In the past week I have had two major raised eyebrow moments on LinkedIn. I thought I would share them as examples of how not to use LinkedIn for business. It is advice that applies equally to Oldham Business Network, or any other social media platform where you want to make a positive and professional impression.
Last week I declined the kind offer to connect with someone on LinkedIn whose profile picture was of himself sunbathing, shades on and displaying his chest and football tattoo for all to see. That sort of photograph may be acceptable on your personal Facebook profile, but not where you are trying to connect with other businesses on a professional level. My advice would be to think about what you would wear during the course of your work, or what you would wear to meet clients. Your professional profile picture should reflect that image. Would you go to a business meeting without a shirt on? I would certainly hope not, male or female.
Today I accepted an invitation to connect with someone with a very professional looking profile. I always read through the profile of anyone I consider connecting with. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of my new connection. Within a couple of hours I had a message from him, thanking me for connecting. Very courteous. Except that he then launched in to what is obviously his standard sales pitch, offering to meet me or my technical team to discuss our IT infrastructure.
"In fact we can offer support for a 15 User system with 1 Server from less than £3:00 per hour. Previously, we have helped organisations save over £20,000 per annum on their IT budget by combining our support with an existing in-house IT team," he went on.
It all sounds very impressive, but if he had taken a moment to read through my LinkedIn profile he would have realised immediately that I am one woman with a laptop. The only conclusion I can draw is that this man is not interested in me and my business, I am just another person he can throw his sales pitch at. Let's imagine for a moment that I did fit his dream criteria of "businesses that have between 25 – 150 users that are experiencing technical issues". Would I have been any more likely to take him up on his offer? No. I would still have taken against his standardised, impersonal approach.
So, the moral of this unexpected blog that just begged to be written, is this: If you want someone to buy from you then adopt a professional approach and take the time to get to know your potential client's needs. Offer them what they want, not what you want to sell them. Follow that approach in your OBN journey and you won't go far wrong. That's what is so great about OBN. It works best when relationships are built up and the easiest way to start to do that is by attending a social. If you haven't got your name down for September's yet then what are you waiting for?