Thursday, 16 June 2011

LinkedIn Etiquette: Is there such a thing?


 Miss Manners would be rolling in her grave…or, is she still alive?

I have been enjoying the power of LinkedIn and recognize the value of being able to pre-qualify leads and target exactly the right company and person to pitch to.  It’s also a gold mine of great advice and opportunities to brainstorm with other experts in your field.  I belong to a few groups that are stellar (like Freelance Web Writers run by Paul Lalley).  Bottom line…I use LinkedIn, I enjoy it and it’s been a real incredible marketing and professional development tool for me.

Developing Contacts
But, it has its irritants.  For me, it’s people who don’t seem to know how to use it properly or at least don’t use common sense and good manners.  Maybe I approach it too old school and need to get with the program but I still feel that there should be some commonly accepted ground rules. 

What do you think is the best way to develop new connections on LinkedIn?  Some people troll the 2nd, 3rd and 4th contacts of their contacts and blindly send requests to connect to people they want to do business with using false claims of being “a friend” or that they’ve done business with them in the past (I get this constantly).  In my opinion, the better approach is to ask the common contact to make an introduction.  Wouldn’t that be more productive…and professional?  At least include a note as to why you’re contacting the person.  However, there are those who bi-pass this extra step (that takes just a little extra time, and time is money, right?).  They’re counting on the fact that since there are millions of users and a good portion that are doing the very same thing (playing the numbers game) there’s a good chance that a high percentage are going to accept the invite (whether the connection is of any value or not).  Then what do you do with it?
 
Rules of Engagement
Wait, there are no rules.  Where one invitee is clicking his tongue and shaking his head over what you’ve just done another will welcome you with open arms.  Some groups will police behavior in discussions but in others it’s a free for all.  LinkedIn does have some rules that you must follow but, for the most part, they don’t seem to be applied consistently or very stringently.  We’re to police ourselves (which isn’t a bad thing but some people have no self-discipline).  It really is the Wild West out there.  What do you think?


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