You log in to your LinkedIn account and you see that you have a few people who want to connect to you. You accept those connections, then as soon as you connect with them you are bombarded with messages.

Then send a few nice messages at first, then it’s like a shark attack! They are trying to either get you to sign up for their service, buy their product, read their blog post, etc.  Unfortunately, these people have forgotten two major rules when it comes to social media and selling.

  1. Always respect the person for whom you are speaking to. So many people do not respect other peoples boundaries so by using LinkedIn as a cold calling platform, they constantly send messages that are unnecessary.
  2. In order to sell a product or service the first thing you should do on social media is build a relationship with your potential client, customer, your target audience. Not everybody is going to be your target audience. People today are more interested in sell, sell, sell, that they forget the most important part of selling on social media is trust. In order to sell something you need to trust who you’re purchasing from. For that to happen you need to build a relationship with that person first. The way it goes on social media is this people will like first, then comment second, then share what you post, then buy. If you’re pressuring someone to buy are they really going to want to tell the world about what you have?

The proper etiquette for LinkedIn is simple: Do not send your connections any unwanted sales communications or irrelevant links. It’s impolite and an abuse of an amazing platform. I don’t understand how people, strangers for that matter, feel like I, and the other 50–100 people they’ve asked that day, are going to agree to take time out of our days to talk about an unidentified topic for an unspecified length of time. Time is valuable, and just asking to meet me or talk to me via message on LinkedIn or by phone, so you can sell me something won’t be placed very high on my priority list.  It’s a COMPLETE turn off.  Now, not only do I NOT want to connect with you, but I don’t ever want to really talk to you again in fear that all you want to do is sell me something! 

When you are contacting someone on LinkedIn, you should look at it like a relationship with a person in real life. For some reason, we seem to forget this and I feel that this disconnection when we communicate online comes from not being able to see each other.  If you met somebody at a networking event, would you immediately ask them to book a meeting with you? Or would you instead strike up a conversation and get to know them a bit better first?

LinkedIn can be a GREAT platform if it is used properly.

I think we can all agree to be better at using it and stop using it as a cold calling app, which it is certainly not.