Is LinkedIn bugging you?

- February 23, 2015 2 MIN READ

LinkedIn contact requests start harmlessly enough but can escalate into overt promotion, timewasting and distraction. It bugs me. Here’s what I do about it.

LinkedIn seems to be the latest platform of choice for marketers and salespeople who use it to trawl for opportunities and pounce on mugs like me who still think of ‘connection’ as something pleasant and meaningful.

The common approach to using LinkedIn for marketing seems to be to get a connection and then nudge it into a phone or face-to-face meeting.

As I simply don’t have the time or inclination to vet every contact request closely (and often they look harmless enough), I’ve had to create a means of keeping meeting requests at bay, or at least pushing back to find out precisely what the meeting is about.

See what you think and please tell me what works for you.

The first signal that I’m about to be marketed to is the almost instant, snappy little pitch where my new contact suggests a specific day and time as the ideal opportunity to chat further. So already we have some implied excitement and urgency in the mix and my diary is being pressured!

Well, I don’t know about you, but I run my diary and I’m rarely looking for suggestions on how to fill it.

Generally I will respond (probably a mistake?), but will ignore the meeting reference. Instead I’ll ask for more detail regarding precisely what needs discussing and why it’s likely to be of any interest to me.

Pushing back has the effect of either getting more clarity or, more commonly, an immediate cessation of communication.

The following response sends the lazy salespeople straight onto the next ‘prospect’ and helps the more genuine plan a little further: “Thank you for your interest in hooking up, but before we plan anything kindly outline the key points you’d like to discuss.”  Either way, you’ve not offended anyone and your focus has not been interrupted.

For those who respond and can articulate the purpose of a catch up, I have an artillery of processes and procedures at the ready.

Generally people contact me because they know Flying Solo is a large community and exposure to that audience in some shape or form is appealing. For that reason we have developed documented procedures that explain how to advertise your product or service with us, how to raise your personal profile, how to become a contributing writer, and much more.

As soloists, we all need systems and processes … as we regularly write about.

On the assumption that LinkedIn is increasingly used as a sales tool, what strategies can you put in place to ensure you stay focused on what’s important and not spend your life accommodating the urgency of others?

If you’re successfully using LinkedIn for marketing, please share your secrets.