then eloquently communicate their point of difference! “Genuine people” who are talented, hard working and positive will always have more Recommendations than those trying to cover up with “smoke and mirrors”. An incompetent idiot is unlikely to get 20+ people recommending them! Keep in mind that Recommendations are like Testimonials, no-one ever puts a bad one on their website, however we all know that Testimonials still work and it is better to have more than less, when it comes to building credibility!
Problem 7: People shared in common aren’t so common and I am losing faith
• People don’t help random people just because you’re a LinkedIn connection.
• Yes they do!!! And if you want to know why, please connect to me! I know, blatant self promotion, but as all good content marketers know I needed an “in text call to action”!
• Ok, although I was serious, when I said connect to me, I will give away some more free advice! make sure that when you connect to someone you can actually become memorable by adding value to them right there and then! I have done it 3 times this week. Yes it can be labour intensive, but ask yourself why you are here on LinkedIn – to connect or network and networking is all about building relationships.
• Here’s a major clue about what I mean; make sure you ask for and accept introductions in a way that will add value and leave a positive perception with your new connection!
Problem 8: Diminishing value of connections
• It’s simply too easy to connect and this damages the value for everyone.
• LinkedIn should cap the number of connections and charge to connect. All of a sudden, users would think twice before connecting.
• I just don’t see it…maybe the author can explain to me, I will invite him to comment on this! 🙂
Problem 9: Recruiters will lose their competitive edge as more sign up for LinkedIn Recruiter
• Being on LinkedIn was more of an advantage a few years ago than now!
• We should all know that technology in today’s day and age is unlikely to provide you with a sustainable competitive advantage. Relationships with customers and prospects will!
• Technology will not make you a better listener or problem solver.
• Technology will not assist you in communicating with prospects so as to change what they think and feel about you and your organisation! That’s up to you and your marketing consultant, unfortunately if you can not afford one, one will not be appointed to you, although I am sure that most marketing consultants would love this idea in our common battle to eradicate bad business communication!
• There are so many problems (let’s be positive, I should say opportunities) most recruiters face when it comes to developing their brand and marketing in general, let alone using LinkedIn in a way that is optimal, I don’t even know where to start, but here is a link to a very detailed blog I wrote on the topic.